1. You have more control over your own life.
Now that you’re financially independent, you can move out of your parents’ home, take that job offer in Singapore, and basically be your own woman, everyone else be damned! (JK, you should still visit your folks every once in a while.)
2. You can afford to treat yourself to the good stuff.
With more disposable moolah, you take more vacays abroad, eat at swankier restaurants, and—OMG—you’re a wine drinker now. How’s that for living the life?
3. You become more assertive.
You speak up for yourself, whether you’re negotiating for a pay raise at work or butting heads with a cabbie who’s trying to squeeze out way more cash from you than the meter reads. (Not today, manong.)
4. You command more respect.
At work, people actually listen to you now, not view you as just a cute fresh grad to be humored. You’ve worked your way up, paid your dues, and you are the KWEEN of your office. (Or okay, your department.)
5. You can say no without feeling bad about it.
You decline invites or leave parties early without worrying that you’re hurting other people’s feelings. You’re just being real; you really would rather sleep. Sleep is good.
6. You make more responsible choices.
Years ago, you wouldn’t have thought twice about chugging drinks on a Wednesday even though you had a ton of work to deliver the next day. Now, you firmly pass on a night out, because heaven forbid you should try to meet those deadlines while suffering under the dark spell of a rum hangover.
7. You try less to please others, and more to please yourself.
You know yourself well enough to know that you won’t enjoy that mountain-climbing trip, so you beg off even if your entire barkada is going. You’re comfortable with the things you do enjoy—baking cupcakes, knitting, and basically being a grandma—and you’d rather spend your time doing those than hauling ass to Mt. Apo out of peer pressure, FOMO be damned.
8. You only hang out with people you really like.
You accumulated an army of peripheral friends when you were younger, but now that you’re older, you just want to spend time with people whose company you actually enjoy. You’ll take a few good friends over a hundred casual acquaintances you’ve never even seen sober any day.
9. You’re less self-conscious.
You’ve realized that what other people think of you is none of your business, so you no longer give a f*ck what some boy you went to kindergarten with is saying about your Facebook profile picture. To each his own and all that.
10. You know what looks good on you, and you stick to it.
You don’t experiment with trends as much anymore because you’d rather invest in pieces that fit you well and flatter your features. Those young'uns can have their pekpek shorts; you’re happy with your no-fail LBD.
11. You’re more sexually confident.
The days of fumbling around in the sack without ever coming are long gone. You know—and love—your body well enough to take the reins and tell him to keep doing that right there.
12. You’ve wised up, love-wise.
After having gone through your fair share of relationship drama, you’ve learned that love won’t solve everything; there has to be respect, trust, loyalty, and commitment thrown in the mix, too. That D-bag who claims he loves you but can’t seem to stop flirting with his big-chested co-worker? Screw all that; you’d rather be alone.
13. You get along with your parents better.
You can imagine what your mom must’ve gone through already raising two kids at the age you are now, and appreciate her struggle. Now, you can actually have *real* conversations with her without recoiling like an angsty teen about to be grounded for missing her curfew.
14. You gain more perspective.
You’ve lived long enough to know that not all failures and humiliations really matter when you look at the bigger picture. Tripped in front of the guy you like? If that had happened to you at 16, you would’ve pleaded for the earth to swallow you whole. Now, you just laugh it off, and maybe use the misfortune as an opportunity to cling to his arm. You know, for safety reasons.
15. You’ve accumulated wisdom.
Relationship issues? Career problems? Quarter-life crises? Been there, survived that—and you have the advice to prove it. To your Gen Z cousins, you’re practically a shining beacon of hope that everything will turn out all right.
16. You realize that you'll be fine on your own.
Sure, you worry if you’ll ever have that happily ever after, but at the same time, you’ve spent enough time with yourself to discover that, hey, you actually like your own company. So if you never find a guy you adore enough to build a life with, you know that the alternative—being in a loving relationship with yourself—is still pretty awesome.