Golden lessons | Inquirer Entertainment

Golden lessons

By: - Columnist
/ 12:30 AM February 26, 2021

As I write this article, I’m sitting at my dining table wearing pajamas on a somewhat dreary evening listening to Epik High on headphones draining a glass of home-brewed iced coffee, on my 50th birthday. A very happy birthday to me, indeed!

In an alternate universe where this novel coronavirus doesn’t exist, I’d be celebrating with a concert alongside members of my family singing my favorite tunes in front of a live audience. Mom will be sitting proudly in one of the first few rows, and Gerard will be conducting at my back. Each song will probably be connected to going golden, and what that means.


Since I don’t have a concert with which to express my gratitude and joy, I’ll use this space to share a few of the lessons that I’ve learned over the 50 years I’ve been alive, if only to express my unending joy that I get to do what I love for a living, travel and see the world, and meet some pretty interesting people. I have nothing but unending thanks for all of it.

Lea Salonga

For fun, these will all be out of context and without explanation. Let’s get it!


1. If it’s not fun, stop. This should be enjoyable, not a chore.

2. Yes, it’s hard, and you’re pulling your hair out now, but once you get it, it’ll never leave you.

3. Laugh out loud, whenever appropriate.

4. Be around people who make you laugh.

5. Sometimes, the universe will force you to stop, by whatever means possible, because you need to.

6. There’s nothing more thrilling than an orchestra at your back.

7. Don’t look at the audience … unless specifically instructed. This one’s for theater.


8. In concert, do engage the audience! The fourth wall doesn’t exist.

9. Professionalism is important, but kindness and respect are even more so.

10. Be good to yourself; you’re a human being, not a cyborg. Even if the rest of the world forgets it sometimes, you shouldn’t.

11. Always pack your suitcases at least one night before you travel. The first thing you should put in your purse: your passport.

12. Sleep is sometimes more important than food.

13. Say no to that cocktail during the workweek. You’ll regret it in the morning.

14. Make time for your loved ones, even when you travel. This is one lesson COVID taught many of us only too well.

15. The rehearsal room is a safe space. Go ahead and cry your head off, you won’t be judged.

16. Less is more, a lot of the time.

17. So you’ve packed on a few pounds. No big deal. That’s what stylists are for.

18. Surround yourself with real people. The sycophants will only serve your ego and not your spirit.

19. Anyone who tells you that it’s OK to be unprofessional in their words or actions needs to take a long walk off a short pier.

20. You can win over anything. Even a dog that’s bigger than you.

21. Rock bottom is good, because you can only go up from there.

22. Home is wherever you hang up your coat and hat.

23. If you’re not good to the service staff, then we’ve got a problem.

24. Money doesn’t buy class.

25. Be silly!

26. Moisturize every single day.

27. Savor each and every bite you eat.

28. From my mother: “You wanna know what tough is? Surviving World War II.”

29.Nothing requires more strength and power than a drag queen in a fully beaded gown and five-inch heels doing a death drop.

30. Angels do exist.

31. Sure, there are people out there who want to tear you down. That’s just part of life. Don’t let them.

32. When you find your people, do your best to keep them.

33. You don’t have to be best friends with the folks you work with, but you should be able to respect them.

34. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

35. Warm up, always.

36. From my late father: Success is 1-percent inspiration and 99-percent perspiration.

37. Don’t always listen to your mother. Sorry, Mom!

38. Belting isn’t always the way to go.

39. The heart isn’t always right. That’s why you need your brain, too.

40. Be more than just a pretty face. Be funny. Be interesting. Be intelligent.

41. Smart-shaming people has no place anywhere in the world.

42. Appreciate true talent when you see it.

43. Appreciate the people who work alongside you.

44. Make time for even the shortest of prayers before doing something difficult.

45. Make time for even the shortest of prayers to say thanks.

46. Say “please,” “thank you” and “I need your help.”

47.Celebrate other people’s successes with joy.

48. It’s totally OK to fail. Just get back up and try again!

49. Show up on time for work. 15 minutes early is on time. On time is actually late.

50. Life is too short to not live it with joy. You only get one shot at it, so make it count.

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