Today I turn a quarter of a century old. Am I excited, jubilant, ecstatic or am I simply indifferent?
Its a mixed feeling to be honest. I am excited yet I am not. Though, there is a peculiar feeling which I could not find the right words to describe it. The spark of being a child, a toddling baby that had not a single worry about life, now a fully matured adult. I may reminisce the joy of my youth from time to time; yet not so much, since being a child meant being dependent on elders.
To me, being 25 today means I am more wiser than before, goal-driven, empathetic to people, more sensitive to my surroundings, mindful of my actions, appreciative of nature’s beauty, responsible of where and how I spend money and finally pragmatic when making decisions.
The points below are an aggregation of what I have learned as I tread onwards into adulthood. This may or may not resonate with you but one could take these totally on observational value.
- You cannot push anything to happen. If there is something you expect to happen, it will happen at its own pace. However, it goes without saying that taking initiative is key to start something whether it is a business, a relationship, a healthy discussion or a revolution.
- Life is short, even shorter are your relationships with people. The only eternal relationship is the one with your parents. Others may digress but this is what I believe during this stage of my life, an opinion which can ofcourse change with time.
- Using social media is becoming more of a distraction than a useful tool. Coming from a tech person this may be strange but cutting down on social media usage will help you become more productive. I would frequently shift between different apps to check how my friends are doing or how they are spending their lives, instead of investing that time on myself, to become better in my art. It is sort of ingrained in our very Pakistani-oriented minds, the habit of taking interest in other people’s lives. Consequently, I am trying to pursue this mantra of “The less I know the better” due to which I am often finding myself in a more peaceful state than ever before.
- Your mental health is tantamount to your well being. Having thoughts, feelings and concerns dwelling inside you will eat you up. I have tried to battle OCD, anxiety and stress; which I have to confess are equivalent of otherworldly demons that get respawned infinite times in a game, the have made life a literal hell. On a positive note, what has really helped me significantly is to be more precise and straightforward in sharing my opinion or feelings with a person, within a group of people or on a public forum such as Facebook. Assumptions and doubts (ingrained in us thanks to that evil saas or bahu in Indian dramas) are bad habits that need to go.
- Negativity is the root of all evil. People who bring you down, or belittle you at any given opportunity are bad for you. However, friends who bash you on your bad habits/aspects, giving you constructive criticism are the ones who mold your character. They practically guide you on the do’s and dont’s of life. Not that all of their advice have to be followed as each individual is flawed in their own manner. Still, I have been lucky enough to have one such friend who has always been the guiding light in several departments.
- When conversing with friends and professionals, we usually ask them about their future plans. Don’t be that person! No individual knows where their fate lies, who they are going to be with, what career path they aim to reach at in the next 5 years. By changing the narrative by talking about the present moment will make for a far more engaging conversation.
- You start to realize the frailty of your parents. Start caring for them more, call them if you are living abroad; maybe once or twice a week. After all, they are the ones who taught you how to love in the first place.
- The most important asset you have is neither time nor money but attention. You may have all the free time in the world and all the money to spend; yes, they are important to maintain a standard of living, but if you’re not experiencing life (interaction with mother nature, human beings, animals…) if you’re not giving attention to those in your surrounding then are you really living? The rhetoric is meant to emphasize on the importance of the bond you have with people. Appreciating the little things has always helped me in staying ‘human’, otherwise I would be totally lost in the void of work and study — which becomes an God awful routine.
- To impart free knowledge to a person is something I have always been a believer of. Having spent hundreds and thousands of currency in education is well and good to land you a job, a meaningful project or assist you in research but should knowledge be something that you keep to yourself? Everyone has a skill or two that they could teach it to someone who can make a living out of it. I know people in my country lack the digital skills which are considered a bare minimum to do a clerical job. Once resources allow me, I wish to someday open a center that offers free schooling to adults on basic digital tool to help them enter the task force.
- Lastly, every human being is going through a stage of evolution. We learn from our mistakes, we make better decisions after a series of wrong ones and we become a better version of ourselves slowly. The key is never to believe that you know everything and to be always open over listen to differing views. We may read a book about a certain topic or hear a talk on a religious topic, we blindly accept this is as the only point-of-view that matters. This stubbornness extends into their personalities as well, having encountered people of such nature. Debate with them, present to them what the other side of the story is and see if there is a shift in mindset. What this entails is the power of communication to change a person’s belief; maybe for the better, to nourish the minds of future generations that is more tolerant and empathetic to differing religions, ideologies and ethnicities.