18 Going 25 Something- looking back and moving ahead

Dear 18 and mid-20s,
Its okay, you are Fabulous!

As an 18 year old, fresh out of high school and waiting to start college/university, I remember being excited to have finally grown up.
There was a little extra bounce in my steps and extra swing to my ponytail. There was an air of confidence and my eyes glimmered with hope. The clarity of thought was unparalleled and my shoulders a little extra squared to take on the world!

I was willing to go down to the minutest of details of everything that I was asked, expected and even wished to do; simply because, you know… everything I did then was supposed to turn and mould the rest of my life. Every decision supposed to solidify the path that I follow for the rest of my life, every relationship I nurtured was to last till the end of my days, every belief system that I adopted was supposed to define life for the rest of my living.

I knew that by the time I was in my mid-20s, I would be an independent being with a certain professional stability with nowhere else to go but rise higher and higher. I knew I was going to be this person who would be wise and generous, witty and intellectual, smart and funny, attractive and well-built.
I would have a Masters degree in Economics and a passport full of stamps, speak two foreign languages and have friends across the globe, play the guitar and read minimum three books a month, have a walk-in closet and people whom I could trust with my life, a labrador with a person to share its warmth with.

Today, it’s been eight years since I was first 18, and to my comfort I haven’t really done most things that I had planned out for myself.
I’m a Psychologist who writes to understand myself better and somedays to just get through the day. I read, but more on the rate of a book a month and sometimes it takes two months to complete it. I have an inconsistent workout pattern and an unparalleled love for food. I’ve not yet filled my passport with stamps but love looking through the Atlas every now and then, and I know i’m collecting experiences to share with my kids and their kids in the future.
I don’t play any musical instruments but have a diverse playlist that caters to my every mood. The only amount of foreign language I know is what Narcos has taught me. Somedays I wonder what is it that I’m doing? But one thing has become abundantly clear, that I’m not looking at breaking any glass ceilings, professionally.
I do drive a stick pretty well and have made friends from different walks, ages and beliefs. I do not have a dog, but do take every opportunity to play with one when I find it. I still love dunking my cookie in the milk and finding shapes in the clouds!

Not wanting to start my 27th year on a low note I asked for help on my personal Instagram account (because that’s where we are the most responsive, as a society).
I asked for people to help me see me through their eyes.
I mean, looking into myself wasn’t looking very promising and uplifting in comparison to the 18-something’s image of current me, because you know- self doubt and esteem issues.

Surprisingly, what started with the intention of licking my wounds turned out to have more of a therapeutic effect. There were responses that spoke of my physical appearances and other socially polite things that we all do at some point or the other. Then there were those that put a smile back on my face and made me realise that I might not have become all things that I’d dreamt of as an 18year old, but I surely on the right road no matter the destination.

It began with “It takes a very secure person to do something like this”; it made me realise how I’d been open to all kinds of responses and willing to go on. But this response just prepared me better.

Some said that I have grown up to become a sensible woman, understanding and simple. I realised that I do have quite a few virtual friends whom I’ve rarely or never had the chance to meet in person, and real ones whom I meet as often as I can.
There is family who are like friends and friends like family, and I couldn’t have wished for more. They find me annoying and incorrigible, but adore me none the less. I do have sour patches, but I know in my heart that I’ve done enough to sweeten them before I gave up; no regrets there.

It was repeatedly mention that I do travel quite often and that helped me make peace and hope for more in the future.

To think about it, the most rewarding feeling was the realisation that I am happy. Inspite of all the things that I’ve not achieved, received, earned and created in comparison to my dream for myself. I’ve been blessed with more than I could have asked for.
Not everything has panned out the way I believed it would, somethings never even materialised. After all, what did I know then when compared to now?

I’ve lost people who I thought would last forever and have company in the ones whom I never thought I could understand.
Plans have changed multiple times. Some of them have felt like a train wreck, like hitting a dead-end with no where else to go. Very rarely does anyone ask me for my grades from high school and college, even though at the time it meant like the world depended on them. But everytime I meet somebody now, they want to know what I do; as do I about everybody.
Things that seemed like the indicators of the quality of my future at one point, seem so frugal now!

I still look for approval and validation every now and then, but I’m also learning to segregate the feedback. I’m learning to find it within myself rather than the world; and to the ones who are seeking it elsewhere, trust me pleasing and appeasing the universe inside yourself makes you more beautiful and appealing to the world outside of yourself.
To the 18 year old me I’m a grown up now, but today I’m still growing. I’m yet to make mistakes and learn new things about myself. I’m still setting goals and targets for my older self and setting my heart out to wander and understand itself better. I’m not perfect, but I know that there is no single universally accepted definition to perfect, either.

Making yet another time capsule for the next five years and allowing myself to be swallowed by the world. the world lead me. They say ‘Maturity is the price you pay for growing up’, I think I’m just keeping the child in me alive!

When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks,When you’re 40, you stop caring what everyone thinks, When you’re 60, you realise no one was thinking about you in the first place.

-Winston Churchill

And this here feels like my theme song!

Late Night Gratitude

I’m feeling good, particularly about nothing and yet about everything.

Lying in bed at the owl hours of winter night. Spread out like I’m making snow angels. Staring at the overhead fan, trying to count the number of rotations it makes in a minute and miserably failing each time. I laugh to myself and start over; there is no mad rush for doing something better. The strays on the streets have finished their scavenger patrols and the moon is glowing bright enough. It’s a strangely fulfilling feeling, to not be worried about wasting away time on mindless tasks.

It could be the weather or just the effect of watching multiple hallmark movies over the years. After having a full Wednesday and snoozing through most of it. But for now I’m just happy to be wrapped up in my washed-up comforter, wearing yoga pants from when I was two inches too short and a t-shirt I’m not sure how I procured. The night air is a bit chilly, but I’m just too comfortable to get up and reduce the speed of the fan.

Tomorrow is a workday, but for now I can only think of all the things that have been good and great. My mind is swell and humming a song I heard in an Italian movie with subtitles. I mean, we all have our days; I know I do. I have a range from Buttercups to Lisa Simpson, from Olive Oyl to Roadrunner, from Merida to Cinderella. But today, I’m just feeling good.

I’m feeling good, particularly about nothing and yet about everything.

On last new years’ eve I had made a resolution. It was to make sure that I’d try out all activities that have brought joy to me in the past. Why did I make it? I’m not sure; maybe I was just lazy to think of something new. Or maybe becauseI knew I would still find simple pleasure in some, if not all of them. And here I am, feeling content at the end of the year, making lists for the year to come and mostly feeling grateful.

If the past year were a book, its cover would be a vibrant blend of colours light and dark, all thrown together to create something abstract yet so beautiful. If it were a music piece it would have the music of a saxophone, electric guitar and a violin, all together. If it were a garden it would have grass in shades of green and brown, with some weeds and beautiful little flowers.

The opportunity to meet new people, from different places, has always interested me. I’m not big on socialising, but every once in a while I enjoy getting to know someone completely new and preferably very different from myself. I’ve had the privilege of befriending many people this time. Took a weeklong trip with strangers who became friends and some even influencers in their own way.  Took multiple weekend trips and re-connected with old friends and got introduced to some more. Travelled with family and had the chance to re-connect.

I took up many challenges, aced a few and failed a few, but tried all! Started the blog on the word of a stranger who is now a well-wisher. Tried to shrink the waistline, but that never panned out. Learned how to cook something new.Found some of my work targets unrealistic after having have dived headfirst. Defeated my sweet tooth and gained better control over my impulsive binges. Spent another year desperately wanting for a canine companion. Joined the management class and am actually enjoying it. Enjoyed some beautiful sunrises. Missed quite a few night outs and events. Lost my phone.  Ran the 10k I dreamt of. Read very little by comparison. Exploited netflix subscription. 

I found inspiration and admiration in nature. Learned to be more accepting of others. Struggled a bit with my self image. Mended some fences, lost track of some others. Indulged in self-care, gained some sunburns. Sprained my ankle. Developed better calf muscles. Started being more sensitive towards the environment. Dabbled in make-up. Cried till I couldn’t remember why. Laughed until I was doubled up with pain. Danced by letting it all go. Stayed hydrated through party nights. The year has been a ride, not a very smooth one for sure. But today when I look back at all that has passed and everything that I’ve learnt, I know it’s been a beautiful one.

Taking stock of everything that’s putting an aimless smile on my face sure feels good. While the fan continued to reel over-head, I can’t be bothered by the ramblings of the world. For once I’m not in a hurry to fall asleep or do anything else,because right here everything seems to be comfortable.

The song that I’ve been humming  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk8oSNMQ6xU