Updated: Sep 1, 2019
My “dirty” 30 is here! While some feel dismayed at turning 30, others celebrate it. Well, I celebrated every bit of it. I decided to travel this year for my birthday. And, in a different country, felt like a kid — a 30-year-old kid — in a candy shop. Yup, irony died a slow death.
Moving on though, generally turning 30 hits you hard. More responsibilities and more financial planning, home loans or rents, marriage or plans of getting married, becoming parents or becoming like our parents, and finally figuring out if you’ve actually achieved what you had aimed to achieve by the time you hit 30. Oh man, the answer to that question can give you nightmares.
I’ve compiled this very personal list that looks beyond career goals and concentrates on the joys of doing things that make me a better person. It will focus on all the small efforts that made me feel good about certain decisions I took and some actions of mine while growing up.
This list is in no particular order and it means a lot to me because I’d have never imagined I would say all the things in this list, even at the beginning of my 20s.
Throw kindness around like confetti
Back in the early 20s, I was a slightly wayward soul who took college rivalry to heart. I looked for validation from close friends and it mattered to me that I kept everyone around me happy. You see, I am a people’s person and always take charge of things around me. But back then, I came across a lot of people - no matter what -managed to find faults and looked for anything negative to point out. It was almost impossible to not have people who disagreed with me, didn’t appreciate my help or acknowledge my hard work. After reacting with a lot of anger and aggression as my first impulse, I experimented with “smiling” as a response once. And voila, it worked for me! I enjoyed the feeling of smiling back with a loud “f@*& y##” in my mind. This helps me mask my aggression and calms me down as well. I am still trying to stick to this as my permanent solution of dealing with negativity. Smile back at haters and throw kindness around like confetti believe me it just works wonders.
Love is the reason; lifelong friendship is a gift
Marriage is a wonderful event to happen to your life. And, I can say it with ease now only after I married my best friend. It is not necessary for everyone to feel the same. I was unsure of whether I want to marry at all. But, after dating each other for almost a decade I knew marriage was something we would wing it together. So, do not take hasty decisions. Let major life decisions brew at its own pace like good coffee. I definitely do not recommend that you analyze every step of your life. Sometimes, all you can do is just leave it there and let the universe take your decisions for you. Do not get bogged down by societal pressures because that is never going to make you happy. Let love be the reason and friendship be the gift of your marriage.
Living in another city
After marriage, I moved to another city. Away from my entire family. Honestly, the family is a cocoon where we Indians would love to be tied inside for as long as we can. And, our parents love it more than we do. But, everyone knows that one has to leave their comfort zone to achieve something bigger. As they say, “change is the only constant.” My husband and I moved to a city with no family members or relatives around. We faced a major culture shift. But, we both moved only for a better career opportunity, to deal with living on our own, setting up our house together and managing the life we always wanted. This does have its own challenges but hey, we aren’t complaining! I am loving every bit of it. I do miss my family and my city - Mumbai - which is the best in the whole world btw. However, we feel good every single day when we see the life we have built together.
Stand up for yourself and sometimes for others
Gone are the days where you can pull a damsel in distress. I realised that when I take charge of my own problems, solutions come easily. Help yourself and be independent. Stand up for everything you strongly believe in and do not hesitate to express yourself. Remember we have the ‘freedom of speech’ and make the most positive use of it. This one trait of mine, I realised a few years back, comes from my mother. She is a fiery woman who does a lot of social work that even involves a lot of threats that has the potential to disrupt the peace in our family. My dad was supportive and she was firm about one thing: no matter what, a few threats can’t change who she is as a person. Therefore, stick to your roots and do what you believe in. She ensured that my sister and I don’t have to live in fear. We all have our daily struggles and we are all dealing with problems on different levels but don’t lose yourself in this chaos. Stand up for yourself and sometimes for others too.
Passion knows no age limit
By 30, everyone assumes that you have found your passion in life and are already working on it. Let’s get real, there are so many successful people who only found their passion and made it big post 50. So, take time to find your passion. There is no hurry. We watch movies, shows and read books about passionate people but everyone has an independent journey and you need to trust that journey. I worked for a different industry for crazy long hours. And, I have experimented in every role that was offered. These experiments have landed me in an industry that I am happy to have found. My passion is truly the intersection of Marketing and Food. Lucky me that I got both in one, and those who haven’t, there is a lot of time. Keep experimenting till it clicks for you. Trust me, passion knows no age limit and once you find yours know that you need to keep working on it forever.
Art of chilling
At some point, all of us become a part of this inevitable rat race. Do you feel a sense of impending doom if you don’t keep up the pace? I do. Especially when we - in our initial professional years - want to give it all and make every day count. That’s fair enough but after 8 years of work experience, I have now started realising the magic of chilling. Relax to refresh your thoughts and restore your energy. Take a break. Disconnect to connect with yourself and bring in positivity for some fresh thoughts. The outcome of this art is only positive. Things like your perspective on current challenges improve, it helps you refocus on what makes you happy, your family/friends will thank you, you have a clear vision of your goals, and most importantly your body gets the recovery time it deserves. So, appreciate and practice the art of chilling from time-to-time.
To live well is to eat well – yes this is right!
You might think it should have been the other way round but no! For me, it is “to live well is to eat well.” I have a serious passion for food. I remember when I was a little kid I would never have cakes from one bakery. I would ask my mom to keep trying different places and would experiment. Nothing has changed till now; I absolutely love trying different cuisines and experimenting all the time. Among the five senses of the human body, the taste is one sense that also touches your soul. You might forget what you have seen, heard or touched but you won’t ever forget eating food that entered your soul. A great plate of delicious goodness will always rekindle your memory. My husband and I bonded over food when we were dating. We share the same passion and our weekend dates are usually all about trying different cuisines and restaurants.
Mhysa, has changed my life completely. I’ve always felt more for animals than humans because I was raised with pets around me. Mhysa, my 5-year-old, fur baby came into my life when a lot was happening already. My work and emotional state was overwhelming for me. When Mhysa was just 4 months old, she had severe health issues. Doctors had warned us about her condition too. I did everything I could, and a few things beyond my limits, to save her. I didn’t know what was happening and what will happen in the future but I knew that I am not giving up. All the motherly instincts came to me because of Mhysa during this critical time. She opened another door filled with love and kindness for me. We are surviving all of our life’s ups and downs together with lots of jumps, cuddles and hugs. One of my future goals is to run an animal shelter and take care of as many fur babies as I can.
This is my wonder list as I turned 30. I am so looking forward to what’s in store for the next 30? Meanwhile, tell me if you have a list like this? I would love to read your comments.