By end of it, its not the years in your life that counts, its the life in your years that matters. I swear by this lovely thought now. Specially when I turned 25 a couple of weeks back. And how does it feel? Pretty normal except that a few strands of white hair on my head still trick me into thinking that I am turning old. Is it the only sign? Well, I guess I have figured out some more signs of ageing. I have seen a change in my preference for TV programs. Every night, I go back and forth watching late 90’s television shows. I have suddenly started enjoying sitcoms like Friends and Sex & the City. And if this was not enough, I see a drastic change in coffee conversations with friends. So instead of discussing good old school days, now our discussions revolve around career, bosses, jobs, relationships, marriage and blah blah. In short all adult talks. Alas! What happened to the good old days?
But all said and done, is turning 25 such a big deal? Is all the hoopla worth it? Well, just a couple of weeks into this phase of ‘having lived a quarter of my life’, I would say no! Of course, I do miss being a kid, but life is all about moving on and discovering new things. Its time to embrace the beauty of this phase, the beauty of being an independent and confident adult.
So while I am still trying to accustom to the ageing signs, its important to pass on to the coming generation, the ‘wisdom’ I have gained over the years before I officially embark on the new journey. Now, I am officially licensed to use words like ‘our coming generation’ and ‘wisdom’ (**secretly rolling my eyes**). And they said adulthood didn’t have its perks!
So here goes my crisp list of 25 things I learned on turning 25.
- The world is cruel. Step out of the glass castle you built in your childhood. The world is far more stretched, complex and challenging.So the more closer you are to reality, the easier it becomes to face this world.
- Embrace change, be flexible but don’t lose yourself. So the world is cruel. And to survive in the cruel world, you will have to adapt. Remember the theory, survival of the fittest? Well, apply this theory but not to the extent that you lose yourself. Retain you individuality. While 99% of the people might reject you, you will still find some who will accept you.
- Long term planning is the thing of the past. Do you know when are you going to die? No! Stop planning where you will be, how you will be, with whom you will be in the next 10, 5, 3, 2 or 1 year. Start living in the moment. Planning to do everything sometimes results in doing nothing.
- Set realistic goals. You don’t want to wonder around in this world like headless chicken. Plan, but plan realistically. Create achievable goals and work everyday towards them. The joy of working towards a goal far exceeds the joy of achieving it at the end.
- Become independent. So you thought you will survive on your parent’s pocket money forever? They have sustained you enough! Now go out and make a living for yourself. Taste the joy of independence. Its really addictive.
- Its okay to be single. Just because everyone is in a relationship, doesn’t mean you also need to commit yourself. Get rid of the herd mentality. You are not a sheep but a living human being.
- If you are in a relationship, stop judging the singles. Well just because you found your love interest, doesn’t mean everybody is willing to take the plunge. Everyone has different priorities in life, so don’t turn judgmental to the extent that you start doubting a person’s sexuality just because he/she is single.
- Its important to have your own opinion! Stop pleasing people. Pleasing everyone at the cost of your own happiness is the biggest self-inflicted torture. Its okay if you are the only one who disagrees out of the whole crowd. Remember, herd mentality.
- Learn to say, ‘No’! So you went out for a party with friends. Your ‘bff’ insisted you to have a drink. You cant turn down because he/she is your bff! Well, if the person really claims to be your bff, one; your bff wouldn’t force his/ her choices on you. Two; a person who cannot stand up for himself/ herself can never stand the world. If you cant say a ‘No’ right now, prepare to get exploited by the world.
- Bully the bully. Whoever says that he/ she hasn’t been bullied ever, is lying! Remember those last bench classmates of yours or the brutal looking guy of your class. Well, bullies exist beyond classrooms – in college, in offices and in your personal life too. And way to handle them – an eye for an eye!
- Stop worrying about your looks. Doesn’t mean stop looking your best. But stop cribbing about the way you look, your hair, your nose, your smile, your teeth………..arghhh! If that is the way nature wants you, accept it and move over. Of course, unless you are some super rich celebrity who can get everything fixed, from face to buttocks. But remember its still all plastic!
- Never ever compare yourself. This is the ultimate sin. This is shooting yourself in the foot with an AK- 47. Remember, if all us were meant to be same, then we would have been probably assembled in a factory like machines instead of being conceived as a human being.
- Learn good habits, but remember bad ones too. Everybody has both good and bad habits. When you interact with people and figure out some good habits, don’t turn jealous. Turn that jealousy into learning. Imbibe that good habit in your nature. And what do you do when you figure out some bad habit? Don’t turn judgmental and discard that person. Learn about that habit and ensure you never fall into the trap. Remember, everybody teaches us something or the other.
- Get lost but do find your way. There will be times when you will feel lost- professionally or personally. What do you do? Don’t withdraw yourself and succumb to the situation. Remember, every cloud has a silver lining. You are not the only one who may feel this way. All of us at some point in our life have gone through such phase. But don’t give up. Hang on there, you will make through it.
- Learn to turn a bad day into good day. Your happiness is in your hand. People will make you feel miserable only when you have allowed them to. Nothing in this world is more important than your own smile. Smile and turn down those worries. It will pass.
- Fail at something, learn from it and move on. You are not a super human who has never failed in life. All of us have failed at some point in life. Some have failed in their relationships, some in their career and the list is endless. But does it mean if you fall down, you should never get up again? Life is not that hunky dory. If you have failed, congratulate yourself. Life is teaching you an important lesson which if you want, it may turn into stepping stone to success. Learn it, hold it close to your heart and move on.
- Keep your passion alive. Remember the time you made wonderful sketches in your paint book, when you performed a solo song in your school or did a short gig with your school friends at home thinking you will become a rock star one day. And bam! Look where you are! Stuck in your mundane life. Sulking about the good old days in office. Not only does your passion helps you fuel your professional life, but helps break monotony. So better keep one!
- Stop being society. You are not society which is meant to be judgmental. You are an individual. Just the way you wound’t like someone judging you, your life, your decisions, same way, stop judging others. Live and let live.
- Stop calling yourself special. Unless you really do something that makes you really special. I remember during one of my conversation with a friend, she told me that parents tend to tell their child how special he/ she is. Unfortunately, kids grow up with this baggage and are left heart broken when the world tells them in their face “You are ordinary”.
- Keep your friends close. Just like your parents and family are your support system, you will discover that friends form the spine of that support system. No doubt its very hard to find good friends in life, but if you are lucky enough to find one, don’t let them go anywhere.
- Learn to let go. Its a known but hard earned secret. If it belongs to you, it will come back to you. But if its not, let it go. Let go off soured relations, bad memories and sometimes people.
- Live alone. You realize the importance of family. And you realize the importance of independence. You develop a fresh perspective about life because you are your own boss.
- Eat, work, travel and repeat. You thought that materialistic things could give you satisfaction. Hang on there! Remember, you will be buried without these things. So better concentrate your energy on repeating this cycle and making memories.
- Money doesn’t matter, relations do. Remember it was not money which made humans. It was humans who made money.
- Fall in love with yourself. Its all in your brain. You become what you think. If you think of yourself as a good person, you will become one. And if you think you are a devil, you will only cause destruction. Control your brain, become your own master and use it in a positive direction. Remember, you are your best friend and your worst enemy.
And to sum it up – always stay humble. No matter who you are, whatever you have achieved, never forget to remain humble, polite and grounded. Be thankful to God for this life, for whatever he has bestowed on you and be kind to less fortunate.
So those were my 25 key takeaways from the last 25 years of my life. And yes, I have discovered that the world is still not that cruel. Anne Frank has rightly said,’In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart’.