30s Gyaan

I am turning 30 this 6th October.

Though I have been feeling 30 since I was 26, the official event occurs next week.

This makes me want to share what I have known about life in these 3 decades.

As Col. Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh says in Chhoti si Baat :

 “Ye ek art hai, kala hai. Ye meri 65 saal ki zindagi ka nichod hai.”

 

(In my case, ye meri 30 saal ki zindagi ka nichod hai.)

Since today is 29th, and I am still 29, this seems a good day to start my sermons.

Let me start by citing some facts about the age 30 (applicable to me, may or may not be applicable to others).

Fact #1

You don’t feel as old as you had thought you might. 

I had to write a composition in Sr.Kg. Essentially, it was a fill-in-the-blanks assignment titled ‘My Mother’. It read – My mother’s name is _____. My mother is _____ years old. And so on.

It was a homework assignment. My Mom used to take my studies. I filled her name. I asked her, what do I fill in the second sentence? She said, fill what age you think I am. I thought a lot, and thought, to be old enough to be my Mom, she has to be at least 30. So I wrote 30 and my Mom graciously let it be. (She was 28 then.)

And now I sit writing this, at the age I thought she was then!

Recently, when she turned 51, she told me, she doesn’t feel the age. I believe her now. My Grandma once told me, even when you turn 80, you’ll realise it only when you look into the mirror or your health starts failing you. I fantasise about turning 80 sometimes. And unlike the figure of 30, which has intimidated me since last 4 years, 80 doesn’t. Maybe, because it seems so far away…

Fact #2

People begin to take you seriously.

Try telling people you want to be a writer or an entrepreneur at 18 and try telling the same at 30. Odds are, the distractors will tear your dreams apart at 18, but find no points worth mentioning at 30. At least, that is what has happened to me.

Walk into a shop, take a cab, get the grocery – everywhere, if you have the personality to match the age, people will listen to you more seriously than they would a teen.Sad, but true. (I say teen because in my early 20s, I felt like a teen and in the late, like a 30 year old. I have not experienced the 20s mentally.)

Fact #3

You begin to live for yourself.

Aye, you have tried your best to put yourself above the demands of the mundane till now, but seldom succeeded. At 30, you gain the assertiveness to really put your foot down and start living. You can even successfully contradict a bossy grown-up!

Fact #4

You begin to form a wall around your emotional self.

Gone are the days when trivial remarks used to affect you. You learn to ignore what is not important to your personal life. You do not make time for negative people and surround yourself with friends, family and mentors who contribute to general well-being.

Fact #5

You are not afraid of failing.

3 decades are enough to show that no man is exempted from failure. Small or big failures have come your way, and have toughened you enough to not shy away from embarking on anything new. You take risks, but not like you did in the wild 20s. You know when to go forth and when to retreat. Giving up – you have learned. You no longer make it an ego point. But you have also learned what will work, and are not afraid of going after it.

Fact #6

You are more confident than your teen years and twenties.

From my experience, till you are in school, the focus of your life is pretty restricted. If you do well in studies and sports at a certain level, your confidence in yourself is unchallengeable. As you move out of school and are exposed to a bigger and real world, where people around you know things you don’t know yet, you begin to falter. It is the acceptance of the fact that there is so much to know that brings self-doubt. Which is good within limits; but if it crosses a certain level, it causes one to retreat into a shell for no apparent reason. This self-doubt can eat up decades altogether, till you learn that – everybody who excels at something, lags in other things. Also, even an expert cannot say that he knows everything! So, what you know, till now, counts for something and is not vain, if you do not consider yourself an expert in it.

30 in way, returns to you the confidence of your childhood.

These were my observations for today. I would like to know how valid these are, from those who have already been 30 or are approaching 30. 

 

 

Day 23 : A letter to someone, anyone.

This letter is to my inner critic.

Hello Critic,

I will not give you the privilege of addressing you as my inner editor. No. You are the critic in me. You are a perfectionist. At least, you think you are.

They say writer’s block happens because of you; because you think I do not have anything worthwhile to write on. They say the only way to deal with you is to write to you and overcome the fear of facing you. Alright, here I am.

I am here to tell you – judge me all you want! I am not afraid to face you anymore. I have gone through my earlier blog posts, my journal entries, my short stories, my poems, my tweets and even my Facebook posts several times. I have never felt that I don’t write anything worthwhile. I have seen Ratatouille and know what critics can do to an artist. I am not letting you get to me like Anton Ego.

You are a good fellow. However, you are not well read. How do I know? Because I am not well read! Ha! Well, I won’t hinder your progress, now that I have decided to focus on reading too. Do not think this is to give you more ammunition to blast my works before they find their way to paper. It is to boost my confidence in my capabilities as a writer. So be prepared to be surprised by the quality of my work.

It’s not that I can do away with you entirely. Even if on most days you are the nemesis of my work, I need you to keep me grounded. If I know that you are not there to screen my work, I’d think I am perfect and won’t feel the need to write. I need you to motivate me to write, to prove to you that I can and I will! I need you like Buck from Ice Age 3 needs Rudy.

So we make an open pact, eh? You don’t rubbish my work before it is written and I don’t ignore your critique after it is given. After all, to survive any longer, you too need writers like me to laud or trash.

Here’s to constructive criticism.

Your writer self,
Meta Wordcoiner.

Day 18 : Post 30 facts about yourself

  1. I will turn 30 this October. I was plagued by worry since I turned 26, but now I am rather looking forward to 30s. My Dad says nature gives humans the right thoughts for the age that they are, to control any regrets or disappointments. I kinda agree now.
  2. I topped my town’s SSC exams (amongst girls). I am not very proud of it when I have to mention my percentage. The only matter of pride is – I topped the exams without copying. Which is a big deal because our town has a lot of copying going on in every board exams.I copied a verbal problem in Chemistry in HSC. The supervisor put me up to it – to boost my percentage. I never copied in Engineering. I never ever solved a verbal problem after Chemistry paper. I got 64 in Physics because I left 20+20 marks verbal problems simply because it bored me to solve maths. My college Principal noticed me when I got to 4th year and told me publicly – Well,done! For the one who doesn’t like maths, you have made it throughout to the last semester. I flushed.
  3. I love language. Especially English.
  4. I am a cat person. Dogs, I like, but not as much as cats. IMHO, dogs are too gullible.
  5. I am trying to be a morning person since about 2 decades.
  6. I have encyclopaedic knowledge about trivia related to movies, series I watch.
  7. I am judgemental. I see a person for who he is, make my conclusions and can still be cordial with that person even if I don’t quite like him/her. In other instances, I understand they are different people and like to get to know their POVs.
  8. Everybody always thinks I am lying, even if I am telling the truth. There’s something about my face. Also outrageous things happen to me. Have you ever been bitten by a mangoose inside your house, by the shoe stand and have had to explain to the science teacher that you did not go to tuition the other day because you were getting a rabies shot because a kid mangoose bit you in the middle of civilisation? Have you ever seen vultures encircling a cow’s skull in your school playground – after school? Have you ever submitted a different subject file with only the index for the subject you are submitting for (by mistake) and gotten away by replacing it the next day? Have you ever written ‘Please smell the paper’ in your science exam, just because you wrote with a scented pen? Have you ever fallen to the hard ground *with* a tree branch in your hand, from about a 2-storey high ‘mountain’ of cotton seed and escaped unhurt and told everyone years after the incident happened? Have you ever rubbed a whole pencil-written answer because you wrote the answer to the 5th question in place of the 4th one (not in a printed quiz, but in your own notebook) and wrote the correct answer for both again and the teacher postpones checking for some reason, you are made to take the notebook home and then the next day you are accused of correcting (how presumptuous that I could have written a wrong answer) the answer at home – because she says – why did you not just switch the numbers?! (I have a mild OCD, for God’s sake!) Nobody believes me!
  9. I am a confrontation avoider. I will never argue a case or voice a different opinion if it serves to make the scene ugly. My folks say I argue a lot. So did my teachers say about me. These are two diametrically opposite things – make your own conclusions about me.
  10. I don’t swear. I don’t have aversion to other people swearing. I have often wondered if any of my characters would swear. Why, of course they would, if they are such people who swear. It’s not that I am afraid of swearing, I never felt the need for it.
  11. Most people have never seen me angry. Close family and friends who have seen me angry at times are surprised that I have that kinda emotion in me. When I am angry, I vent out in English (not writing…I speak my heart out in English.). I also alliterate when angry.
  12. I can spend an entire day just thinking. I often end up with the result ‘INTP’ in personality type test.
  13. I have tried a busy life and a lazy life. Both have not given me peace of mind. I am in the process of finding a middle ground.
  14. In my head, I have a model’s body, a movie star’s body language. I have written several books and head a successful organisation. My closet is rich and organized. I am working towards the goals each day.
  15. I start new things, expand ideas and often miss following them through. I think it has a lot to do with me being the INTP type.
  16. I like to experiment with my hair.
  17. I am an outdoor person who never steps out of home. Beat that.
  18. I have a very few real friends. The kind of friends who do not expect anything from me and are there to hear out my fantasies and ventings. I exploit them a lot.
  19. I am the kind of friend who will sometimes entertain your idiosyncrasies throughout the day and sometimes just shut you out even though you are speaking to me. As long as I know you are in no serious trouble, I can be like that. If you are in trouble or have an event in your life, I will be there hands and feet, waiting on you and shielding you from unnecessary stress coming your way.
  20. I like getting gifts. I like giving gifts. Sometimes I have already given the gift in my mind, so you don’t get anything from me on your weddings, birthdays, or when you have children.
  21. I do not belong to the world around me. At times I feel difficult to breathe thinking my life will be spent doing the mundane.
  22. Once, I wanted to change the world. Not anymore. Now I want to make myself the best work of my life.
  23. I start skin care routines and never follow through. Same with medicines. I just see the doctor and feel I have been cured.
  24. I feel an urgent need to stop time. At other times, I happily while away days reading for hours on end.
  25. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, a scientist, an astronomer, a RAW agent and a politician.
  26. I want to start public speaking, debating and video blogging. Someone at the Dubai International Film Festival told me I am a natural at speaking into the camera…whatever that means.
  27. I am never tired of self-flattery. I am a boaster (miya-mithoo, if you may) and I know it.
  28. I seldom get to eat the food I like. I never consciously think about food.
  29. I like cartoons much. I have not been in touch with the latest cartoons and comics for the last 10+ years.
  30. Some days I feel the world is a hype and I am at peace in my cocoon. Some days I feel I am not at pace with the world. I revel in wistfulness I guess.

 

On living a lie

I write this is in a fit of peculiarly cynical and pessimistic mood, when everything in my world seems bleak. I do not remember sharing negative aspects of life on the blog.

What is so serious?

There are days like today, when despite the weather being as pleasant it can get, I feel like life is crap. Pardon the language.

I see dreams written decades ago and not materialised. I see the mirror and realise I am far from what I’d like to look like. I see social media and find individuals living the life of their dreams (quite a good thing if true), but feel a twinge of incompleteness in not living each day as I would like to.

I have evaluated this mood from a third person’s perspective and found that I can indeed live my life as I want to. There are no significant external factors stopping me. It is me who puts my happiness on the back burner. And this has been the case for as long as I can remember. Perhaps since school days.

I would like to wake up early, I don’t. I would like to meditate, I don’t. I would like to cook new recipes, I don’t. I would like to write fiction more, I don’t.

I let life carry me adrift like a log at a sea – stormy or dormant.

I am sure you might have experienced this mood in varying intensities. Whom do you share it with? What measures do you take? I am going out for a walk, just so you know. I hope I wake up with brighter spirits tomorrow.

Sixth ramble

About time.

Watch this video :

Now, completely unrelated but related in a way. I often wonder why time seemed abundant in childhood and now 2006 seems as near as last year. Though I can’t seem to remember any significant stuff from the last decade as a striking memory. No, lots of significant stuff has happened indeed, it’s not that I don’t have anything to look back on.

Time is fleeting. While I don’t seem to register it…

Is there a way to feel that comfortable with time again as in the childhood days? I think it can be done if one stops responding to each and every stimuli throughout the day and give FOMO (fear of missing out) a miss.

I have felt substantially relaxed when I don’t start the day with a nagging feeling of wasting time while the whole world is up to doing something worthwhile. When I release myself of the compulsion to be someone – say a writer, fashionista, adventurer…even ice-skater on one of the more cranky days…I feel liberated. 

Then through the day, I am happy with what I do in those 24 hours. I have realised that not letting time be, coupled with the compulsion of mundane is the biggest reason of it seeming to fleet by. Yes, in letting time be if you succumb to a boring routine in office/college – you’re done for. Time will slow down to an unbearable extent.

A mixture of pursuing your passions (however flickering they may be) with doing the mundane in a different way daily takes you to a stage where you are interested in what today has in store for you, but you don’t dictate that it has to be this way only. 

Pursuing…keep pursuing…with goals, newer goals when some are done. But never let them be too specific like I want to be the PM. Or CEO of some company.

Define goals with a tinge of ambiguity. Like I want to do my best in technology. (CEO stuff will follow.)And set for it with your mixture of pursuing and ‘different’ mundane. This will keep you focused enough to ignore what you may be missing out on (you are bound to be, you can’t be everywhere and have everything) and chilled enough to not expect everything in the world.

This will make you feel gratified when at the end of the day some achievement happens. It will make you savour your simple glory. (Like when I managed to master the Mickey Mouse phase after 3 days of incessant trying.) It may not be an achievement which has a standing in the world, but it will make you happy because you had slowed down time enough in your mind by eliminating the thoughts of what else could you have done that day. 

This happiness in turn will lead to more slowing down of perceived time – there’s no haste,because there is no deadline and no tangible goal to achieve. Just a constant need of improving the self, which in turn may lead to you achieving things that are indeed meaningful in the world and make you ‘useful’ to the world in a way. Such that now every day you spend, has a purpose – not because you focused, but because you let time be and did not put pressure of it being meaningful.

In conclusion, in childhood (my childhood at least) there was no pressure of each day being purposeful. Hence, the memories are clearer since the mundane was not mundane but an opportunity to explore how differently can it be done. Every new thing was learned/discarded on hunch – it was a personal choice, no impending need to be an expert in every thing you discover. Later, it became a conflict between the compulsory mundane and the urge of being someone (an expert). Thus, the memories weren’t clear as the days were hazy with the thoughts bludgeoning the mind to do something useful with the time you have!

(Rambling. Not read again. Excuse if I make no sense.)