“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I always wanted to write a 30 before 30 article whenever I saw one. I had a fixed template of goals which I kept revising throughout my twenties. I also remember one of the answers where I mentioned that I might get clarity as I reach 30 but I am still hustling a lot of things.
The only thing I learnt in my twenties is
“There is no template for life. You create your own”
That is why I choose not to write 30 before 30 to fit into another template again.
What I learnt very late
1.Getting a degree is not everything in life
When I was graduating from college, I knew that the future growth as a Civil Engineer was very slow. I wanted fast money and growth. The only way I knew to achieve that was getting an MBA degree. More than the degree, the college mattered for me. I will go for an MBA only if I get through IIM ABC. I was a topper in mocks but when it came to the actual exam, I would blank out due to anxiety. This continued for 3 years after which I gave up on it because I wasn’t able to solve my anxiety.
I stayed in Devdas mode for a couple of years dramafying that I lost everything in life. Little did I know that degree doesn’t matter to succeed in life.
“Your efforts and the right opportunities can also alone you to places you dream of”
Today, I find it so foolish that I cried over not getting a degree for a lot of years. I wasted so many sleepless nights in trying to fit into the rat race of quick money and growth.
Of course, I am not at a high level in my company. But I earn enough. I enjoy my work. Won’t that count for success in life?
I don’t find my distance course degree useful either. I rarely tell people that I studied MA in Psychology. I don’t want to give people a wrong assumption that I am qualified because of my degree. I find myself qualified because of my extensive reading and applying the concepts in life before guiding others.
2.The right life partner doesn’t exist
I went into a severe depression in the process of searching for the perfect life partner.
“Don’t talk to boys. They will manipulate you.”
“I trust you and your friends. But I don’t trust your age and hormones.”
Indian parents don’t teach you how to deal with the opposite gender. But when it comes to marriage, you suddenly have to know everything you got to know about relationships and then take the onus of choosing one because your parents don’t want to take blame for your failed marriage. For that, the parents should have taught me some life skills instead of instructing me on how I should stay invisible.
My regret – Obeying my parents blindly and never getting into relationships before marriage.
The result – I didn’t know how to choose.
There are no good books on how to choose the right life partner for an Indian scenario. When you ask people for advice, they heavily color it based on their own life experiences. In case you want an uncolored template to think for yourself, you can check out my workshop.
Nevertheless, not knowing what I want and wanting to take my own sweet time to decide drove me into depression due to peer and parents pressure.
After getting my feet dirty in searching for my dream partner, I realized there is no perfect partner. You need to make yours one.
Learning this earlier would have saved me years of self-torture, self hate, sleepless nights, dark circles and obesity. That’s the price I had to pay for my ignorance.
3.Parents are not everything in life
Hear me out, before you bash me for making such a bold statement.
I was a person who would never do anything without their permission. When a guy asked me out, “I won’t go out with you until my parents are okay with you. I will only marry a guy after my parents are okay with him.”
I had zero individuality. It was very difficult to know the difference between what I want vs what they want out of my life. It took me a lot of effort to separate my thoughts and my life from who they want me to be because I can own up to my mistakes today. I created a workshop out of all the learnings I had from separating out my beliefs from their beliefs in life.
The result – I feel so much more in control and finally could experience peace in life.
I own the consequences of decisions I take irrespective of right or wrong. It is empowering and gives you the next level of confidence.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t love or respect my parents. Parents are meant to be respected, cared for and loved. But they should not be dictators of your life.
You got to live your own life for the good or the bad.
Living life on my own terms
1.Any good news?
Yes. Loads of them. I have let go of a lot of layers of ego and emotions in the last 2 years that I can’t relate to the person who I was a few months ago. It is good news for me. I also know that whatever I have let gone is the minutest of all I am yet to shed. The more you grow, the more ego you shed. It feels very good.
Anyways, I am tired of this question. Because the only thing you get asked wherever you go is, “When are you having children?”
You can get married even if you are not ready. But you can’t have children when you are not ready because it impacts the mental health of another human being.
You can revise and update your strategy for marriage but for children, you and your partner need to be mentally, physically and financially prepared for what is to come.
In one of the forms, I received a request to talk about “Can a couple be happy without children?” There were no contact details. I want to ask him or her, “How do you manage to stay happy with your spouse after you have a child?”
I don’t know how as of today. My husband and I sometimes joke that we don’t have anything to argue about these days. Maybe getting a child will help in getting back the long arguments.
Jokes aside, it takes time to settle with a partner and align with a partner on the future and future family you create. The amount of time totally depends on the couple. If you jump into creating a family without foundation, don’t expect the building to be strong. It is nice to camp and be a nomad than to live in a building which you don’t know when it might collapse.
That’s MY VIEW on having children. I can’t argue on how right or wrong it is, because I don’t have a kid of my own yet.
For others who call out my age as the reason why I should rush into having kids, one of my friends recently mentioned, “If you have money, age doesn’t matter when you want to have kids.”
My answer, “After going through a lot of spiritual experiences and studying astrology charts, the Universe is the best to tell you when is the right time for high karma defining events like marriage and children.”
2.I chase every potential and dream of mine
I am proud of who I am today. Not because I am a millionaire or a CEO of some company. But, because of how I spend my time.
I do what I love and I love what I do.
I talk to my manager if I feel the work is boring for me. I ask my clients how I can do better next time. If I feel that there is something interesting, I explore the depths of it. I don’t limit myself. I try things before I reject them. All of this has given me a chance to widen my perspectives in life.
It is overwhelming sometimes to wear so many hats. There was a day recently when I wore multiple hats – Psychology, Astrology, Data Science, Cook, Friend. It was a very rewarding day as I saw how the opposite person felt for what I had to offer.
I am glad about all the things I explored in my twenties and welcoming the thirties to be even more fulfilling.
My advice to my future self
“There’s still a part of you which still wants a template to fit in the society around you. Don’t fall for that. It is okay to live an unconventional life.
Live life to your fullest potential but don’t burn yourself out in that process.”
What are your learnings from your twenties? What did you do or plan to do differently in your thirties? Let us know in the comments section!
Happy living life unapologetically!