28 things I believe in at 28 years

Some serious, some frivolous.

1. Age really is just a number.

What matters is how self-reliant you really are. Being an only child born to much older parents, they always instilled in me that I had no siblings and not even them to fall back on. This thinking made me so self-reliant that today it is not difficult for me to figure things out on my own. I have recently started taking care of my own investments and I’ve actually been able to make more prudent decisions than my parents would. Every year, I feel like I’m getting better at taking on more responsibility. Only in taking on responsibility for yourself can one build on one’s ability to lead. I always think of it as grooming to take on leadership roles in other spheres of life.

2. Growing old isn’t the worst thing that’ll happen to you

It’s acting old that will. Letting barriers like I’m too old for X thing will stop you from learning. As a lifelong sponge, I believe no one’s too old to do anything or take up any challenge. Surprises and impediments will happen along the way. All you’ve got to do is try.

3. One’s metabolism will slow down

If I could reclaim one part of my old life, it would be my metabolism as a 20 year old. The amount I eat is still the same compared to how slowly my body metabolizes.

4. Never compromise on your own happiness

One’s own happiness is the most significant thing in one’s life. Never let someone else tell you what’s good for you. Always trust your gut.

5. Surround yourself by people who make you want to do better

Being a work-in-progress is always better than being a “great” version of yourself.

6. Being single > being unhappy

Always! The last year was proof of that. It has never been more liberating to break out of an emotionally draining and manipulative cycle. The one person that matters most to me is myself, and nothing will ever come in the way of that. It might appear selfish but it is the truth and the truth will ALWAYS set you free.

7. Happiness doesn’t come with terms & conditions applied

If you feel your happiness is contingent on the outcome of something happening, you’re probably looking at it the wrong way. Find your happiness within rather than hedge it on external outcomes. You’ll find yourself happier and wiser. No attempts at sounding sagaceous there!

8. Have friends who will teach you to laugh at yourself (and also mostly at other people)

I feel blessed to be in good company on most days.

9. Learn to cook

It is a life skill I have come to appreciate. Regardless of gender, one must know the basics. Never having been introduced to pots and pans is no excuse.

10. Women for women everywhere

As much as I believe that women can be really mean to other women, I’ve found more willing to come out in support of each other. I recently wrote something about heartbreak and was amazed to find the number of women, none of whom I was exceptionally close to, save for a couple, reaching out, telling me how they can relate. It was so heartening to know what I went through was an experience so many of them have faced.

11. Learn something new regularly

It’s the only way to keep your brain functioning and prevent lethargy

12. Do things you are scared of doing

I am terribly scared of exercise because I don’t believe I can ever be strong and lean and fit without being broken out of shape. And yet, starting July, I’m going to be taking it up regularly. Chasing your fears will give you the courage to take on your other fears head on. It will help you get more out of life.

13. Less is more

My mantra for a lifetime — in terms of people and things occupying your space. I get to spend quality time with a few people, something I’d rather do, than the many that don’t mean anything to me.

14. Life doesn’t owe you shit

Life doesn’t owe you a single thing. You have to hustle and strive to create the success you so badly want to see yourself achieve.

15. Success isn’t one big milestone

It’s a series of small milestones leading up to a big one. And then repeat. Success isn’t one destination; it’s a journey of several milestones that leads up to one big Aha moment. I hope to wildly successful one day, but until then, I’ll be going at it consistently. Life should feel compelled to rearrange its position and make way for you as you march to glory. Keep going at it daily, consciously and subconsciously. Victory shall be yours

16. Make room for new people

I’ve started doing this more regularly and the results have been good. A few of my friends have noted this too. If nothing else, it allows for enrichment via an exchange of experiences.

17. Leave no room for someone else’s judgement

Your life is yours to live. One hundred percent yours. Unless someone else is paying your bills, they have no right to an opinion on your life. Cut people off, shut people up and show them their place if they overstep boundaries. You don’t owe these folks a dime on your time. Your decisions and failures are for you to learn.

18. Stay hungry

You’ve got to have that fire in your belly keeping you alive every single moment. It’s the one thing that’ll push you forward and keep you going when the chips are down.

19. Never let someone else diminish your sense of self-worth

Remember that no parent/boss/lover/family member/teacher/any other person in authority will ever own you. They have no right to treat you like a second-rate person. It is a form of emotional abuse and you must check yourself and get out of that abusive cycle.

20. Read voraciously

I fail at my own reading goals sadly, but I find reading to be my primary means of learning. Reading expands, not just one’s vocabulary but also one’s ability to comprehend a variety of situations. It is always good to get someone else’s perspective. Keep an open mind and read everything.

21. Love passionately

Never ever shut yourself off to the infinite power of the Universe. The Universe is always sending positive vibes to you and you can’t shut yourself off from love on account of a few negative experiences.

22. Make time for the people who have done good for you

It might be the smallest of things. Your old mentor/ boss, your former teachers, former classmates or colleagues. Make time for these people (if they’ve been assholes to you, by all means, get rid of them) because it will create a huge circle of goodwill for you. Goodwill can’t be gained through networking, it can only be gained through trust and by being there.

23. Banish the assholes

You really do not want them in your space. As important as it is to keep the good people in your life, it’s equally, if not more important to keep negativity at bay. One develops a very strong bullshit filter over time but it’s important not just to shut out but to keep those who threaten to hamper your sense of calm, whose constant whining and unhappiness at how unfair life is to them, out of your space. I have actually felt physically and mentally exhausted in the company of negative people.

24. Do more things alone

‘You’ are the best company you will ever have. Over the years, I’ve found joy in doing things alone — watching a movie, going to a seaside promenade, wandering around, sitting at a cafe by myself. It is wonderful and liberating in many ways.

25. Seize opportunities

Never let a good opportunity go to waste. Things always fall in place at the right place, at the right time. But don’t let go of an opportunity that could open a window for fear of failing. You’ll fail but there will always be something to learn.

26. Hot chocolate > alcohol

My beverage of choice in every season, hot summers included. It is comforting on most days and I prefer it to most other beverages including my all-season favourite, rum.

27. It’s okay to be misunderstood

I can say that of most of my family. They don’t understand or relate to me but over the years, I’ve understood that it’s okay to be different. If someone else strikes you as odd, be careful not to tread over their toes.

28. Be grateful

Always, always be grateful and always count your blessings! You are much better off than most of the world. Be grateful for who you are and the life you live — every single day!

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