Thirty two Life Lessons@32

My new year does not begin until February 1, 2016 — January 2015 was rather atrocious so I decided to rewire my own sense of what and when a new beginning should be. Things got better, then they got worse and then they kind of blew up. The emotional and physical push-pull of past few months meant that I was forced to discover, awaken & introspect this person I have perceived myself to be.

I realize that my journey of self examination and improvement is a work-in-progress, but as most of the world goes into a contemplative, reflective mood that is characteristic of the start of a new year ,my 32 year old self will like to share a few of my own findings:

1. If you can see a path ahead of you, it is not YOUR path.It is often easier and more comfortable to get swept up in other people’s (often well meaning ) dreams & plans. Get involved/help where you can, but do not let that be your ONLY dream.

2. Be less hard on yourself — self compassion isn’t always inbuilt in a lot of our systems but its a practice worth pursuing and progressing.

3. Ask yourself what YOU really need and want,and what your fundamental values are. Then set your intention to not accept less and to not compromise on the stuff that makes you, YOU.

4. With deeper self awareness there is a strong possibility of deeper pain. Choose the pains you want to keep i.e. the ones which help you grow. Discard the rest, minimize the suffering.

5. Be open to the universe- both in terms of investing in yourself and being kind and helpful to others.

6. Change and transitions are hard for most of us — bloody hard. Irrespective, seek change- try to go from a ‘I should’ mentality, to a ‘I must’ burning need, almost as if your survival depends on it.We are all stronger and more resilient that we know.

7. Family is key — invest time and emotions. Even when sometimes annoying, most parents are more understanding and accommodating than we expect.

8. Heartbreaks are a fact of life -and they can cause serious physical harm. Continue to love as you always have. Because really, what else makes life more magnificent and brightly colored?

9. Close, meaningful friendships can save your life, literally. Show up for your friends, be reliable, be present. Continue to nurture these relationships.

10. Most people lie on the spectrum of Wonderful to OK.Start with a blank slate.Strangers are often kinder than we know.

11. Life can get lonely even for the loudest, sparkliest of us — It is OK to admit it

12. Sometimes, we just have to surrender to what the moment brings. It is impossible to control everything that happens in our lives but entirely doable to control our reactions to it.

13. Physical exertion is a great (even if temporary) antidote to negative emotions. Sweat more.

14. Smiles are the simplest universal language. Smile. Tonnes. Everyday. Even when you are crying inside.

15. Compliments are the cheapest best gifts — give them often. Better still, put some glitter on, give a hug, and a tonne of compliments.

16. Disproportionate love is unsustainable.Love means different things to different people. Don’t try to change yourself, or them, in order to somehow make those definitions match.

17. Some people and certain situations just do not get better with time, stop expending your energy on them. Let that shit go.

18. It is OK to deem yourself worth of care and affection i.e. learn to receive, instead of just giving.

19. Being able to Gift someone a brilliant, joyous moment is the best sort of feeling. Seek that feeling. All the time.

20. Face your fears — the ‘What- If’ worst case is usually not that bad.

21. It will eventually get better if not perfect, and even if its not what you imagined.

22. Be patient with your plans or the lack of progress with your plans. Who set the rules or created the definition of productivity anyways?

23. The only expectations that weigh us down are the ones we have of ourselves. The world goes on as it always has.

24. Be vulnerable, but only around safe & authentic people.

25. When I look back (I don’t do it often) at the years gone past, the only way something/someone stands out, or is memorable, is because of how I felt, and not what I bought/owned etc. Focus on pursuits and people that make you feel (mostly) good and awesome.

26. Dating emotionally unavailable, self-involved, spiritually-unhinged people is not an option, and certainly not an adventure anyone needs to be on.

27. If you traverse life with an open heart, you will take on the joys and sorrows of those around you. Accept it.

28. Take care of your body and your health — when the going gets tougher, they will help take care of your mind.

29. Be honest but that does not give you an open license to be hurtful.

30. Today is the youngest you will ever be for the rest of your life — live it the best you can. Yes, some days are just plain shit. Its Okay to take it easy on those days.

31. Money isn’t the silver bullet for happiness but having some savings can extend the possibility of possibilities in your life and allow you to be present and available for things that matter (and the unthinkable tragedies).

32. For me to be writing this, and for you to be reading this, we are already in the very very fortunate % of the world. Express Gratitude, often.