24. No. This article is not about the Indian version of 24 which is going on air in a couple of weeks. (Though, you should check out the trailer which I think is promising and should shake up the currently stale Indian Television scene.)
I’m turning 24. Yes, T-w-e-n-t-y F-o-u-r! Paranoia has already gripped me. Finally the adage - “Don’t ask a woman her age,” is making sense to me.
There was a list of goals I had set for myself. Surprisingly, I’ve managed to live up to the promises I made. I picked up a few pearls along the way which make my survival in this BAD MAD world a little easier and incredibly stress-free.
Here it goes.
(In no particular order)
Mind your own business
We feel the need to constantly express our opinions; even if it is about the neighbour’s daughter’s maid’s grandmother’s cat’s new-found love interest. But guess what, seems like people are smart and they know how to go about their lives.
Smile with your heart. Smile as if it can save someone’s life. Smile like you mean it. Even, if you just stepped out of a nasty fight and dried tears are making your face itchy. Smile! You have no idea how that smile is making someone else’s day.
Looks are important
Yes. I judge a book by its cover. Be presentable. Carry yourself with élan. Your body language tells more about you than probably your resume does. Invest in good footwear. Get up, dress up and step out. This is your day and you need to look your very best.
Your body is your temple
Dying young is highly overrated. Your body will give you return gifts in your old age which you probably will not want thanks to the daredevil foolhardy you indulged in, during your wild child days. I’m not saying that you should be a saint but a little discernment won’t hurt now, will it? Eat healthy. Drink lots of water. And for heaven’s sake, WALK!
Friends are the family you choose
Stick to people you click with as if your life depends on it. Real friends are an endangered species. And also, you are the people who you hang out with. So, be wise.
Blood is thicker than water
They know everything about you. They love you even after you dig your nose in front of them and they are extremely tolerant of public farting. They are going to feed you with your favourite instant noodles in the middle of the night while you’ve been watching soppy Sandra Bullock movies during your Bridget-Jones-depression phase to make you feel better. Need I say more?
Read, read, read
Never stop learning. Education is not restricted to schools and textbooks. Every day there are new lectures in this giant classroom of our world. So, Read. Read whatever you can lay your hands on. Yes, even that small ad in the bottom-right corner on the 4th page of the supplementary newspaper. You never know when or where or how it may help you.
Your friend wants to visit the new mall. Your sister wants to go for a movie. Your boyfriend asked you to finish his assignment. Your boss wants you to hangout after hours. I know you want to be there for people but you can’t be everywhere. You can’t make everyone happy. It’s better to say ‘NO’ and fulfill that commitment later. If you can’t give your 100%, might as well not do it, right?
Shit happens to the best of people. Let it go. Don’t hold grudges and let it tie you down. You are the only person who suffers. No one else bothers. Forgive people for their mistakes because even you make mistakes. Don’t you want to be forgiven? Live in the present. Make amends and go be Fantastic.
Don’t have expectations
You invest time and emotions in people. It is YOUR choice. Don’t expect them to return your favours. Do things because YOU want to do them. Not to help others and make them feel grateful for you. Don’t get too attached. Humans are unpredictable and they will hardly ever follow the script you’ve written in your head. Be free from expectations. Be Happy.
A smooth sea never made a good sailor
Problems are good. Obstacles are awesome. If everything worked out how it should then there would be no spice in life. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Appreciate your lows and celebrate your highs. None is as tasteful without the other.
Under promise, Over prepare, Over deliver
Make this a golden rule. Do Not Over Sell. Assert your credibility and make promises that you can keep.
Credit cards are Evil
Spend only as much as your bank balance allows you. That plastic card is evil. It lulls you into the impression that you can afford to make more purchases but within a matter of months you won’t even realise you are in debt. Borrow hard cash but DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT swipe that credit card.
Nothing is perfect
We want to change people. We want to change the world. We want everything to be better. We make improvements but it’s still not perfect. There are flaws in everything. Even perfection is a flaw. If you can change it then change it. If you can’t change it then accept it.
Raise questions that need to be answered. Let curiosity run wild. Hunt for your answers. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Maybe, the answer was always lying in front of you but you never saw it. Don’t live in the shadow of assumptions. Know what is happening in your life. Know what is happening around the world. Ask – Why? When? What? Where? How?
Stay away from Dementors
Some people just suck the life out of you. This world is filled with pessimists. Stay away from people who put you down. They will darken every corner of your room. They are not your friends. Hope. Believe. Dream and stay away from these Dementors. No one can save them. So, don’t feel bad. You are not a bad person if you bail out on them.
Que Sera Sera
You can plan your life to the last second of your last breath if you want to. But life’s a bit unpredictable. You never know what’s going to happen. You might start loving the curry that you’ve hated all your life. You’ll start wearing Crocs tomorrow because you suddenly find them appealing. You just can’t say. So, never say never because what has to happen will happen. Whether you like it or not, sometimes you have to accept that you have no control over it.
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you
I hate it when people talk behind my back so I’m pretty sure they don’t like it either. Break the cycle. Behave. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Be courteous. If we all sought an eye for an eye then the whole world would be blind!
Honesty is Sexy
Sometimes, we just assume that it’s better to cover our mistakes. We assume that we’ll be charged with murder and locked up in jail if we do not lie about it. Don’t lie for stupid reasons. Honesty is attractive. Accept your mistakes. It’s liberating. Others can help you rectify your mistakes. You like having ketchup sauce with dal-rice. It’s okay. Nothing to hide… That makes you, you. Less pretence, more fun. Be Real.
The best ideas come to you when you are travelling. Explore new places. Get out of your comfort zone. Experiment with local cuisine. Every region is different. There is so much to see and so much to capture in your memories. Life is about new experiences. None better an experience than travelling to an absolutely unknown place. Ask Anthony Bourdain.
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss and your intelligence hampers you. We overthink. We overanalyse and in the process don’t do many things that we’ve always wanted to do.
It might not be the most prudent decision but sometimes, you need to blow up all your savings on that music festival that you always wanted to go to. So, what if you got super sloshed and danced on table tops in front of a ton of people? In that moment, you were alive and you gave birth to a memory you might narrate to your grandchildren someday.
Trust your instincts
We often get stuck while making life-changing decisions. Our head is fighting with our heart and very rarely do they ever agree to the same decision. In situations like these, go with your gut. Your instincts already know things about you that probably your conscious brain doesn’t. Ever got that nauseating feeling at the pit of your belly after deciding something? Yes. That’s a sign. You made the wrong choice.
Aim high to get high. So, I dream to have a beautiful bungalow of my own overlooking the sea with a small yacht tied to the dock jutting out of my private beach. I aspire to have Beyonce’s bikini bod and strut around beaches in Miami. I dream because in the real world, positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative.
Watch Fight Club
Haven’t watched a better movie yet. It’s a fucking masterpiece. In Tyler, we trust.
Being 24 doesn’t seem all that bad after I made this list, actually.