All the twenty-five-year-old folks out there would agree that our expectations from life are pretty simple and basic. We all have outlived the dreams of becoming an ‘astronaut’ as a grown up, and have agreed to the fact that when life offers lemons, it’s better to squeeze the best lemonade possible out of it.
Most of us are now inclined towards what the society calls ‘settling down’. Further, the brigade collectively has accepted and rejected many relationship theories. In fact, we’ve tried incessantly and passionately to decode the opposite sex’s thought process, likes, and dislikes. And, honestly? Despite our very basic expectations from life, being a 25-year old is a lot more exhausting deal than we realize. Because, this is the phase when it suddenly hits you that life is a cumbersome chain of events, and it shall keep on slamming reality checks from time to time.
As a recently turned 2.5 decades old, I’m still contemplating life, and feel like some rogue sitcom character that is on her journey to ‘find herself‘. But, one thing I can tell you for sure is that the past 24 years have given me some incredible life lessons to clutch onto. Even though most of those years were spent in naivety and ignorance, the lessons I extracted would be useful for life! Bear with me while I enlist them, will you?
1. First and foremost, never disobey the ethics and conduct of ‘Bro’ code.
‘Bro’ doesn’t mean just a boy gang being rowdy. Bros are your closest people; the ones who make your ordinary 9 to 5 life, extraordinary. So, never ditch a bro and never con a bro. ‘Cause they’re the ones who’d always know the pile of crap you are, but still would shower the entire world’s love on you.
2. Discuss things which enlighten you, and not people.
Put the damn phone down. Read something or watch a movie. Then, physically meet your friends and discuss everything you learned. Discussing other people and their million flaws might sound fun for a while, but believe me, nothing ever good generates out of it. The ones you might discuss about are probably extracting more out of their lives by simply doing what they do. So, make better conversations and find souls who are interested in the same. Be with the ones you can talk soberly with, over breakfast. Plenty of fish are out there to blabber with, over drinks.
3. Don’t pay heed to your fear of rejection.
Some stutter; some have stage fear. Some score good grades; some doodle ideas. Some are tall, and some are short. Some look into the mirror and sigh in despair. They let the mirror convince them of their ‘too skinny legs’ and ‘too chubby arms’. In fact, I know a few who believe their ‘ugly’ existence isn’t required at all. Do yourself a favor, and start loving your imperfect self. ‘Cause no one else would. All the things you hate about yourself, which eventually stops you from doing things, are manufactured negativity in your head. Sort that out!
4. Sticking to a single definition of friendship could be stupid.
Airtel rightfully sang ‘har ek dost zaroori hota hai’, because a single human being, even if he or she is your best friend in the whole wide world, cannot absorb all the content you have to offer and reciprocate as per your need. Some are great coffee friends, movie friends, and vacation friends. And some are great study companions, shopping partners, and 3 AM chat mates. Why burden just one relationship in the hope that it will make life easier? Spread the job, and see the difference.
5. Make your own choices, and let others do the same.
I am a 25-year old Delhiite with zero relationships in my account. I wear glasses and not contact lenses. I love a nice printed cotton kurta over whatever the fashion trends are currently hyping. And yes, I am a stereotypical ‘behenji’ to anyone whose idea of liberation has boundaries. Are you someone who unabashedly lives the way as desired or just another cliché who disapproves people for who they are?
6. Research and hear both sides of the debate before joining a cult.
This is the 21st century. But falling under the prey of what’s popular is as easy as spreading cheese on a toast. So, whether it’s about an iPhone or political ideologies, know about their foundation. Whatever you do, never blindly follow without challenging your cognizance.
7. Be open to the idea of proven wrong.
Anybody, absolutely anybody can prove you wrong or discover a loophole in your methods, regardless of their age and experience. Do you have the heart to accept that without feeling small for a second? I’d suggest, absorb whatever you can from anyone who’s willing to offer you some wisdom.
8. Have a sense of humor.
And half of your troubles will die laughing. As the experts say, tragedy plus timing equals comedy. Not only will you let go of your inner apprehensions, but you’ll learn to take less offense from people and situations around you.
9. Cry more, and regret less.
Learn to express and communicate, if not to other human beings, then at least to yourself. Cry out and let the tears wash away all the pain of yesterday. But, make sure not even a single regret retains.
10. Say what you feel. Then, it’ll have less impact on your mind.
Be clear with your words, and say it. There’s no point in keeping them in your head. Because eventually, all those thoughts would form a haywire igniting the angry hormones every now and then. Did someone hurt you? Go and confront. Did somebody belittle you? Stand up to him. Love someone? Confess it.
11. Not all battles are yours.
It’s okay to choose yourself over your best friend’s wars. You can’t fight the battles which do not interest you. And you must not get involved in every drama encircling you. Learn to shut people out and their stories.
12. People will disappoint you.
You won’t be loved in return of the sacrifices or affection. You might not be helped in the same way you perhaps took care of a friend. People would easily forget what you did for them during dire times. And just a heads up, if you try and remind them of your contribution in their lives, you might face some backlash. So, my experience tells me that nobody will make you as happy as you can make yourself. Period.
13. Make space and give space.
Okay, so the lovers here might hold some opinion on the ‘space’ issue. But on a serious note, time and space are the only two valuable gifts. Make time to pamper yourself, and protect your space. The fast-paced life, pushing our limits every day, needs a break. At the same time, develop a habit of giving space to your loved ones as well. They’re not always looking for your support. Sometimes they want you to know that they need to slumber in their cocoon.
14. People help and support as per their convenience.
Your friends and family love you. But, relationships do not come with a guarantee card. So, just in case they fail to please you or be by your side when in need, don’t sadden your heart. People, even the closest one you thought you could count on, will not always make you their priority.
15. Accept differences, no one’s the same.
We live in a country comprising 1.3 billion people belonging to hundreds of cultures, speaking unheard languages. Obviously, there are differences. Embrace the difference, if all souls were just like you, believe me, it’d be a hell of a boring ride.
16. Choose freedom over the love that constrains you. It’s not worth it.
If your partner makes you alter your real self, leaving you suffocated in your own skin, it’s not worth it. They might want to change a lot of things about you, you know “For your own good”. But, don’t let anyone ever lessen your worth.
17. When in doubt, list out pros and cons.
Troubles regarding finance, relationships, vacation destinations, and career choices? Get a yellow legal pad just like Ted Mosby and begin the list of pros and cons. This way, you’d know the calculative risks you would be willing to take and reject the bad ideas. For me, this one, in particular, is adulthood 101.
18. Own your shit.
The blame game is one trick you need to get rid off for sure. You made a choice, own it. Your failures and your success express, both belong to you and no one else. You don’t have to give credit, but you don’t have the right to unload your frustration on others as well.
19. Don’t let the demons inside you take over the goodness.
Scooby Doo has taught us that real demons are inside people and they don’t reside under the bed. Your dark side and the bright side will always battle against each other. A part of you would wish to destroy and the rest of your mind will hope for the senses to revive. The actions you’ll perform will decide the end result.
20. Be nice to people, for no reason at all.
Lend that cup of sugar already or just hold the door if someone’s behind you. Positive attitude and general kindness towards people sound like unimportant factors. But ask the ones who sleep well at night. They’ll tell you how blissful it is to just simply care a little without a motive. Why? Because you can.
21. Seek knowledge and not propaganda.
These are the desperate times we live in. Political leaders, fake newsmakers, religious godmen, and other elements are scattered here and there to incite young minds. Be careful of what you read and believe in. Only seek information, and decide, then conclude your belief system.
22. If there’s a way to make amends, go for it.
Have you wronged anyone? Did it hurt them? Did you humiliate someone? Did you strand them when you were needed? Make amends. ‘Sorry’ is still a magical word. Whoever says it doesn’t mean anything is probably someone needing an apology.
23. Stick to your roots, and be proud of it.
No matter from where you come from, talk about it proudly. Your foundation lies there. Whatever you have become, initially started from the roots, which with time, perhaps you now value them less. You have a long way to go and as Tyrion Lannister says,
“Never forget who you are, the world will not. Wear it like an armor,
and it can never be used to hurt you”.
So, which lessons do you relate to?