Part 1: 30 Realisations On Turning 30.
The big 3 is round the corner, and I never imagined it would be such a big deal. But honestly, it is. Not because I am joining the gang of people forever reminiscing their college days (that too!) but also because it is the time to start leading a planned life. Your 20s are for the impromptu, impulsive living — for burning your hands, experimenting and screwing up. Your 30s however are the founding stones for perhaps the next 30–40 years.
Disclaimer: This article is for middle-class millennials like me. Not for people who don’t need to save money for international travels, not for Mallaya or Mittal kids who can afford Louboutins, Armanis and still fly to Barbados in chartered jets. This article is for people like me who live from month-to-month cause we love drinking and eating too much to save any money, still dream of traveling the world on Airbnb, meeting hippies and drinking local wines, and are troubled by questions of biological parenthood, career balancing, love too many pups and can’t afford to keep one because of our 9–9 jobs. We eat more desserts than the number of times we visit the gym, yet somehow manage to go through life pretty happily. Cause we have big dreams and small joys.
1) Don’t postpone
During my early 20s, I was so engrossed in running from one milestone to another, that I almost forgot I was missing out on my best decade. I don’t regret working 14–16 hours a day, but I could have managed my time better, and not put off everything for later. I thought let me get through this, then I will travel, will go dancing, start my own blog, get married and so much more. Today after 3 years, I’m back to a normal job, earn sufficiently, but no more have the energy to dance the night away. There’s a right time for everything. Seize that time. Life will never get easier and more money will never give you the years back. So balance hard work with fun. Travel while you are young, try falling in love, get married and have kids. Your biological clock won’t wait, and your career won’t form a family when you’re 60. Have a pet, it will teach you to love unconditionally. Enroll in that fancy course you always wanted to — baking, jewellery making, yoga, kickboxing, mountaineering, Italian cooking, whatever makes you happy. Do it today, do it now. Seriously, tomorrow is not going to be any easier.
2) Ditch that expensive pair of shoes, perfume or watch and save every penny to travel
We attach ourselves to things we don’t want and don’t need. But the fact is, possessions never make us happy. Just like meeting deadlines don’t. We think we love the chase but honestly it’s just social conditioning. I spend hours on shopping sites, surfing through stuff that’s apparently on sale, and most of the time buying stuff I really don’t need.
3) Spend on building memories
We are nothing but soft clay, shaped and moulded by our memories. Build memories, and not assets. When we die, the concrete will remain here. What goes with us are our fleeting moments of unforgettable experiences that we capture in our hearts. My parents keep insisting on investing into real estate, buying a car, saving some gold. I understand where they are coming from, but I don’t necessarily want to be rich like them when I am 50. As long as I have some money to mend my growing old illnesses, some money for emergencies, rest all can be managed. My kids will have to fend for themselves once they graduate. I won’t and don’t want to leave them a fortune. And in all fairness, I am clear about not inheriting any wealth my parents want to leave me with.
4) Put your foot down when required
Don’t worry about being right always. Put your foot down when it gets too much. You may not be have the right reason to justify it always. But if your heart says it's enough, it probably is.
5) Let go of relationships that don’t help you grow
Relationships should serve a purpose. They either entertain you, support you, help you grow or form your pillar. If they don’t serve either purpose, they are probably not relationships, they are formalities.
6) Hold on to friends who go that extra mile
Millennials like me don’t have siblings, cousins or a wide joint Sooraj Barjatiya family. Friends are all we have. Stick to those who go that extra mile. They are a rare species.
7) Do one thing without wanting any returns
Something that makes you happy without wanting any returns. When we want returns, our creativity somewhat gets constricted. Pick one activity for sheer happiness. I love cooking. I will never monetise it, never write a blog on it, never share recipes with anyone. I just do it for myself. It makes me happy to cook for people I love, and master their favorite dishes.
8) Get a full body health check up
Our dads waited till their 40s to realise they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. You don’t have to. A proactive Health check up is perhaps the best investment as you get closer to 30. With the amount of junk that goes into us along with the smog and hours of sedentary work, we won’t have to wait till 40s to get a heart attack, high cholesterol, diabetes or hormonal disorders.
9) Find a workout you can do at least 3 times a week
By the time you turn 30, the big question of fitness and work balance must have crossed your mind multiple times. I have gone through phases of extreme fitness and being overweight, struggled to find what workouts that are sustainable along with a full-time job. If you haven’t found your go-to workouts, it’s high time you do. I guess most of us fail at fitness because we set unattainable targets and start working out only reactively to diseases or weight gain. Fitness should be a part of your life, something that is a regular activity. Don’t worry about aggressive bikini body workouts. Try and find an activity that you can do at least 3 times a week. You don’t have to push yourself to workout 6 times a week, and then drain out next week. Go running for 30 mins, pick a pilates class, yoga, swimming or gym session. Give yourself a break every alternate day and then start pushing for more days. I usually try and workout twice during weekdays and 2 days on the weekend. 2 days out of 5 working days isn't much. So typically I still can afford get 4 days of workout at least.
10) Save alcohol for special evenings
I started drinking at 19, an age considered quite early by Indian standards.Though I don’t regret any of the madness it brought along these years, I do feel the time has come to listen to my body.
11) Learn to ignore
Ignorance is bliss. No, seriously! It’s absolutely crucial to know which battles to fight and which to ignore. The earlier you accept the state of dumbness of a majority of human population, the better you will be at accepting and ignoring them with a smile. Zen state I call it!
12) Find a job you like, if not like the job you find
For the longest time, I believed in the recent Gen Z philosophy of work-life integration, making work an extension of your life, etc. And for the longest time, I tried in vain to fit in. Well, I still believe in work-life balance. There’s a reason why they call it professional life vs personal life. You can’t be the same person at both and it’s unfair to set those expectations. Your job is means to support your life and fuel your dreams with money. Respect it with the reverence it needs, but it doesn’t need to be everything you live for.
13) Don't worry about changing the world
Everyone I see around is bitten by this bug to change the world. For me, I think we are living in one of the most peaceful times. Well, until global warming roasts us alive before ISIS does. Somehow in this rush to change everything, I guess we are missing out on living. And also forgetting that, not much will change. Unless you are capable of inventing electricity or Internet. If you are going to build another company to sell clothes online or deliver food to home using an app, well, that my friend, isn’t changing much. You’ll probably blur into oblivion just like.Change one habit that you think can make you happier. It’s all that matters. I
14) Realise that relationship are built on care, bloodlines aren't enough
We stick to families, siblings and relatives because they are related to us biologically. Sometimes it makes no sense. They just turn into draggy relationships. Don’t expect care because you are related by blood.
15) Don’t worry about feeling antisocial
I am normally a social person. Not one of those outwardly extrovert, but I love hanging out with people more than I prefer rolling up on the couch alone. But with passing years, I prefer to hangout with people who I really, really enjoy with. It makes me question why don’t I enjoy dinners with huge teams and don’t excel at constant niceties anymore. I guess I have become less tolerant towards bullshit and don’t define my life by acceptance from people who don’t matter.