It’s happening. I’m going to be on the wrong side of the 20s in a matter of a few weeks. Unlike every other birthday, this is driving me insane ever since someone subtly mentioned that I’m pushing 30s now (You NEVER do that to a woman. Neverrrr!).
In the last two years, I’ve come closer to my dreams as much as I’ve gone away from a few others. Everything starts becoming clearer. Maybe, it’s the age or the experiences you go through. Maybe, it was the big jump of moving to another city. Maybe, it’s a bit of everything.
So much changes about you but does it really?
On the occasion of my 24th birthday, I’d jotted down an extensive list of life lessons that helped me make it this far. Read here.
Everything holds true, more so now than ever before.
Here’s an updated version for my 26th or as my friend calls it, 1st annual celebration of my 25th birthday.
(In no particular order)
Crush Your Ego
There is a big difference between self-esteem and ego. Identify that difference when you act on your impulsive reactions. Ego is destructive. Self-esteem is constructive. Opportunities are aplenty but don’t hold yourself back.
Everyone is Equal
So what if she is prettier than you and that’s what helps her get her work done? So what if he was born with a silver spoon and that’s why he is where he is today? Has anyone blamed you for being better at balancing a wine glass on your nose than the others? Has anyone questioned your ability to sniff out the crazies like a hound? Everyone is different. Respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
I’m not saying pass a dollar to every homeless person on the street. I’m not asking you to join non-profits that will save the world. No. That’s your decision.
But remember that you shall reap what you sow. Everyone is selfish. Including me. What is it that you are offering to the world that no one else can? How are you making someone’s life better? Why should I talk to you and not the neighbor standing next to you?
Follow Your Heart, But Don’t Be Ridiculous
Yes. That’s what we have been taught in the past 5 years.
“Follow your dreams. Connect the dots later.”
What stalwarts like Steve Jobs didn’t tell you is that you have to work your ass off to achieve your dreams and sometimes it will include doing really mundane not-so-glamourous tasks like making 600 copies or going through 50 reports to find one piece of information or working on a creative brief for panty liners.
Don’t stop dreaming but also don’t quit your job because you had to do something “beneath” you one day.
Your Words Matter
You could get away with saying that you don’t care about gender equality or state of farmers in Maharashtra when you’re younger. But it sounds way different now when you’re on the other side of your 20s.
Your opinions make a difference and you have the ability to push the needle to make real change happen.
READ. No seriously, ACTUAL READING.
You’re going to meet a lot of other smart and cognizant people when you put yourself out there. They can tell the difference between someone who’s read the title versus someone who’s read the book. Don’t EVER pretend to know something you don’t know. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know something.
Your Parents Were Right About Everything
You start realizing now that whatever your parents told you about life is actually true. Remember that time at dinner when your dad wouldn’t stop talking about the importance of waking up early or having dinner on time? Yeah. He was probably right.
Fine. You don’t have to admit it to them.
There Is No Later
You can’t afford to procrastinate anymore. Well you can, hypothetically. But that’s your loss. Because this is it!
Those random travel plans you made with your college buddies, that origami class you always wanted to take, that boy/girl you always wanted to know more, that dress you always wanted to try… do it. Time flies by faster all of a sudden.
Don’t Believe Everything You See
Everything that glitters is not gold. They’d taught this to us in primary school. We tend to forget that this is applicable to almost everything.
Even if Bill Gates comes to you one day and asks you to do something, question it. Why? Why is this going to work as opposed to something else? Don’t do things blindly because only cows do that. Are you a cow?
Pain Is Not An Excuse
Empathize, not sympathize. Stand tall; don’t look for a reason to fall. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity and not do what you're meant to be doing. But the only person you’re doing a great disservice to by being so is yourself.
It’s difficult but not impossible. You are your only person.
Everyone Has Their Own Journey
Everyday your Facebook Wall will constantly remind you how someone is getting engaged, is in a relationship, got a job, is getting married, is having babies, has become a grandparent, has baked cookies, is owning a bunny farm (okay, last one was pushing it and that would probably be me) etc.
It’s OKAY. Don’t “fall in love” with someone because you’re the only one in your friend circle who is not. Don’t start a family because it’s “time”. Your life is your own. Peer/parent pressure is what you make of it.
Also, Have A Cat.
Cause cats are amazeballs!
P.S: Quarter Life Crisis is a real thing.