I sit by a Stupa on an elevation above the shore of the Spiti River, shielding myself from the sun. It’ll be a good fifteen minutes before the ball of fire sinks behind the mountain range and relieves human skins. Such penetrating sun rays would make a great premise for a sunscreen advert, I muse. Read more
Posts tagged ‘life’
A quarter life crisis is not a myth. Every 20-something reaches a point in life that is the peak of the adult version of adolescence. At that point begin a series of assessments, of one’s accomplishments, relationships, and the past, present & future. More often than not, these assessments give way to disappointment, anger and confusion, or a 20-something’s version of a mid-life crisis. The severity and implications of a Quarter Life Crisis aka QLC vary with each individual.
A study solemnly reports that every 3 in 4 people aged 26 to 30 go through a Quarter Life Crisis, while the Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia have some broad opinions on what such a crisis entails. The pace at which our generation moves has redefined most demographics, and having just turned 23, I’m attempting to discuss how to cope with a QLC, and hoping I wouldn’t relapse.
1. Let go.
We carry a heavy burden from our past, of broken friendships, unfulfilled promises and seemingly wrong choices. In retrospect however, these defining moments have made us who we are today, and if we look deep down inside, we’ve turned out just fine. We’ll never know what those friendships might have brought us, or those promises. We’ll never know how a different choice might have changed our lives, for better or for worse.
What we do know is our present, and chances are, it’s not as bad as we sometimes make it look. Take what you have and move on. Empty your backpack of the burden. Let go.
2. The 80-20 rule.
In the last few months, I’ve developed great affinity with a self-derived version of the 80-20 rule : Spend 80% of your time with 20% of the people that matter most. Adulthood is marked with a steep rise in responsibilities and commitments, leaving much less time to manage relationships. Gone are the days when we could juggle a dozen people every day on different scales of friendship and trust.
Ask yourself, who are the people that laugh and cry with you, that make you happy, and you’ll know how to use the 80-20 rule.
3. Do what you love.
It’s the only way to live. We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do. Sometimes, it takes longer to be able to do what we love, but we have to continuously work towards that light at the end of the dark tunnel we’re stuck in. As George Elliot says, it’s never too late to be what you might have been.
At a sub-conscious level, we know what we love to do. Many people put it into a box that hangs at the back of their heads, surfacing again at their mid-life crisis. Unlock that box and start adding thoughtful ingredients to it, so someday, your life will be the product of that concoction.
A friend pointed me to how-to-do-what-you-love wisdom by Paul Graham for further inspiration. Get inspired
4. Be comfortable in your own shoes
The only person you need to impress is yourself. Say that to yourself every moment of every day till you internalize it, and you’ll see a giant difference in the way you do things. It’s human nature to feel judged, but that’s also the greatest obstacle to making the most of life and everything that comes with it. I can’t help but urge you to read there’s-no-better-time-to-be-happy-than-now piece by Crystal Boyd.
Spend your QLC thinking of what really matters in life, because that’s all that matters. And know that you’re not alone, we’re all in it together.
Also read: 25 things I’d tell the 25-year-old me
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1. The first quarter of your life is behind you. Let’s keep assuming you’ll live to be a 100. Live your best life.
2. Apply the 80-20 rule to life. Spend 80% of your time with 20% of the people who matter most.
3. May some things never change. Like you obsessing over your blog stats.
4. Sometimes, you’ve just got to take the shit people throw at you & move on.
5. By now, you should have said at least once in your life, ”There’s no where else I’d rather be, and nothing else I’d rather be doing.” And meant it.
6. It’s not all downhill from here. ‘Life begins at 30′ might just be true.
7. It’s okay to lie for a good cause.
8. We’re past the Gandhian era. If life bitch-slaps you, don’t offer your other cheek.
9. If you don’t wake up every morning just for a glance outside your window, you better be panicking. Life is too short to live in an ugly place.
10. What good is your money if it can’t make you happy?
11. As people get richer, they get stingier. Poor & big-hearted is better than rich & stingy.
12. The difference between a good day & bad day is just a moment. Find yours.
13. On some days, create that moment for someone else.
14. Think BIG. Always.
15. Life is too short to watch someone else live your dream. Look elsewhere.
16. Just because everyone does it, doesn’t mean it needs to be done.
17. Just because everyone says it, doesn’t mean you should too.
18. Allow space for your principles to evolve. It’ll make you a better person.
19. Once you’re dead, it doesn’t matter what your grave says.
20. Don’t obsess over what people think of you. Judge yourself.
20. Take risks. What’s the worse that could happen?
21. Treasure good friends. They only come along a few times in a lifetime.
22. You are the only one stopping yourself from the next best thing.
23. Is today the day you’ll try something new?
24. Treat yourself to some chocolate every once in a while.
25. Why so serious?
PS: I’ll be bordering 25 in 2 years. It’s never to early to share the wisdom
What would you say to your future self?
The Common Wealth Games 2010 have been an emotional journey for Indians – we’ve been anxious, enraged, desperate, doubtful, optimistic, surprised, awed, thankful, excited, nervous, exhilarated, proud, very proud.
Just before the Games started, many of us were hanging on with dear life to the hope and fact that we wait until the very last minute to execute things, but with all the media bashing and the pessimism it created the world over, it was a long shot. Some of us logged out of Facebook, stopped buying newspapers, unplugged the TV and refused to talk about ‘it’ (think Gandhiji’s 3 monkeys)!
Then the day came, and like a pre-mature baby, a tad too soon. We went to the newly-built stadium to cheer the Opening Ceremony, praying to all our gods that nothing will collapse. We tuned in to our TV broadcast, our nails bitten right up to the skin. We opened our Twitter streams, ready to defend our honor. We felt like we feel on a Monday morning.
But none of it lasted.
We were awed by the Opening Ceremony, the spectacle that it was, it’s energy, vibrancy, spirit, colors, the way it depicted the country that India really is. And how proud it made us feel. We made it trend on Twitter, so the entire world could see the heart of India. We cheered till our throats were dry, and then cheered more. Perhaps a more obvious indication of our success is the very positive coverage by the Indian media!
The following days were even more nerve-wrecking and thrilling, this time to see the unprecedented performance of Team India in the sporting arena. I could write a 100 lines about how undaunted the performance of our athletes was, but the video below will say it much better. Hold your breath and put your hands together…
The CWG exemplifies two extremes – on one end, the amount of talent that resides in India and the sheer potential of the country to pull off an event of such magnitude on such a skewed timeline, and on the other, the corruption that still plagues, threatens and gnaws at our system. Of course, I can’t help but say that the Indian media is in a league by itself. The media has brought shame to us (abated by the actual Games) and to itself (unabated), much as our notorious organizing committee. It might be interesting, perhaps even somewhat relieving and amusing, to know that it’s not just India’s media that’s up to no good at all:
Yesterday’s CWG Closing Ceremony was showered with complements to India’s hospitality, facilities and arrangements, comparing them to the best in the world. We pass over the CWG Baton to Glasgow, Scotland, knowing in our hearts that we have achieved what we set out to do. Undoubtedly, we have a long way ahead of us, but we’ve taken our first step into the world. We have arrived, with pride on our faces and warmth in our hearts. Are you ready for this land we call India?
Every time you are in the vicinity of death, something changes. A certain part of you grows, matures, thinks, wonders. Life is uncertain, yes, but seeing that uncertainty float in the air, right before your eyes, makes you question the very essence of life.
Often times, I have thought that our lives are reflected in the eyes of other people. Once you leave this mortal world, the only thing that matters is how you live in the memories of people, if at all you live. That thought changed yesterday.
I was part of a memorial for a colleague, and people he’d known professionally poured in large numbers to offer their condolences and pen their thoughts in a little black book. The book will most likely be given to his family, and probably contains very fond memories. And you know what? He’ll never know. He’ll never know how people spoke of him, remembered him, missed him. He’s gone. May he rest in peace.
It brings me back to my feeble assessment of life. How you may or may not be remembered doesn’t matter at all; once you are gone, that is your only reality. Is there something that could evaluate our lives better? The definition of a successful life varies greatly. Some define it by money, others by fame, status, relationships and accomplishments. No one knows what it means to lead a full life; no one that is, if you discount what other people think. No one knows either, what it means to be happy, though I suppose those who truly are don’t need to ask the question.
I guess my point is that if you believe that death is really the end of life on earth, the closer you get to it, the less your actions matter. Assuming that death is uncertain, you can never exactly know how near or far from it you are, shrinking the probability that your actions will have consequences. An anti-karma theory, aye?
It’s been exactly a year since I unofficially graduated from college and lost myself in the insanity of adulthood. I have loved the freedom since, the rush of responsibility, the financial independence, the stamp of a degree, the corporate chaos. And also hated it.
Life has changed in many ways, and yet, in some fundamental sense, I am still the restless, fickle mind of a young student exploring the ways of the world, looking for adventure in the least likely of places, and forever moving by elimination. I have however, in this year, found a master key to survival – living a day at a time. Of all things that work, this one works wonders. It’s amazing what a day can be, with no future to look into and no past to brood over.
I am not aspiring to be a life coach just yet, so I’ll leave you with these lines from Porcupine Tree,
But after a while, You realize time flies, And the best thing that you can do
Is take whatever comes to you, ‘Cause time flies…
The oasis of thoughts is running dry
Unkind is the trajectory of time
Between dreaming and doing
Imagination has sketched a fine line.