The days leading to and following any birthday is that of reflection, of course there is also a lot of shopping, a lot of planning for the big day, but there’s always a part of me that revels in the mode of looking inward and reflecting about all the highlights and lessons of the previous year(s), I have been blessed enough to have spent over three decades on this planet, and with it come some wonderful opportunities which have turned into achievements and some disappointments and lessons learnt as well.
Here are some of the most profound lessons I’ve learnt in the last 30 years:
- Health is the real wealth – We get one body till the very end. So love it, treat with with TLC, give your body all the nourishment it needs to live a healthy happy life. I was born with Asthma, so my memories from the first decade of my life has been more of hospitals and consultations with doctors rather than monkey bars and playing. So early on, I realized that without your health, there’s not much else you can accomplish.
- Books are my best friends – I took to reading at a very young age, because sports and very physically challenging activities were out of the question, growing up. Books came to my rescue, letting me escape to a world very different from my reality. Books never let me feel lonely, or like I was missing out, and they will always be my best-est friends.
- Sometimes the most toxic people are disguised as your family/friends – This was a toughie. But when you realize that proximity does not ensure depth in relationships, it makes you value the people who truly matter.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people – You are you, and they are them. And that is okay. Comparing yourself is the surest way to diminish your confidence, and its a huge waste of your own potential. Fall in love with the person in the mirror, and you won’t waste another second trying to be someone else.
- Its okay to put yourself first – its not only okay, its actually essential. Contrary to what we have been taught, it is foolish to martyr oneself for others, and think that it is great. When you are depleted, you can’t support anyone else.
- Best Investment Options – Investing in yourself is the best investment ever, it all starts with liking ourselves enough to know that we deserve the best.
- Listen to your instincts – If something feels iffy, don’t dismiss it. If something feels right, don’t shy away from it. Your soul/intuition/gut whatever you call it, knows more than you do. Learn to listen to it. It will protect you.
- Yoga is life – I started working out at the age of 17, tried going to the gym, aerobics, zumba, pilates, you name it, I’ve tried it. But the best workout for my body is Yoga. And I have been practicing yoga for over a decade now, and I swear by it. It has taught me to practice compassion towards my body, like no other workout has.
- Sometimes Love isn’t enough – Despite what Disney tells you, sometimes love isn’t enough to fix relationships.
- Whats meant for you will come to you (no matter what) – One can’t escape their destiny, so there’s never a need to cling. In fact Clinging on to something is the quickest way to lose said thing.
- Its okay if (some) people don’t like you – The most important thing is if you like you. And think about this, you don’t like every single person you meet, so its not only possible, but expected that everyone who meets you might not like you. This, however, won’t define you.
- Work ethic (the thing they don’t teach you in college) – No matter what you studied, whether you went to Business School, Law School, Med School, or any other, Schools don’t teach you certain things, like what it really means to have a strong work ethic. Sometimes your work ethic is more important than just superior technical skills. Don’t shy away from good old fashioned effort, and do it with a good attitude.
- Its not personal – The Godfather nailed it, and I don’t mean all the times this little line gets thrown around in the book by the people who didn’t really know what the Don really meant when he’s say this. In one of his big monologues, Michael tells Sonny that he learnt everything he knows from the Don, and that he heard him just as much as his brothers (how do you think I got so smart, he says), before he goes out to kill the Turk. (yes, I love this book and know it inside out, by now). Here’s the secret, Everything is personal. If you spend your time, energy or money on something, it is personal, and don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise.
- Manners and morals rank higher than material things – Money and material things are important for a comfortable life. But Money can’t buy a LOT of the important things – time, manners, confidence, class, values.
- Do what makes you happy – don’t be apologetic about doing things that make you happy. Buy those pair of shoes, have another helping of dessert, cancel plans, take a nap, binge watch your favorite show, take selfies, do the little things that make you happy, and don’t let anyone else tell you what that should be. You owe yourself that much.
- Count your blessings – you’ll be surprised by how much you have. Instant joy and gratitude guaranteed!
- When you count your blessings, look for things money can’t buy – Like your family, loved ones, friends, butterflies, unexpectedly finding beauty around yourself, guidance/advice at the right time, this life, love, etc.
- Time is the most valuable gift you can give someone – Life is finite, and just as certainly as we were born and brought into this planet, one day our time will be up, what matters is how we lived while we are here. So what will you choose to do in this limited period of time, who will you give your time to, the time you can’t ever reverse or re-do. Be picky about spending it on people who don’t make you regret it.
- Forgiveness is liberating – given that time is so precious, it seems so foolish to hold grudges and stay angry, doesn’t it? Forgive and move on. Forgive everyone and everything (especially yourself!).
- You are tougher than you realize – When the time is right, you will surprise yourself with how strong you really are.
- Change your perspective, change your life – It is that simple.
- Unanswered prayers are the biggest blessings – Life unravels and reveals its true plans for you, and more often than not, and its usually grander than our very own plans. And when you really look back to connect the dots, unanswered prayers are the ones that make you feel most grateful.
- Life is short – Don’t worry. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up, and enjoy the good times while it lasts.
- Impermanence – Nothing lasts forever (and thank god for that), the good, the bad, the mundane, there is an element of impermanence to everything. In small ways nothing ever stays the same, tomorrow will be another day. So if you’re going through a difficult phase, realize that its only a phase, It will be over soon and it will lead to something better.
- Everything is constantly changing – The date changes every day, the weather changes by the season, our values change based on the things we have been through, relationships change. The universe is constantly moving and changing, the planets, the tides, everything. Change is the only constant! (why yes, I do love platitudes).
- Gratitude – Gratitude changes you on a molecular level, it makes you more attractive. It makes you attractive to all the good in the world. If you start off with an ungrateful heart, it won’t be long before you lose what you have, I got to learn this by experience.
- Family is everything.
- Here and now – This is it. This moment is LIFE. Everything else are either memories of the past or hopes for the future. Here and now is the only reality, of which we can be certain.
- Love – Do everything with love, or don’t do it at all. Love your life, for the blessing it is. Love your family and friends without restrictions. Love more.
- I don’t have it all figured out, Yet – When I was younger, I had it ALL figured out, lately, not so much. 30 years have brought innumerable lessons, no doubt, but I’m not done learning, I am still trying to understand and figure out what life is all about.
Lessons apart, never forget that Life is beautiful, in its highs and lows, there is always beauty around us, after all we ourselves are ALL made of stars.
Keep shining. ❤