I turned 32 a few days back. My birthday is always a bittersweet feeling for me – I’m excited because I’m standing where I never thought I would be (with my family, love, work, health, finances and a lot more) and I always love celebrating things in life but at the same time there is always a sense of doom attached – I’ll never be this young again and I do fear old age more than I’ve heard other people admit to it atleast. There is a lot of energy inside me on my birthdays, mostly the good kind, but there is also a bit of nervous energy – which I happily subdue with lots of drinks, photos with my family and lots of cake – the next day is just any other day, life goes on and nervous energy be gone! I still sometimes feel like I’m a 20 year old so maybe I don’t have anything wise to say, heck I might not have anything wise to say when I’m 40 either but here are some things I have picked up on my way to turning 32 and I thought I’d jot them down – not only for you – but for me – for me to come back in read in 5 years and think ‘Oh sweet girl, there’s still so much you are so clueless about’. But that’s what’s fun about the journey I suppose – something new to learn everyday, every minute, every second – if you’re willing to be open to it. Here goes:
1) Spend more time with your parents. Any amount you spend with them will never be enough – not for them but for you. Nobody knows what the next day will bring – they may be gone – or you! And these 2 people made you – they are literally your only truth. So if you love your parents, if they’ve been good to you and if you are at a good place in your life right now – go meet them, hold them tight, tell them you love them and don’t let go.
2) While change and growing up comes with it’s own fun set of rules and independence, don’t forget who you were as a younger, more carefree person – what you liked, enjoyed and try to keep some of that person with you. It’s easy to drown in daily work, stress, socializing, eating out, paying money for fancy drinks and staring non-stop at your smartphone screens all day. But if you can keep a piece of your younger self alive – before cellphones came in (I understand half the people reading this won’t be able to relate to this so this is obviously not for them), the kind of music you enjoyed, the way sneaking a shot of vodka at the public park during the day made you feel like the king of the world, the way you used to dance in the rain (without worrying about your makeup getting ruined), the way you genuinely did not think about what the people around you were thinking of (probably because you didn’t know so many people back then lol) – be a little younger, leave your phone behind for a night out with friends, listen to the music you liked in college, read a book at the park on a Sunday, spend time with your friends from before instead of the new people you must be seen hanging out with, It is so good for the soul.
3) Take out time for your friends. Friends from school/college. Don’t just say ‘Lets hang out’. Ask them if they’re free on ‘X’ date and fix a plan. Get a coffee, drink, whatever you want. Ask them what’s going on in their life, tell them what’s happening in yours. As you get older, it gets harder to make new friends – friends like your school and college friends. And if you can manage to hang on to even 10% of those, you’ll develop a circle you may be able to bank on when you’re even older. It takes time and energy to develop relationships – you’ll only get what you put in. Make the effort. Each time. Even if you feel the other person isn’t putting in the similar kind of effort. Try. And if you still don’t get their effort after the 5th time, move on to someone who appreciates your time more.
4) Respect your time. And the time of others. Your time means something – it is more precious than the collection of luxury bags that you may have built. Don’t let others take it lightly. And certainly do not waste it on people who don’t deserve it – in work, personal relationships, and even family.
5) Take better care of your body. Never worked out out before? Start now. Start small. Start with something you might enjoy – there are so many options available now – rock climbing, boxing, aerial yoga (I myself haven’t tried these yet! Not proud of it). I swim in the summers and for the rest of the year I do yoga at home but I’m far from being regular with it. I move, I stretch and I pay attention to what I eat – I mostly eat at home, avoid dairy and processed sugar and other processed foods like bread, white rice, etc. I’ve also been doing intermittent fasting since December 2018 and it has been quite lovely for my body and well-being. It is a cliched thing to say but you really do just have one body – treat it well and it might just carry you well into your older years and keep you happy in return.
6) Work is great but learn how to switch off from time to time, if you like your peace of mind.
7) If you’re in pain, any kind of recurring physical/mental pain please go show it to a specialist. Do not learn to live with it, it’s not a normal state for for your body and it’s clearly asking for help.
8) Pay attention to your skin and develop a routine. There is a difference between being low maintenance and ignorant. Have a few faithful products that your skin responds well to and stick to them until it doesn’t. Cleanse and moisturise at the very least.
9) Skip the sunscreen from time to time. You can apply it on your face, neck and tattoos religiously but sometimes don’t apply it on your body, especially when you know you’ll be out in the sun only for a half hour. Let your skin soak in sunshine the way it was originally meant to.
10) Always keep a jar of natural aloe vera gel in your refrigerator. It’s so versatile and so great!
11) Being a little selfish and self obsessed can be a good thing (But remember, to a certain extent only)
12) If you can afford to, stop using beauty and skincare products that have SLES, Parabens and EDTA. Just stop. That shit is nasty.
13) Be nice to everybody. You will NEVER regret it. Unless you’re in the company of rapists and the like. In that case you just need to have a hard look at the kind of company you keep and perhaps change it.
14) Life doesn’t go as you plan or think. I know most people already know this but it’s just good to be reminded now and again.
15) Be patient. If the good times seem to have gone away, the bad times too will eventually do the same. No state is permanent for anybody or anything (not even plastic)
16) Travel as much as you can, wherever you can. And travel solo atleast once in your life.
17) It’s easy to hate life, people, etc when bad shit has happened to you. But when did managing to do anything easy give you a sense of achievement? You life experiences are what add on to make you who you are today, even if they literally took something away from you at the time.
18) If you can manage to follow a strict way of life in terms of food and physical activity then you must inculcate the habit to indulge once in a while. I got quite anal with my no-dairy policy for a couple of months and eventually I realised that while it may have been great for my body – it had made me a bit dull and agitated as a person. So I went back to enjoying pizzas with cheese on them guilt-free because that was good for my mind. And we all need to find our own balance.
19) Spend your money. You won’t be able to take it with you in your afterlife. But at the same time learn to save a portion of it too. You DO NOT want to be broke when you’re older.
20) Don’t get married and have kids because that’s the way of life you have always seen and known. Ask yourself why you want to do these things in the first place, how your life will be better off or worse by doing them. Do your research, like you’d be expected to do for every other big decision of your life. Kids may solve your boredom problem but they bring a whole new set of problems you may not be equipped to face.
21) With friends, don’t count your money.
22) Don’t be shy or ashamed of sharing your feelings with anybody. If somebody feels uncomfortable with it, that’s their problem, not yours.
23) Jealousy is a feeling that comes easily to humans. Even if you can manage to recognise the feeling and tell yourself to stop the moment you feel it creeping up, you’ve won half the battle with the green monster. We all feel everything, most of us more than we can handle – the best we can hope to do is manage our feelings and be aware of them being there. And continuing to breathe through them.
24) Go watch a movie int he cinema hall by yourself atleast once. It’s more fun than you may expect it to be.
25) NEVER feel shy of asking for help. We ALL need help sometimes. Ask for help, ask again. People seldom say no in reality. But you’ll never know until you ASK.
26) Write in a journal. You don’t have to be painfully regular with it. But keep it on your bedside so that you are constantly being reminded to write in it. And trust me, when you read the things you wrote 5 years from now, it’ll make for a beautiful experience.
27) Please don’t calculate someones value based on the number of followers they have on social media. Assholes have been known to run the world innumerable times before.
28) Spend time on yourself everyday doing literally anything that may keep you away from looking at a screen. And please switch off the screen of your phone when somebody/anybody is talking to you.
29) If you must have a pet or child – ADOPT. The world has enough of them already. Help lighten the load a little. Especially if you live in a country like India.
30) Sometimes, if you’re in a bad mood, simply smiling in the mirror or texting an old friend entirely flips your mood.
31) Most people are trying their best. Try not to judge because everyone has a story you know nothing of. You do YOU.
32) Drink a mixture of warm water + turmeric + raw honey + cinnamon + black pepper + lemon every morning and SMILE.
PHEW! It took me some time to compile this list. Hope you have a good time reading it! Here’s to learning more. And un-learning some stuff too!
And who would I be if I didn’t share a new outfit with you!
Jacket: Denimz UK
Jeans: American Eagle
Sunglasses: Vogue Eyewear
Location Courtesy Lebua Corbett
Pics of me courtesy Aman Godara