10 life lessons at 34

10 life lessons at 34

Lol, Sorry. Such titles are still a thing. The Association of Listicles approve.

‌Since I turned 34 a day ago, I can't wait to add 'self-help guru' in my Twitter bio. So keeping with that theme, here are 10 life lessons my presumptuous self thinks it is qualified to enlist:

Being emotionally vulnerable

is the fastest way to get nice people to like you and a-holes to expose themselves. Keep the nice guys. Let go of the a-holes. Let them work on themselves and get back. When they do, hug them.

Keep a close watch for the situation where you are being the a-hole. It will arise. When you spot it, pounce on it. Work at it. Go back to being vulnerable, always. Apologise.

Apology is acknowledgement

When you mess up, don't waste time to say sorry. Sorrys are free, unlimited and give you a disproportionately high value in return. Say it often.

That said, if you do it without meaning, it is worthless... like most things in li... (yuck).

If it makes you angry

there is probably some truth in it, even if very little. You are allowed to get angry only if you are willing to communicate the same. Verbally. Not yell, or break a phone or slap yourself (ouch). That's abuse. And if you slap someone else, or are given to raising your hand even, please stop reading this and go seek help.

And, no, 'pouting' is trying to communicate 'non-verbally' so it doesn't count.

Don't finish other's sentences

like an email feature. Don't think of what to reply when someone is speaking. Your eyes give it away. It is irritating at best and hurtful at worst. If you don't have the time to listen to someone talk, tell them that. And fix up another time.

When you do decide to listen, try to be patient. Allow for silence. Empathise. It may be hard in the beginning but it gets easy as it goes. And don't achieve this by making every conversation about you. That's a cop-out.

Sleep and phone usage

are probably connected in a very direct manner. Solutions to many problems of a modern privileged life, it seems to me, start at forcing oneself to sleep by 10pm. (I cringe at how preachy that reads and probably for good reason. This solution may or may not apply to your situation. If it doesn't, please skip this. I speak for myself.)

A good way to try sleeping at 10pm is turning off all notifications on your phone and leaving it outside your bedroom. Get a landline connection if you are worried about emergency calls. Also, a good way to wake up early in the morning is to drink a litre of water before going to bed. <pee pee>.

Saying No

might be the first step towards taking care of your mental well-being. Draw lines in the sand. Don't work with people you don't need to. Don't play with people you don't like. Don't take calls you don't have to. Don't stay in situations that seem to make life worse. Try to disconnect, pause and reflect.

And from one Indian to another South Asian: please draw boundaries. Please! I beg you!! It's not wrong to eat your poha without going on a world tour, offering it to every human your mom insists she knows. So, please don't marry a man because your dad is turned on by him.

Time is valuable

It is the only gift you give/get that can't be returned. How much time you make for others is probably a good way to judge how generous you are. Once you've had your fill, aspire for generosity.

You are an investor of your hours. Try and plan for the long term. Steer clear of anything 'get-rich-quick'.

Discuss politics aggressively

only if you want to ruin relationships. Having a fight with your traditional mother by saying "Conservatism is a blot on society" while your liberal tush waits for her to serve you breakfast, is disgraceful.

If you must express your strong political opinions, use public platforms, online or otherwise. Doing that angrily in private will only ruin parties; But if you get off on that, do it. Don't invite me. And have the decency to not ruin someone else's party.

Learn to cook

your favourite meal.

It's fun. And extremely empowering.

Life is not a set of guidelines

Talk of hypocrisy, I continue my struggle with all of the above and more. I am uncertain if I'm right about any of these things.

Don't follow anyone's rules in life. Make your own, break them often and be ready to face the consequences. This gift doesn't keep giving.

Happy birthday... to me.