Last year I penned down some thoughts after my birthday on turning 24. You can read it here. It got me rave reviews and a lot of positive comments from fellow bloggers, friends, family etc. Writing down my feelings was soothing and in a way it made me stronger for the year to come! Though I am not admitting it was easy; here is a brief summary of all the good and bad that summed up into one big ball of confidence & learnings.
In February I finally had the courage to quit my first job where I had been working since the last 2 years as I had another job that required me to move to a complete new area (new house, new friends, new roommates) . This was March. It was not until a month had a passed; when I realized that the job was disastrous and I had made a mistake. A really bad work environment, coupled with unrealistic timings, zero perks, nobody to even talk to..the list can continue. In May after a long weekend, and consulting with a few (adults) I quit in 2 months. I moved back to my old house with barely any savings and a shadow of unemployment following me around. The next few weeks while I looked for other offers, I also joined back my gym and just tried to be positive about my situation. To my luck within a month I was offered a job at my dream company, LinkedIn! (I had been applying there since 3 years; but it finally clicked!) Had I planned all of this? NO! 2017 started on a depressing note, but it picked up with my travels, family-time, birthdays & 2 engagements! I ended up meeting some amazing people, made beautiful memories & learnt a lot!
I have come to realize a lot happens between the ages 18-25. The awkwardness of moving to a new city, joining a university, majoring in two off-beat subjects; Journalism & Psychology, doing my Masters, starting corporate life, a first-hand experience at hating your boss & office politics, getting my heart-broken (massively), losing touch with old friends, making new friends, going abroad for the first time all alone, extensively travelling India, studying in a foreign university, landing my dream job, meeting an amazing person who I connect with, spending New Years Eve walking on the streets & what not! Phew; the list is countless isn’t it? I am sure just like me, everyone has their own story; but one thing I can be sure of – they provide you with the unimaginable life experiences.
The following below is a non-exhaustive list of all the things that I know to be true for myself — and maybe for some other no-longer-in-their-early-20s women.
- The age of fucking up is (kinda) over. By the time you are 25, you are clear about a lot of things in life. You’ve chosen the wrong career path, been with the wrong man, learnt a new language – at this point of time you are much more clear about how you want the next few years of your life to be; you have learnt from your mistakes and are on your way to redemption.
- The fear of missing out is a bit more under control. We spend so much time on Instagram and of course go through the FOMO; but as soon as we realize that the grass is always greener on the other side, you throw the FOMO out the window and stop regretting the things you aren’t doing, you can enjoy the ones you are a whole lot more.
- “Just Saying a No” is completely okay. There are those long physically and mentally exhausting days at work; or a thing that may upset you – when you just need a downtime. You might need to cook your favourite dish and eat it; or sleep or curly up in bed at 9PM reading a book; that’s all okay. Occasionally turning down plans for your own peace is fine and you have nobody to answer to.
- Home decorations are fun. Sure, the current house might not be permanent; but having your own room is super cool too. I’ve seen a change in my shopping rituals since last year. I ended up buying clay mugs for my kitchen, a colourful flower vase & lamp for my room and a lot of other fun things. Now that I’m no longer at my parents, I feel a sense of independence to make my home a happy place just like how it was whilst growing up.
- Doing mundane things like laundry is a leisure. Cousins and friends younger than me come to me for advice about living alone; the perks and the negatives. The only thing I tell them, is that doing mundane things for yourself is fun. I enjoy doing laundry over the weekend, cleaning my room, wardrobe makeovers while watching a re-run of Friends! The best leisure is usually Sunday’s when you have done absolutely nothing the whole day, curled up in bed with a pizza and movie. Trust me guys, the feeling is heavenly.
- It’s not necessary to be friends with everybody. Not everyone is going to immediately like you and you’re not going to like everyone. That’s how life goes on and the faster we accept it the better. Also, accept that not all of your friendships from high school and college are meant to stay as strong as they once were. You have the right to maintain relationships with only whom you want to.
- Life is too short for a bad work environment. Advocate for yourself when it comes to what you’re paid, the responsibilities you take on and whom you work with. If you don’t do it for yourself, no one else will. We spend about 8-9 hours at work everyday; that’s a major chunk of your day. Remember.
- Retail therapy is absolutely fine (sometimes). No purchase is worth clearing out your bank account, but when you can and want to, let yourself splurge a little. There have definitely been times when a new pair of shoes or a bag has lifted my mood more than an well thought-out discussion about my emotional state ever could have.
- We create 80% of our own stress. When is the credit card bill due? I have to meet a friend, but on the same day I have a class! Just simple things that increase our cortisol levels (ie: a pun if you’ve watched Black Mirror) Everything can be managed; you just need some thinking and organizing to sort out big life problems.
- Your parents are way cooler than you imagined them to be. I remember there used to be a time when I spoke with such caution around my parents! (PS: No fuck, or bitch or even worse curses) Now I can swear like a non-sanskari girl with confidence. My mother and I can have unlimited chats about sex, boyfriends, gossiping about relatives and even How I Met your Mother. Can you beat that?
- I can’t imagine my life without a workout. It’s been a year, but I have been working out in the gym on/off. I cannot imagine coming home and not getting ready to go to the gym at least 3-4 days a week. Working out has made me realize that there are certain things I like; and certain things I do not. My new-found love for boxing is evident on my Insta-stories 🙂
- Yes, it’s time to start taking some medications. I have been an absolute jerk when it came to taking care of my health the last couple of months. Currently being diagnosed with PCOD has opened my eyes to cut down on my sugar and eat as many healthy dishes as possible. And yes; it comes with a lot (+lot) of medications. Be very pro-active when it comes to vitamins and your health.
- You can literally do anything that you want to do. Quit your job? Charge your credit card with a ticket to Goa or Bali or any other dream destination? There are a million possibilities of the good and bad things you can do for yourself; and you are answerable only to yourself. The freedom is priceless.
- The words you say make an impact on people. Be it at work, amongst your friends or with family; your opinion or advice can make people think twice. Be it choosing a degree, a career path or advising on different things matter a lot to people; hence invest in explaining to people what you have learnt from your own experiences.
- It’s okay to make drastic changes to your appearance. It’s okay to get a really really short hair cut; it’s after all your choice! I did try experimenting with my hair – it was red for almost a year and then I made changes to my wardrobe and also started applying a lot more vibrant lipsticks at work to look good & feel confident. The minor changes were rejuvenating.
- Your happiness is up to you. Not anyone else. No one is going to be able to give you the feeling of fulfillment that only comes when you’ve found what you want to do and how you want to do it. Are you unhappy? Do something about it. Listen to peppy music; drink the piping hot chocolate at Starbucks; or just step out of the house and walk. Everything gets better when you do things you love.
- Trust in your skills. ‘If you are good at something, never do it for free.’ A popular dialogue that answers so many questions! It’s alright to have a career and also a hobby that earns you some extra cash. I made so much money by freelancing as a social media expert when I started working and it helped me so much! Find your skill, hone it and trust it!
- Not giving a crap what anyone else thinks is incredible. Do you dance like Chandler? Or are kind-of-emotionless like Barney? Well you reach a point in your life when people’s opinions don’t really matter (shaadi karlo) and you invest all your time into doing something that you are motivated about – be it a job or your hobby.
- Never forget those who have helped you along the way. Whatever you do in your life, you cannot do it yourself. There might be people you are not too fond of, or people who are no longer in your life; but they have made you the current person and appreciation is important!
- Things get tough. It’s okay to cry. I’ve had many ups and downs. Many challenges. Cry. Be angry. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be angry. It is NOT okay to ignore your pain. The more emotion you can show people, the faster is the healing process
- Start an FD, RD or some investment. I did stupid mistakes and spent a lot of my hard-earned money in unnecessary things; it’s something that I regret always. I then started saving; I was able to pay for my London flight ticket and visa (totals upto 60K) and it was a proud moment for me since it was my first job earnings.
- Laugh at yourself; it’s okay. You will love yourself more. And others will too. Be sportive and take everything in a good humour; you might be building new relationships with this; stronger ones!
- Love but never be attached to anything. Love and attachments are two separate things. Love everything and everyone but be able to let it all go. You must be brave enough to get over any hurdle in life; be it a person or even a job!
- Today is what will create tomorrow. How exciting it is to think that what I do and how I choose to live my life today is all creating the direction of my life tomorrow? Evidently, we can only live in the present, but in making it the best we possibly can, tomorrow is sure to be a step closer to whatever your dreams may be.
- Turning 25 Actually Isn’t So Bad After All. Honestly? I was a little freaked out about turning 25. “Got to get my life together” has been a recurring thought of late, to say the least. But my thoughts are different; I’m pleased to be at an age where these 25 life lessons are only the beginning of what’s to come.
Love, M <3