Last week I celebrated my 35th birthday.
In one way the phrase ‘I am 35 years old’ feels like I am getting old as I have lived almost half of my life (if average life expectancy is 75 years) and this saddens me because then I think of all the things I have not yet experienced, things that have been on my to-do list for the past many years and things that I wish to accomplish before it gets too late.
In another way it feels like my second and most important inning has just begun. I feel more zealous for living and more focussed on the fundamental blocks of life such as relationships, integrity and social service. It feels good to see my growth as I view myself as a more matured woman now. Wiser and more patient.
Whichever way I look at my 35th birthday, I am certain about one thing – I have learnt many good lessons.
I think I have learnt the crucial lessons of life that will now govern the next cycle of my remaining life. One of the most important lessons is that I must share my knowledge with people I care for. You, my readers, are the people I care for and hence I am applying this lesson in practical. Here I am, sharing my wisdom – 35 crucial lessons learnt in 35 years of life.
1. People are the biggest asset. In an organization it is its employees and for ordinary people like you and me, our biggest assets are our close relationships – our loved ones.
2. Family comes first. In line with the first lesson, our family must come first because nothing in this world can replace the family.
3. Virtues like honesty and self-respect are priceless. Never bargain on these. Never.
4. Accumulate experiences and not products. Experiences give us memories and products lead to clutter.
5. Spend at least 20 minutes everyday in silence. Spend them in a way that gives us solace. Walk or read or listen to music. Just be sure to get that dose of ‘me’ time everyday.
6. Words are the most powerful tool. They can make or break a relationship. Choose your words wisely especially with people you love.
7. Make people feel good about themselves. Like Maya Angelou said, ‘people may forget what you said or did to them. But they will never forget how you made them feel.’
8. Kids learn more from their parents’ behaviour than anything else. So behave yourself.
9. A ‘NO’ goes a very long way. Learn to say no to things that do not add anything meaningful to your life.
10. Our company affects us more than we can imagine it to. Choose your company wisely. Be with people you want to be like.
11. Pleasing others is a bad hobby. We all spend a great amount of time in trying to please others which is utterly useless and harmful in the long run. If I must, please myself.
12. Cry for those who value your tears. And they will not let you cry.
13. Never say never. Always be ready to accept any surprise element from life. Life is unpredictable, after all.
14. When people tell me that I have changed, I accept it as a compliment.
15. Accept that people change. The sooner you accept, the easier it gets in dealing with people.
16. In the equation of life, add those who make you love yourself. Subtract those who fill you with negativity. Multiply the genuine people around you and divide the ones who take you for granted.
17. Take it easy. Slow down and do not rush. That is the only way to live a content life.
18. Decluttering is very important. Declutter your mind, body and the house you live in.
19. The best gift I can give to my child is my undivided attention. She may forget the things I buy for her but she will always remember my presence around her.
20. Resist from sharing your opinions on everything. In this times of fortified social media presence, you never know what opinion of yours lands you in trolling. I learnt it the hard way when I shared a post on Karvachauth.
21. When you want something, ask for it. Especially with your partner. He isn’t a mind reader. Make your marriage simpler and more convenient by asking for things that you want. Ever since I started telling him and asking him for what I want, my life has got easier and marriage has only strengthened.
22. Ask questions. Challenge conventions. Do not conform just because you have to and because you have been taught to.
23. Say sorry and thank you. These two words go a long way in establishing peace and harmony.
24. Save water. In the last few years, I have travelled to many small, offbeat, lesser-known places and the dearth of water there fills me with fear that the day is not faraway when we all may have to live without water.
25. Moisturize your skin. Moisturize it really well. A well hydrated skin glows and a simple habit of keeping it moisturized will save you lot of money and efforts in the long run. You can try my DIY recipe of a 24 hr body moisturizer.
26. Do not waste too much time in arguing. People who want to understand things will understand without much argument. Those who don’t get it, will never get it.
27. Discover your love language and your partner’s. And then communicate using that language.
28. Ensure sufficient Vitamin D and calcium in your body. Indians inherently have low levels of Vitamin D and calcium and this leads to serious health and bone related problems.
29. Drink more water. I have noticed huge improvement in my skin, digestive system and overall health after I upped my daily water intake.
30. Read. Read. Read. Not only reading helps in knowing more things, it also helps in gaining wider perspectives and helps in understanding human nature at a deeper level. Whenever in doubt, pick up a good book.
31. Engage in a hobby. Be it reading, writing, crafting, sewing, cooking or anything. A good, constructive hobby helps in decluttering of mind.
32. Spend less time on TV and internet, especially social media. Two years ago, we decided to live a TV-less life and my life has never been this peaceful. I have also drastically reduced my internet screen time and this has helped me in staying more focussed.
33. Seek quality. In everything. Not just in clothes, accessories, gadgets and other tangible things but also in the more important non-tangible things. Seek quality in relationships, in thoughts, in conversations and in the way you spend time.
34. Appreciate the good in others. If you like something in somebody, go over and tell him. It will only do good to both of you.
35. Dress gracefully. Eat mindfully. Sleep soundly. Walk briskly. Smile heartily. Act kindly. Listen actively. Live genuinely.
Learning is a continuous process. As life goes on, it teaches us lessons. I am still learning and un-learning some lessons from this teacher called life. But I feel it is wise and practical to pause and look back at the journey and repeat some of these to ourselves.
What are your most important lessons in life?