This post is a collection of things I came across in the past two decades. Part of things I learned personally, things I observed and learned from others, and things I discovered between printed pages, put into practice, and found to be true.
Who do I think I am to impart lessons on life? Just someone who has lived enough to contribute her bit.
#1 About birthday cakes
I wasn’t gonna celebrate my birthday. I told one of my colleagues that if one should, then they should celebrate the hustle all year round. Birthday is not an achievement. And she countered,
“Birthday marks a year of hustle by saying that you survived. Maybe, you were too busy to notice your victories all year, maybe you were jumping from one hoop to another, maybe the victories were too timid to be celebrated. So, give yourself a treat now. Pat your back. Celebrate!”
A lesson, a perspective I didn’t see coming.
#2 About strings
We’ve all heard the story where a professor makes his student hold a glass of water for a long time and then asks if his arm has started aching. The student replies affirmatively. Then, the professor asks if the amount of water in that glass changed. The student replies negatively. The moral of the story was that holding a thought for a long time will only exhaust you; it wouldn’t give you a solution.
To this, one of my friends shared his ‘theory of threads’ – everything you want is linked to you with a thread. If you can’t solve a problem, just hold the thread while you work on those issues that can be solved. With time, you’ll find some threads have withered away, some have untangled themselves, and only a few remain that need your attention.
Theory of threads – a lesson of patience.
#3 About individuality and conformity
“Some lose all mind and become soul – insane.
Some lose all soul and become mind – intellectual.
Some lose both and become – accepted.”
~ Charles Bukowski
At times, we conform and agree in an attempt to get accepted by people you believe are ours or feel should be ours. And there are also times, we go against the grain just to prove that we can take a stand.
But why are you different? Is it because you feel it’s the right thing to do? Or is it because you want to be seen as different?
#4 About sincerity and being serious
If you’ve read my bio on Facebook or Twitter, you’d see that I describe myself as a serious person, which I am; sincere about my work who takes no shit from anyone. I read these words – don’t take life so seriously. You won’t survive it anyway. – and always disagreed,
“If not life, what else should I take seriously? Who would take my life seriously if not me?”
I was wrong. Well, partially. I was confusing sincerity with seriousness. I am a sincere creative person, but I don’t have to be too serious and heavy about it.
#5 About introversion
I took Myers-Briggs personality tests multiple times because I couldn’t believe that the results showed me as an introvert. I was outspoken, active in public events, expressive, opinionated and never scared to lend voice to those thoughts.
For almost three years, I struggled, kept on thinking why the test would say that. One day an epiphany hit me – Overthinking in your own bubble, detesting public places and appearances, being in open but never enjoying the spotlight, avoiding relatives, feeling tongue-tied at the thought of making small talk, preferring to stay indoors on weekends, citing lame excuses, etc. were all signs of introversion that I never paid attention to.
It took me another year to accept that someone outspoken and opinionated could also be an introvert. So, what happened after I finally accepted this side of my personality?
I embraced it publicly and it gifted me more creativity and freedom. No more excuses. When I accepted myself, people understood.
#6 About travel companions
“Traveling is a great companion. However, a companion may not make for a great travel.”
~ Mansi Laus Deo 😛
What I said above is true. I understood that last year when I challenged myself for visiting 12 unseen places in a year. This year, it’s a new restaurant every second week and probably next year, 30 days in a foreign country with Airbnb.
Such travel challenges are great eye, mind, and wallet-openers. Try them! Take yourself with you!
#7 About being a YES person
People say that I say ‘no’ more than I say yes, and that’s true. I wouldn’t commit to something I know can’t be done. But there complain is legible. So, I secretly give myself two weeks of YES every year – yes to everything that comes my way during that time.
Trust me, it has opened me to so many amazing things that I insist everyone to try it. Just don’t tell anyone that your YES week is going on, or you know…
#8 About possibilities
“It doesn’t do well to dwell on the past.”
We often fall into the trap of what-could-have-been and forget what-has-been and what-is-now.
Present is such a funny thing – as soon as you notice it, it vanishes in thin air. So circumstantial.
I too get into this rut of the could-have-beens. However, now I have made a note for myself – Remember and cherish what was there. Leave possibilities aside.
#9 About abundance and deficits
There’s no such thing as you’ll know joy only when you have been sad. Don’t believe in anything that undervalues your feelings or relates the existence of one with the deficit of another.
I don’t agree with Gandhiji’s talisman that if you feel unsatisfied, look at those beneath you, or if you want to achieve something, look at those above you. Why base your satisfaction on what others have or lack?
I get that he is asking us to be content with what we have. But, why this comparison? No one can steal your destiny. It’s not about deserving. It’s about accepting. Everything happens at its pace. You’ll get whatever you’re meant to, whenever you were meant to. So, wait.
If other people’s time has come, then be assured; your time will come too. Remember the theory of threads.
#10 About independence and choice
It takes great strength to grab life by its horns and live on your terms, to be independent. Sometimes, this independence leaves us indifferent to what others may want to do for us to express their care.
It takes far more courage for an independent person to let someone handle bits of their life for them. Do it.
You might get your heart broken a few times. You might find your belief shattered, but you’ll live. You’ll be cautious, your circle of trust would grow smaller, and you’ll become wiser. But remember, being open to unlearning certain chapters of your life is part of that wisdom.
#11 About spotlight
When life takes away your spotlight, rewind to what you did to get there and start doing it all over again. Until you’re ready to own the stage, congratulate others for their position and work to find yours. Out of rivalry, we don’t help our fellow travellers. Never forget, we’re all in this together.
#12 About tombstones and flat tires
It happens that you lose direction of your life and wallow that it’s over. It isn’t. At such times, think of what you would want your tombstone to say about you – “a wonderful daughter” – “a great writer” – “a philanthropist” – “a formidable politician” – whatever it maybe, work towards that.
Sometimes, life gets tired, like a flat tire and it needs to be pushed till the mechanic arrives. Keep pushing. Your tombstone will guide your life like a compass.
#13 About figuring life out
I might have started to sound like someone who has got it all figured out. But I haven’t. How can you figure out something that changes itself as soon as you believe that you’ve figured it out?
Others might look at you, your conversations, your social posts and think that you have got it all figured out. At times, you would think the same about your own life too – “everything is now set and planned!” – and then, a curveball!
Live through it.
#14 About being there
Don’t confuse the people who were always around with those who were always there.
Read that again.
#15 About forgiveness and fairness
“Why should I forgive them? They aren’t even seeking my forgiveness! They don’t realize they did something wrong.”
“Darling, do it for your peace.”
If you want someone to seek your forgiveness, then tell them only when they come seeking it. Until then, forgive them for yourself.
Now, just because you forgive others easily, don’t assume people will reciprocate. Just because you did your best, doesn’t mean you’ll get the best. It’s not like what goes around comes around. Life is not unfair. Life is like that way. It doesn’t owe you anything.
This isn’t one of my best posts in terms of writing and composition. There are numerous notes that I have made for myself, but these are the ones I could share without sharing the backstory. Anyway, I hope they are helpful.