“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

On my birthday this year, I spent some time with myself thinking of things I have learnt recently. Today as I am writing this, I feel I am very different from what I was a couple of years ago. We obviously grow and evolve continuously, but I think there are phases in our lives when we undergo significant changes in the way we perceive life and people around us.

Until two years ago, I was part of the typical young crowd in offices or cafes etc. I’ve started feeling that now I fall in a different category. It’s not great to feel slightly older sometimes but I am learning to embrace it now. As I turned a year older this year and officially entered the club of 30-something women, I thought of a few things I should share with you all.

1. I know it sounds too repetitive; we have read this so many times but we need to believe in this. Age is just a number. We take the numbers too seriously and that really governs what we do and what we think we should do. Sometimes, we should just go with the flow, let things happen at their own pace.

Although turning 30 gave me a sense of independence and maturity, I realized I want to keep the child in me alive. I don’t mean the recklessness but the innocence. This makes it easy to find happiness in the smallest of things.

2. It is important to surround yourself with happy and creative people. That’s very inspirational. I had been trying to write something for a long time but I lacked the inspiration — something that would just make me switch off the television and get on my laptop. I tried a few things but they didn’t help. I then happened to stumble across a post on the web and that was it! I ended my dry spell by writing something up. Creativity is totally contagious!

3. I think we should learn to care less about what people expect of us and devote more time and energy in focusing on what our choices in life are. Friends, family, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues and others will always have some reasonable and some unreasonable expectations from you. You should know how and when to say ‘no’.

Granted, it is difficult for many of us to say ‘no’ but once we learn that, we experience a sense of emancipation. Saying ‘no’ not just to boost the rebel within but to say ‘no’ because that’s what you think is wise.

4. One of the very important things that I’ve realised is that there are many good people around us. Sometimes we judge way too quickly and then we hold that impression all our lives.

There might be times when we hold up something against people. It is possible, and in fact liberating, to forget and forgive. I remember once a friend asked me why I was so sensitive and why I would just not let certain old things go. I replied to him saying that I can’t. Growing up has taught me that I can and if I do, I would be at more peace with myself.

5. Make time for activities that are not just household chores or work-related. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to love spending time with yourself?

6. Relationships matter the most. Your family gives you strength, happiness and hopes. Have special friends and value them. Find time for them even if you have a demanding job, a cute husband you really love and small kids. And sometimes, these should be just your friends in case you want to bitch about your husband or the boredom in your life ;-)

7. Last but not the least, look forward, do not dwell in the past and live a happy and guilt-free life. If there is something you wish you had done but couldn’t do, today is the time to do it.

Growing old isn’t just about wrinkles and grey hair. It’s also about more wisdom and being in sync with yourself.