I am finally starting my 25th year on this planet. Living through anxiety and fighting mental issues while enjoying art, work, studies and some valuable relationships, my life has been one hell of a ride. But through these twenty-four years, I have learned a few things. So, today, on my birthday, I am going to share my top 24 lessons:
1. Punctuality is vital
Time is money and I learnt its worth when my own friends and certain professionals made me wait. Reaching early or on time for meetings display your seriousness and respect, which goes a long way in your career and personal relationships.
2. Always carry an umbrella
My mother made me acquire a habit of carrying an umbrella. So, I carry it 365 days and there have been moments of unpredictable rain or hailstorm where others had to stay back while I was able to carry on my path due to my umbrella. I do not enjoy the feeling of helplessness and surprisingly, an umbrella has helped me learn about self-reliance.
3. Not everyone loves parties and that’s ok
During my teen years, I was always curious about parties. I wanted to attend a lot of them to feel the ‘vibe’. But as I did attend them throughout the years, I realized that I prefer being a homebody over a social animal. Also, I have no obligation to justify my preference to anyone.
4. Parents are not always right
Listening to “Older” by Sasha Sloan, I understood that for everyone, this life is the first time they are being lovers, change-makers, parents, friends, loners, and just human beings. Our parents don’t follow a manual but sometimes, they can try turn emotional proclamations into fact and there is nothing wrong in countering it.
5. Stay in touch with your favourite teacher. They will love it!
Read “Tuesdays With Morrie”. Even if you don’t, make sure to be present for people who helped you turn into the person you are today, in a good way. We often forget our teachers but taking on the responsibility of a kid who has the potential of changing the world as an adult, being a teacher is not an easy job. So, be considerate.
6. Keep individuality before perception
Recently, I have come across a lot of instances where people have chosen to resort to stereotypes instead of dealing with situations objectively and this has only made me sad. To help ourselves and others lead a peaceful life, we have to unlearn a lot of things and do our own research before we say things that might hurt others, or even dehumanize them. So, think and research twice before speaking.
7. Unlearning is a painful experience. But the output is worth it!
Unlearning what we have been taught by our parents, books, and even friends is not easy. Each statement has multiple sides to it and navigating through tons of information might lead to confusion but we still need to work to debunk myths and speak up for the right things.
8. Learn finances, personal and professional
Following the year I started my job, I made a point to save enough and invest in two policies (FD and Life Insurance). After seeing my colleagues and friends struggling to save because of moving out of home, I leveraged staying at home to make investments. For 2017-2019, I was able to fund my masters and complete it on time. Now, I am using free resources like Khan Academy, YouTube videos, and Coursera to learn about daily finances.
9. Find what you love. You do not need to make a career out of it
Draw, write, sing, create, read or do something else but find an activity that makes you happy and helps you concentrate. In the time of stress, you will find yourself coming back to it for solace.
10. Choose workspace environment before salary package
Good salary package does not compensate for the damage caused by the toxic workplace. The latter can harm one, both physically and mentally. So, make sure to choose a good team first.
11. Harry Styles will always be my crush no matter how old I get ?
I will never get over Harry Styles. This man has taught me a lot about kindness and with every passing year, he reminds me as to how beautiful life is. He had his birthday on 1st so, may God bless him!
12. Forgiveness is not always the solution
We have been taught to be the big person and forgive the ones who do us wrong. But there are times when you need to resort to the theory of ‘tit for tat’ and give peoples taste of their own doing.
13. Age is not a measurement of wisdom
The earlier you realize something, the more chances you will have to live a regret-free life. I have seen some of the most senior people acting naively and young people taking ownership and bringing the change, responsibly. Don’t give someone an upper hand just because they are old.
14. Compassion comes for free and must be distributed to all
Being cold has somehow become a trend. While people can have their own reasons to be the way they are and we must respect their choice but if given a chance to spread love, please take it. Our world needs compassion.
15. We all need Hwasa in our lives
“Hwasa Show” made me prouder of the singer. If you don’t know Hwasa, she is a vocalist and songwriter from Mamamoo. The level of confidence that she embodies even after facing naysayers every day, Hwasa has emerged as an inspirational figure in my life.
16. It’s ok to see bad in others. We are humans, not saints
I have always found it a bit discouraging when people ward off pessimism. Over-optimism removes practicality from the conversation and to really find a solution, we need to see both the positives and the negatives.
17. Hero worship is unnecessary
When Alec Benjamin released “Death of a Hero”, the only question that came to my mind was why we bestow so much importance to people that they stop being human beings to us and transition to god-like figures. Be it as a fan or as a person looking up to someone, we need to accommodate the fact that our idols can be wrong. They can fall and it’s ok to acknowledge your once-known-respect for them and the present downfall.
18. You will hurt people. Apologize when done intentionally
We cannot please everyone and in our bid to put forth our own point of view, we might end up hurting people. So, in case, you are aware of your actions, make a point to apologize. Timely resolutions sustain relationships.
19. Learning is a life-long journey
Learning is an ongoing process. Last year, I was interested to study Literature and this year, I want to delve deeper into politics. So, I am gathering my material for the research. In other words, there is no time stamp as to when should you learn something and what exactly should you learn.
20. You will be talked about
A bitter pill to swallow but yes, you will be talked about a lot, sometimes positively and at other times, negatively. While it’s impossible to deal with everyone, always make a point of taking a stand for yourself.
21. Mental Health must be taken as seriously as physical health
Since 2016, I have continuously hoped for people around me to understand that mental health issues exist and it’s ok to be the affected. But unfortunately, even today, not only am I reluctant to discuss it in front of the closed ones but I am also worried about the cost, should I pursue the treatment independently. Therapy is expensive which doesn’t really help people. We need institutional changes wherein education around mental health becomes as important as physical health.
22. Fangirls are as cool as soccer fans. You are just afraid of their vivacity
The tag of “fangirl” has somehow become a symbol of mockery. After following BTS, I have come across some of the smartest women and I find it absolutely bizarre that people would want to make an issue out of their enthusiasm for the artists they like. Fangirls are as enthusiastic and passionate as soccer fans and must not be invalidated for their choice and expression. It’s unfair.
23. Sometimes, you receive support right when you need it. Like, BTS ?
There is a popular saying in the fandom “you will find BTS right when you need them the most”. In my case, this saying turned out to be true. Often times, we treat music as a mere medium of entertainment but this medium holds power to save lives. It saved mine, especially when I heard Suga’s single “So Far Away”. Music and musicians (including artists) can become a medium of solace. I have learned to take an artist and their art into serious consideration before making a judgment about the output.
24. You are a unique story and you must narrate it yourself
We all are special in our own way and each mistake and achievement of ours makes us who we are. So, instead of following others’ path, we must create a path of our own. Take that pen!
I am grateful that I made it this far and wish to spend the coming months, learning and loving.
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