Those that know me well will know that there’s nothing I love more than my birthday, and everything that comes with it. The VIP treatment, the birthday love, the bottles of champagne and the unavoidable, next-day introspection. Two weeks ago, I turned 24. I had the time of my life, surrounded by positive, beautiful people. As always, the elation was followed by contemplation, and this is what came out of it: a list of things that I absolutely, definitely know for sure.
01. Committing yourself to healthy living, even in the smallest of ways, is the best gift that you can give your body and your mind. My exercise routine has completely transformed my life.
02. The human mind is incredibly strong. In fact, it’s stronger than you give it credit for, and it can push through the worst of times. Nurture and nourish your mind; it is one of your greatest assets.
03. Self-love and the romantic type of love are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they complement each other. I’ve come to realise that without being comfortable and confident in your own skin, you will never be able to open yourself up to love from someone else.
04. If the opportunity to travel presents itself, cease it! I’m fortunate that my work has given me the opportunity to travel, within India and outside of it. While I do detest the rush of short, two-day business trips, I am ever grateful for the chance to explore a new country and to meet new people.
05. In the same line of thinking, I’ve come to fiercely believe that money spent on travelling is never wasted, only invested. Last year, I visited Japan and Dubai. This year, I’m travelling to Germany, Italy and Spain. Slowly, but surely, I’m ticking beautiful places off my bucket list.
06. You could work bloody hard, and you could still fail. Sh*t happens. Make yourself a strong drink, play some upbeat music and put yourself together. Tomorrow is another chance to get it right.
07. Reading is one of the best habits that you could ever have. If you have it, never let it go. If you don’t have it, start now. I’m incredibly lucky that my father and grandfather were voracious readers, and that they were able to instil this passion in me, too. Last year, there was a six-month period where I didn’t read a single book. I remember feeling hollow, dull and uninspired. Luckily, that phase is over now. In fact, I currently have three books on my nightstand: Barefoot In Baghdad, A Little Life and Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking.
08. Say ‘thank you’ to your taxi driver, to your cashier, to your intern. Gratitude is the name of the game.
09. You never really know where life will take you, and chances are, it won’t be where you thought. While it’s totally okay to go with the flow (we’re all winging it, anyway), it’s not okay to not have game plan. And that should always include your Plan B.
10. People can change, and often, they do. While first impressions speak volumes, never doubt the ability of someone to turn themselves around. If only you gave them a chance to show you.
11. Birthday cookies > birthday cakes.
12. Surround yourself with people who push you to better yourself, every single day. If your circle is full of people who you admire and respect, you will automatically want to better yourself, and the inspiration will be right there for you to soak up.
13. The joy of building things is incomparable. As a child, I thoroughly enjoyed craft. I would make my own jewellery, alter my own clothes with studs and sequins, and create clay bowls for my mother. Somewhere over the years, I stopped using my hands. Recently, I walked into my favourite craft store and felt like I had stepped into Disneyland. I picked up a lot of bits and bobs, and my first project was to create my very own Decoden-inspired phone case.
14. Sometimes, a good night of sleep is exactly what you need.
15. As you grow older, you will meet and reconnect with people from your past. Your relationship with some of these people may have turned sour. With others, perhaps, it simply faded away. Regardless, when you do meet them, you will enjoy conversing and getting to know them again, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
16. If you think of a brilliant idea, act on it, pronto. I mean, right now. Because if you don’t, someone else will. And before you know it, you’ll be reading their success story in the newspaper.
17. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with breaking the mould. In fact, you should do it, over and over again. However, there’s a certain comfort in convention, too. The trick is to find your sweet spot; your very own, personal, perfect balance.
18. No matter how hard you try, you cannot change people. It’s pointless to try. Spend your energy somewhere else.