The day I turned 30, my whole life changed. I felt like a brand new man!
I knew that logic was flawed. My dad was never great at logic, especially when he was trying to trick me into doing something.
At the time, the 16-year-old me was being duped into joining the family business. The choice was heavily incentivized, it came with my dream car, a three month trip to Europe with my friends & a guilt-free marriage to my then-boyfriend.
At first blush, the deal wasn’t bad at all. I was given a chance to keep my privileged life, stay in the mould and take the easy way out!
But, it was just not enough.
A little voice inside me kept asking for more. I knew I wasn’t going to marry a guy whose entire personality was his car. Taking over a business I had no interest in, didn’t seem justified either.
All it took was one YouTube video & a few Jane Austen novels to break the mould. I pulled my journal out and in red bold letters, I wrote;
WHERE DO I SEE MYSELF AT 30?
I spent the day penning down what my next few years were going to look like! I had just been introduced to the life-changing concept of intention setting. The business wasn’t going to happen, the car had to go, the trip had to wait & the boyfriend had to disappear.
A little taste of Freedom
After several raging disappointing arguments, I went on to become a reporter leaving home a very unhappy father & an active warzone. What ended up becoming the most satisfying job of my lifetime also happened to pay me 20% less than minimum wage.
The struggle began and things got really hard. The next few years became the building blocks for my future — it led to independence, love, hard work and also a series of bad decisions or lessons as we call them now.
I learnt to prioritize my passion over my needs; woke up every morning with hope & worked-my-ass-off until I passed out.
The days I felt like giving up, I went back to my journal & revived the 15-year old ambitious self.
My Instagram feed flooded with perfect 30-something women bragging about their 5 AM morning routine, their what-I-eat-in-a-day videos and their perfect vegan bodies; while I was still running late for work after a 14-hour shift, apologizing profusely for ‘accidentally’ sending my boss a kissy face emoji & eating an everything bagel for dinner.
Once I achieved all my goals at 30, I was going to reach an epitome of perfection just like these women.
A day before my 30th birthday, I took a hard look around my life and realized that kind of perfection may never come.
As I blew the candles on my 30th birthday cake, the small-town girl in me closed her eyes and waited for my brand new life to magically appear. I kept my eyes shut for a little longer, just in case. Let's just say, the only magic that happened that night was me finishing half of that cake by myself.
Father had tricked me, again!
I was deferring my happiness to a future date because it felt safe that way. For years, I had associated my happiness with perfection & goals.
That’s when it hit me.
We never really grow up. And, that’s okay.
This is the part no one tells you. We were the happiest at 15 because happiness didn’t require so much effort.
Your 15-year old self still lives inside you pushing you to challenge the mould & break free.
The world is obsessed with the image of a perfect woman
It's not your fault. As a society, we are obsessed with idolizing perfect women. She always has it figured out, with the perfect hair, perfect roast chicken & the perfect life.
While that is a great aspiration, I think we often forget to cherish the imperfection in ourselves. In a chase for perfection, we ignore our deepest desires & our inner voices, that makes us unique.
The Work-In-Progress mode
Our 15-year-old inner voice keeps us alive. It keeps the fire inside us burning & pushes us to challenge the monotonous life. In the pursuit of achieving perfection, we’re killing the one thing that keeps us alive!
Your life may never look like your favourite Instagram star but if you have to pose fun, is it really fun?
Drop the pressure. Enjoy that extra slice of cake, dance like no one’s watching, & settle for nothing less of a charming Mr. Darcy!
You deserve every bit of it.