Browsing Category emotional intelligence

21 Books That Will Change Your Life – They Changed Mine.

Did anyone ever tell you that you should read books to change your life?

I started reading non-fiction and fiction books sincerely only for the last four-five years. But in this duration, I read some books that shifted the course of my life. They exposed me to unbelievable facts. They laid open the science that I didn’t know exist. They told me stories I could never imagine. They made me cry like I hadn’t before. They made me laugh as if I had nothing to worry about. They accompanied me when I was lonely. They unfurled the greatest lives. They told me life can be lived in many ways. They reassured me that it was okay to be who I was. But also that I could grow.

You don’t know what is out there until you read. And then the ghosts don’t leave you alone, ever.

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Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30s

Rules to Live Your Thirties By.

On my 30th birthday three years ago, I had written 30 life lessons my twenties had taught me. From exercising regularly to fixing a hung laptop before anything else to not running after money but finding my calling and chasing experiences were the core learnings of my 20s.

As I’m about to turn 33 in less than two weeks, I found myself riding the life lesson wave again. “How am I managing life in the 30s” question stared at me.

Contrary to how it might look like, I always say that age is just a number(as many of my friends told me when I asked them to contribute to this article). Ignoring my steeping age that rushed towards my 30th birthday like a break-less ambassador car and blocking my parents who looked at me as if the time for me to do anything good had gone by, I shifted my life gears in my late 20s — changed my career, left my apartment to travel long-term, found the love of my life, took physical health sincerely, and finally chose life skills over money and ignored short-term gratification.

Though my late 20s lifestyle has poured over into my 30s, life feels different now.

I don’t go out on dates with random guys or wait till Friday to meet my partner but I stop myself from pulling my hair when my husband says he doesn’t remember if he had to remember anything. I don’t wonder if I should become a chef or open a WordPress or Tumblr blog but I soak in the cold graveyard silence of editors. I ain’t figuring out which backpack to purchase but I keep a check on what I buy so I can pack and leave at a day’s notice. I don’t think about joining a gym but I do take my morning routine as seriously as a guy considers cologne on his first date and a girl her facial.

As the battles I fight and the weapons of war have changed, the life lessons from my 20s aren’t enough to ride this new decade with peace and grace.

Here I am noting down my most profound learnings and ideas I have stuck to since the turning of the decades from the twenties to the thirties. I also asked my friends — who have seen enough 30s— to comment on what has kept them going(and some in their early 30s). Let’s read.

What should the thirties lifeboat carry to sail through the storm?

1. Protect yourself from unwarranted negativity — draw boundaries.

While in the 20s you still mull over what others say or think about you, in your 30s, you can be more confident about yourself. You know yourself better.

After a conversation, you might wonder, Why was he so rude? Or she didn’t have the right to tell me that I don’t invest enough in my relationships or my decisions would make my father’s blood pressure rise.

You realize that the other person berated you or was disrespectful for no reason. Their behavior was uncalled for.

Trust that instinct. Even if you doubt you were at fault, you cannot let yourself be insulted or harmed emotionally —personal differences can only be solved by criticizing positively and not by soaking the other person in guilt and hatred.

Remember — “If someone’s ungrateful and you tell him he’s ungrateful, okay, you’ve called him a name. You haven’t solved anything.” — Robert M. Pirsig

And my experiences say close people damage more.

Be careful. I’m not suggesting you break up with these people(some strongly recommend the bye-bye route though). But you need to draw boundaries — the sooner the better. Else you would end up with so much leftover negativity that you would viciously circle in a toxic pool.

Create distance. Confront negativity. Embrace healthy conversations. Talk less. Meet less. See less. If the berating continues, you may have to cut off completely.

Listen to this song: I’m only human after all. Don’t put your blame on me.

2. You can finally stop putting yourself at the bottom of the ladder 

I value myself the least sometimes just to be nice to others.

You don’t come last and now would be a good time to respect yourself.

3. Trust your instincts.

Experience turns into instincts. Intuition is that voice in the back of your head telling you to walk out now. Trust this new depth every now and then. You won’t regret it.

4. A lot of people will be jealous of you. Don’t mind.

Don’t let them hurt you. Walk as if you own the room even if everyone else hates your guts.

5. You will be influenced by the people around you. 

The people you surround yourself with have a lot to do with who you can become. Treat people like treasure.

6. If you feel out of place, you probably are. But don’t leave, yet.

If you can learn or meet good people, stay. Complacency is a hurdle in growth.

7. Stop comparing yourself to others. 

Friends’ priorities would have evolved by now. Someone is getting married. Your college friend shifts cities. A friend is struggling with her father’s sickness. Your best friend becomes a chef.

By 30’s we start realizing what we have and what we would probably never have. There might be other 30-year-olds sitting on cash pyramids or playing with 30 kittens or posting a daily video of their Antarctica cruise having lunch with humpback whales.

Their choices led them to where they are and your choices led you to where you are. Be happy for yourself.

As a 32-year-old IIT Delhi graduate and friend Shweta told me about her 30s wisdom, “You cannot have everything. Time is limited and you need to figure out the one or two most important things in life and go for them. The most difficult part of this idea is that you are not going to be great at the aspects you de-prioritize, and you need to accept that.”

Have faith and do what feels right rather than looking around and thinking, but he sold his startup to grow broccoli?

8. Believe in the choices you made. Focus. — The first thing on what to do in your 30s list.

The 20s were all about trying everything and finding those one or two things. I settled on writing and traveling. Now things to do in your 30s are: accepting the choices, sticking to the process, and focusing.

You can’t do it all. Stop evaluating. Do the deed. Breathe.

My 40-year-old friend Victor told me that one of the things that have helped him to manage his life is, “Setting objectives and goals for my life. When I achieve one goal, I have to set a new one or I start to live like a car without direction.”

9. When the going gets hard, believe in the process blindly. 

Anything good takes time.

Remember driving down a hill with hairpin bends after sunset? While driving carefully, you trust the other drivers, right? You need a similar kind of unwavering trust while doing your best.

10. Your life is significant. 

Even something as tiny as an electron has value or a purpose, actually the tiniest of the things might have just have created the universe. One electron attachment or detachment and you would find sodium turning into salt and iron turning into rust.

Question the purpose but never refute it.

11. Stop saying I will take the risk later.

When? 30s is still the best time to jump.

Find a career you love. Or start working towards one that you might end up loving. Learn swimming. Drive a helicopter. Take those risks.

I wouldn’t say it is now or never for everything is possible. But it is now or much harder later.

12. Opinions aren’t facts. Stop treating them that way.

An acquaintance once gasped when I told her I don’t believe in god. And I was shocked by her open mouth and wide eyes.

Never say how could someone say that. People, including you, say what they have to say.

Watching others passively will keep you calm and help you co-exist.

13. Suggesting something ludicrous? The other person might not be outraged by the idea. Try before getting intimidated.

What if the unknown young boy from Wasseypur, Zeishan Quadri, hadn’t approached the successful director Anurag Kashyap with the story of the Gangs of Wasseypur(those who haven’t, need to see this movie)? Or what if Bradley Cooper didn’t approach Lady Gaga for the actress role in A Star is Born assuming she was just a singer? There is a Tamil Nadu farmer who grows half an acre of millets just for hungry birds.

Outrageous is the new normal.

While marrying a 6-year younger guy and contacting clients way out of my reach and hearing them request me to work for them, I realized anything is possible.

You cannot afford to think what if all the time. Try.

14. Anticipation is like constipation, only worse. 

Anticipating future conversations and events is a favorite pastime of us all.

What if he doesn’t call or what if my boss doesn’t like my dinosaur figurine or what if the attendant doesn’t return my money? — We are living an imaginary future while ignoring the present.

When we anticipate, we think we are protecting ourselves. But the more we anticipate, the more we get sucked into the vicious circle of going over the same thing again and again, giving the topic much more time than it deserves and worrying endlessly. And our worse worries mostly never come true, and even if they do, we find a way to get out.

Have a rough plan for a rough day, then stop thinking. Deal with things when they happen. Otherwise, you will feel forever constipated.

15. Even if you are bursting with anger and can’t stop yourself from replying right now— don’t press reply.

We feel differently later.

This one habit can stabilize your relationships in your 30s.

16. Stop expecting others to understand your journey.

Most probably you don’t understand their problems and joys either. Quit feeling like a victim and walk on.

We must take responsibility for ourselves, and not expect the rest of the world to understand what it takes to become the best that we can become — Josh Waitzkin.

17. If a friend call after ten years and you are up to your neck in meetings — pick up the call. Leave grudges for elephants.

Or call back later. Screw that. Pick up the call.

Good buddies and rich biryanis should always be welcomed with open arms.

18. Don’t get guilt-tripped by parents

Many of my 30-year-old friends told me horrible guilt-inducing parental stories. Just one missed phone call or a life lived differently or a divorce or a work failure made some of them the most horrible son or daughter. I receive tonnes of comments on my Indian marriage conundrum article from many 30-year-olds who are depressed because their parents don’t appreciate their achievements as they haven’t married yet.

You aren’t a bad son or an irresponsible daughter unless you have tried to harm your parents intentionally. You aren’t a bad sheep for avoiding your parents. Well, who would want to call when a promotion or foreign trip would call for tears and blame gaming?

Do what you have to do to stay happy and worry-free. You live your life and they live theirs. Simple physics.

19. If you have a positive family, get closer.

Let go of old knots. Tie new threads. Be there.

20. Just because you live life on your terms doesn’t make you guilty undercharge.

In your 20s, you were still trying to explain. You can now stop justifying yourself and live.

If you don’t follow the ubiquitous customs or don’t do a conventional job or want to marry on your terms, or all of it together, you don’t have to feel at fault. You aren’t wrong or any lesser than conventional people some of whom at times won’t leave a chance to prove that you are an outlier and they are better. Remember — a lot of people don’t even know what they are doing.

You are a little ball of mischief. You are a little slice of hope. Treat yourself such. Accept you are different. And don’t give a damn if others don’t understand.

21. Working out is harder than before. But remember that the word exercise is Googled 1.2 million times every month for a reason. 

In your twenties, a one-month gym membership could bring down your weight by five kilos and reduce your width by 1.9 inches. But our thirties body is more rigid. Even a 3-mile run cannot make up for a half-kilo prawn curry that we gulped down at dinner.

Exercising regularly and rigorously is the only way to stay fit, eat what you like, look good, feel better, and have energetic days and peaceful nights. There are innumerable benefits of working out but by now you have heard them all.

As a 33-year-old friend and senior from college Amit told me about his 30’s, “When we are younger, we don’t pay enough attention to our bodies and its well being. 30s makes us realize that our body needs attention. And when you start putting time exercising, eating healthy, and sleeping properly, you feel a different kind of energy. I feel more healthy in my 30s, and I wish I would have done it sooner.”

Don’t delay any further.

22. Nothing has to be wrong with you for you to meditate. 

My lovely 32-year-old friend Shweta (whom I mentioned above) told me that when she talks to her other friends about meditating, they joke that she doesn’t need to meditate for there is nothing wrong with her.

Most of us think all the time. Meditation is an ancient Indian technique — approximately dating back to 5,000 to 3,500 BCE — and to meditate means to stop thoughts momentarily and be in the present. Nothing has to be wrong with anyone for them to meditate.

I overthink. First I thought that as a writer my job is to think. But when I took a ten-day Vipassana meditation course, I realized how much calmer and cleaner a mindful life is. Now I practice mediation frequently(still not regularly though).

I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say I have found a weapon to deal with hard days and a reliable routine that helps me perform 197 percent on regular days. After meditation, I feel like my mind filter has been cleaned, and I become joyous — despite all my problems.

The Thirties is a good time to start meditating for our life starts stretching in multiple directions of marriage, startups, caring for old parents, et cetera. We don’t even realize how taut we feel sometimes. Meditation helps rebound back.

If there is one thing you want to take from this list, let it be that you will give meditation a chance.

23. Working on your personal development rather than grumbling about others will take you a long way.

How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour and that one is what we are doing — Annie Dillard.

We gossip or we look inwards and grow. Now whenever I have to understand why my friend can’t stop smoking I don’t say how irresponsible he is but I look into books to figure out how can I help him (The Power of Habits — A life savior book).

This is the time to build a habit to read personal growth books/blogs a few hours every week. Reflect on your behavior. Make your life easy by understanding people (and yourself) rather than trying to change others or blame them all the while.

Start here with my personal development articles.

24. How you do one thing is how you do everything. Do one thing right.

Shortcuts leave us further from the destination.

25. Trying to find a real connection with everyone is an overkill.

Gone are those days when I wouldn’t talk to people I disliked and tried finding the best buddy in every walking human.

Get along peacefully for a tiny bit and then run for your life.

26. Not everything can be solved by talking.

Life is easier without explaining or talking sometimes.

27. Before worrying about anything, remember — everything is temporary.

Worries of today become memory vacuums of tomorrow.

I observed how frantic I was about who said what or losing some friends and egotistical boyfriends. But these things become past before we know. So now I try to give everything its due furrows.

How many things from your twenties do you care about now? You would feel much differently two years down the line so don’t fret much.

28. Rather than shouting at someone or getting angry, leave an honest business review. Or tweet.

I have, finally, learned from my bank and telephone network experiences that there is mostly no point in screaming your lungs out loud.

Stay calm but tweet that you are enraged.

29. Impatience cannot be dealt with impatience. 

Block the hustle without losing calm. Else what is the point?

30. Don’t let external pressure filter through into your cozy inner self. 

Mental protection is as important as physical.

A 33-year-old artist friend Mrinalini told me, “While working on a project, I dug up some ancient masks. And these old masks reminded me of all these crazy emotions we feel when we are in our 30’s. Sometimes we are angry, sometimes nonchalant, unperturbed, sad, and confused. The moods are always going to be up and down. But at the center of it all lies a calm monk. The idea is to balance yourself through these varying emotions and get to a state of neutrality. Don’t negate the states and never suppress emotions. Let them flow. But don’t get affected beyond a point.”

I see that state of neutrality as that cozy inner self. The external need to be processed before it could reach our interior where it can cause damage.

Like if I have a tough freelance client or a piece of news bothering me, I do feel all the above emotions but I resolve them before they could make me stay awake at night.

ancient masks.jpeg
Ancient masks Mrinalini studied.

masks she drew showing all 30s emotions.jpeg
Masks she drew.

 

31. Tell all unimportant people that you are busy. And for all the important people, you are busy in the morning.

The above two make morning personal health routine and work set smooth sail every day. Do try.

32. A schedule gives a feeling of control. Invest in creating and following one. 

A schedule might just change your 30s that seem to be going crazy with all the added responsibilities.

As a 36-year-old friend, Nimish said, “What has changed everything in the 30s is the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time. My sleep cycle and sleep quality have improved. I am less tired and more energetic. I am also able to work in a much better schedule.”

33. Breaking the routine is important to get connected with our surroundings.

We lose touch with our surroundings when we run on habits. Breaking to reconnect is as crucial as automating.

34. Fighting with your partner about who they are is like crying over a salty ocean. 

I have finally started letting go of my husband’s microsecond memory and his attention to salient only.

We all come in unique flavors, and even though we can change our irritating outwardly habits, we cannot change who we are. How can my partner remember things he doesn’t even care about?

If you need a whole wheat loaf, first you replace only 30 percent of all-purpose flour with wheat flour. Replacing the entire all-purpose for whole wheat would change the loaf and it might not even rise well. You might have to recreate the entire recipe.

The person you wish she could turn into is not the person you fell in love with. And your partner’s entire circuit would go haywire if you meddle too much with the wiring.

So quit fighting about basics and optimize what you can.

35. Appreciate even the tiniest of your achievements 

That we aren’t on Page 1 of Hindustan times or can’t fly like Batman are stupid things to think and even stupider to say. Our achievements stand no less than anyone else’s. The trick is to try our best.

And even if we won’t pat our back on getting the project shortlisted or finally getting that lettuce thread out of our wisdom tooth, then what is the point?

These tiny pats and celebrations make us jump for the higher grape. So stock some wine and go out often.

36. A better tomorrow is today — The best mantra of all.

Whenever I worried about getting a job or publishing a blog post or my blog crashing down, I realized how the journey was the key. For when I arrived at the destination, I was already looking at the next stop. A job meant a good performance, a published blog post meant marketing, and an up-and-running blog meant going back to work.

Appreciate what you have so far. And don’t make it all about the things of consequence else you would be like a train that only departs and never arrives.

37. Blaming others never makes life easier, it makes everything harder.

With age, the emotional baggage seems to add up. But it is up to you to poke the blame bubble now and then.

38. Not everyone is against you 

Every time a handyman shows up at my place, buried but disappointing plumber and internet service experiences wake up to life. But now I am learning that having some faith doesn’t hurt.

People might be scared or moody or querulous but they might not be against us or aren’t taking advantage all the time. So let go of that protective shield once in a while. Relax.

Don’t be scared to wipe your experience slate clean and start anew.

39. Say no often.

40. Empathy isn’t always good.

Stepping every time in someone else’s shoes might scare you of their reaction.

Step out. Wear your own shoes. It is their turn now.

41. Dance.

When was the last time you danced?

When I dance I become jello. Dancing can reconnect you to your body and is known to make us happier. Put on some music and go crazy often.

42. Expecting reciprocation of a gesture done with love is as ridiculous as a mango tree demanding lychees.

In our twenties, we expect our friend to gift us a notebook for we sent her Shantaram.

But the other person didn’t ask for anything. You did something nice for them because you felt like it. Don’t make your gesture anyone’s responsibility when finally now you can afford it all (I’m talking beyond materialistic gifts).

43. Let us accept that we mostly don’t know what is happening.

I’ve seen some 30-year-olds swaying in a swag of their new mansion or a bright BMW. And soon I see them crashing and taking a head fall.

Staying modest helps for we never know it all.

44. Investing in a good coffee machine is as important as getting a good house.

 Well, for some of us at least.

45. A long warm shower or a cold ice pack on our face can fix more than we believe.

46. If a long warm shower, a good massage, a nature walk, and meditation haven’t fixed you, reach out to a mental health professional.

47. Love is not overrated. 

If you give love a chance(or many chances), it will prove you wrong. Now is the time to hold onto it. Haven’t got it? It is never too late to find love. [Tips on approaching men and asking out women.]

48. But love can’t guarantee a peaceful life. That is up to you.

Giving adequate space to your partner is as important as filling the cake mold only up to its half capacity. Else the cake will rise and spill over, like your relationship would when things get heated.

49. Let go of small things. 

I’m still learning how to do this one but seems like it is the secret to all peace. Damn it.

50. Save. Save. Save. 

My savings save me on days when I can’t get enough freelance work or don’t have the energy to work after publishing heavily on my blog that is taking baby steps to earn.

Saving for the future is like jumping into the ocean with a lifejacket. Now you try to swim or float or stay, you won’t drown.

51. Want to alter your life in 30s? Read good books. 


52. To run your life, keep the system running

Oranges won’t walk into your home. The bathroom won’t vacuum on its own. Families, offices, a nomadic couple — all manage their daily life because they do a set of things every day that keep the system running.

Don’t count the daily chores time as wastage. Instead, learn to find joy in these simple activities for at the end of the day sometimes those moments spent together are all we have. [Read what actually matters in this Le Petite Prince inspired piece.]

53. Be Kind to yourself.

The world won’t go upside down if you make one mistake. Don’t get stuck in the loop of what you could have done differently.

Remember — Every failure is one step closer to success.

54. Build habits. One word solution for it all.

The hardest of things becomes easy when turned into habits. If you haven’t tried, start with this piece on importance of habits and then go onto these tiny and healthy habits you can adopt in your 30s.

55. Sleep when nothing works.

56. Going into nature often can keep you hydrated.

57. The world doesn’t halt when we feel sad. But we can pause.

First, you will sulk, but when you take some time off and breathe, you will see your life in a new light.  Follow that light. (Travelling in your 30s? No? You should. Read how travel can transform life.)

58. Be thankful when you can’t be anything else.

Say thank you. Soon, you will ask yourself, “what am I saying thanks for?”  And you will realize how much you have to thank the universe for.

A friend Veronica — in her late 30s — said: “Focus more on the positive of life and learn to be happy with simple things. And the motto should be don’t worry, be happy. The most important is to accept each stage of life, live it, and, most of all, enjoy it. Every day, every year is a gift, and we should not focus on getting old.”(translated from Spanish)

ना हार में ना जीत में, किंचित नहीं भयभीत मैं — Neither am I scared of losing nor of winning

— is the best message for this decade. Courtesy a 32-year-old friend Himanshu.

Starting over in your 30s? Read my narrative on finding my passion and changing careers from engineering to writing.

tulips showing the journey ahead for life in your 30s.jpg

Thanks to all my friends who contributed to this article.

How is life in your 30s? Let me know in the comments.

Why You Should Break The Routine, Sometimes

To break the routine or not to break the routine?

I woke up feeling low-spirited today morning.

As my 7:10 am alarm rang, I extended my arm and fumbled for my phone on the floor, where it lays at night. I switched off the alarm. Then I pulled my arm inside my white duvet again and closed my eyes. My partner shut off his 7:20 am alarm, too.

While he pushed his phone under his crumbly pillow, we took a peek at each other, and then our eyes closed.

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47 Tiny Ways to Make Someone Happy (or Smile)

Though we all want to make someone happy or smile, we get so caught up in our work and lives and travel that we don’t bother to be any nicer or do beyond what is expected of us. 

I am no different and I openly talk about how my husband and I loosened up on being sweet to each other during the beginning of the lockdown to vent out a bit of pressure. But then we realized, hey, now we only got each other. There is no traffic, we can work together from home, and food is still abundant. We should sing don’t worry, be happy all day long. 

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The Pandemic Chronicles  – The Acceptance

On one April morning. The lockdown continues. Bengaluru, India.

 

Hello Friends,

How have you been?

I have been juggling with writing, admin work, personal stuff, cleaning, laundry, cooking, and staying updated with the news.

Different news clips catch my husband’s and my attention even though we both scroll Google News. We share and collate our information at the end of the day during dinner unless he decides to escape to the bathroom. (For context you would need to read the first part of these pandemic chronicles. I can only hint that he avoids a dinner of raw eggplants and bottle gourd still in one piece.) 

Only one morning did we see a video on COVID statistics else we prefer to not distract ourselves at the beginning of the day.

When I shut out the global crisis, I feel peaceful. The atmosphere seems perfect to work and just be. There is no traffic. Most factories have closed down. Office buildings, malls, and stores are closed. Flights are halted. People are at home. Of course, I feel horrible for appreciating the world peace as all these business shutdowns mean lost jobs, unemployment, lack of food, and irreversible life-long changes. 

Irrespective of how bad I feel I can’t help but notice that the skies, the oceans, and the land have been reset by a continuous world quarantine.

Within a month of the lockdown, ecosystems are returning to their old states. After years, Punjab saw the Himalayan skyline from its homes and mustard fields. The birds are louder. Civets and nilgais roam on Delhi roads. In Japan, deers have come out of the park and are now on roads. Someone posted a picture of peacocks in Mumbai streets. Olive Ridley turtles are laying eggs on the beaches of Odisha. Dolphins frolic on Mumbai beaches. There was an elephant in Dehradun. Someone saw wild boars in cities. Then there was sheep somewhere. No, it was not New Zealand.

Would anacondas, tigers, elephants, and sloths come out in another two-three months of lockdown?

Not only environments but people, too, are restoring to their adolescent versions when living freely and taking over the world was a higher priority than being puppeteered by the fear of missing out. We work, read, cook, eat homemade food, meditate, do yoga, paint, clean our kitchens, do gardening, and are taking control of our lives like never before. 

When I go out in the balcony, I see a foreign woman making milkshakes in her kitchen throughout the day. Or maybe she is making lassi to cool down in this Bangalore heat. From the same building, the confident voice of a guy on his team meetings races towards me.

But here I am pacing up and down trying to call my banks’ customer care. I understand that we are in a tough situation but I feel that my bank relationship managers have got more reason to not do their work now. 

If I could be any further frustrated by the dirty tricks that my bank plays, I would surprise myself. I have an account in another bank, too, but they are even more pathetic, if that is even possible. This is the nth time they’ve canceled my debit card (in the pretext to send me a new one) without even asking me. One day I swipe the card at the grocery store, and the machine says invalid card. Once I was traveling in Malaysia, I swiped my card at a store, and the store attendant said something I couldn’t understand. Google Assistant translated the message to say the card was invalid. I have many more stories. If you work at a bank and promise me that you won’t charge me interest on my savings, yes that has happened too, please reach out. (Do message me if you want to know the name of these banks and want to stay away from them. Hint: one of them is synonymous with town. Or should I just write the names here?)

If only systems worked. A car mechanic charged 400 rupees to visit apart from the usual service charges as he claimed that the police are beating the service guys even if they show the identification card especially granted for the pandemic times. I believe him in a blink and pay.

The service industry is suffering. Daily laborers are stuck in big cities, unable to go home. Artists have lost livelihood. The health care industry is overworked. I have still not been able to push away the Italian nurses’ faces deeply lined by wearing masks for a long time out of my mind.

Weirdly, some people are working incessantly while others are losing jobs, businesses, and even future opportunities for at least a few months. Nearly 200 million people are predicted to end up out of work.

Delivery guys must be in high demand right now though.

Amazon, Flipkart, Swiggy— the companies that never sell groceries — are now selling essential items, too. After a few weeks of shut down, the portals opened with limited deliveries due to a shortage of staff and other constraints. My husband and I compete amongst ourselves to see who can book an order for milk and bread first, and we are not the only ones racing for an online delivery slot.

When the daily laborers got a chance to go home, they fled. That there was no commute and they had to walk hundreds of kilometers, all the way home, in the rain and the sun, mostly without any medical help and food or a roof at night, didn’t deter them. Some walked for days on highways and railway tracks with their infants, with their newly married partners, with their hungry dogs, with their clothes in a bundle, with their stoves on their backs, stopping by the railway tracks to cook pulses and rice, or waiting in long lines to get some curry and chapati, so that they could continue walking. 

Those daily wagers moved despite their fear. We are all living on despite our fears. The fear of losing jobs, of losing incomes, of losing loved ones, of losing a complete year is slowly creeping up. We clutch onto whatever we have.

The human lot is a restless one though.

A friend said that now when she can’t travel, she wants to travel. 

I prefer not to think about visiting any place right now. More than hiking and breathing in the fresh air and stretching my limbs I would be worried about sanitizing and washing everything from the binoculars to the akki rotis. (More on traveling in the pandemic here.)

But how can we complain about not being able to travel when even funerals are banned. The one who had to leave is gone. Left behind are the friends and the relatives, masked and restricted, even from mourning together. They can’t even complain as the restrictions are for their good. Maybe the events should be strictly monitored to make sure people maintain distance and follow the best practices but does the government has that many resources to spare?

I didn’t know while writing this diary in April but soon I would also attend the prayer services of a friend gone too soon. In the hospital, instead of hugging her mother, I would caress aunty’s arm and then would soon soak my hands in sanitizer. Instead of wiping another acquaintance’s tears, I would imagine how bad it would be if I had to get admitted to the hospital due to COVID. The thoughts of getting sick, without anyone close to help, with my partner on my side, who might be restrained from coming close to me, the imminent danger I could put him in, the thought of all the days I would lose, the breath I would lose, and wondering if my body couldn’t fight the disease and how much my family would worry would keep me on my toes. I would keep distance and wouldn’t complain about not being able to hold a proper funeral. 

The death rate of Italy, the US, Brazil, and the UK has worried us all. 

I wonder how many old people who passed away were prepared to die. How many children and grandchildren were planning their elder’s 50th wedding anniversary or a hundredth birthday or waiting to show them their first published book or excited to have them at their wedding? Those plans must have been buried with the dead ones. 

Old people, pregnant women, children, and people with chronic illnesses — people who have weaker or a developing immunity are advised to stay home.

My parents don’t leave the house, they tell me. They have found solace in their garden, which is fragrant with the Queen of the Night year-round. Their madhumalti vine is pinker than usual, bowed under the weight of the flowers. The tailor bird’s chicks growing up in a money plant leaf nest keep my father and his phone busy.

tree painting.jpg
This is how I think of trees. Blobs of color and life.

 

While the elders have to be cautious, the young ones are bored at home. 

My friend’s son just received two lessons at home, and his teachers are wondering if they could continue the video lessons. Homeschooling might finally catch up, as work from home is lastly appreciated.

Hilarious work-from-home videos are doing rounds on the internet. Somewhere two furry cats are punching each other in the background while their journalist mother reads live news on the television. Pantless journalists have gotten some limelight, too. Some people didn’t notice their laptops had hung right when they were logging out of a Zoom meeting and undressed in front of their entire team on camera.

Life-long memories are being created.

But not everyone is sympathetic even now. Some Chinese pet parents have been throwing their dogs and cats from their balconies as “cats and dogs can spread coronavirus” news went viral on their social media. 

Stray animals seem better but they must be so clueless right now. What about the street dogs who used to eat out of the restaurants’ trash? Wait. What about homeless people? I am not sure about the homeless but on my rare evening walk, I see bamboo plates, some heaped with rice and some half-empty, on the streets. The dogs are being fed.

There are the homeless, and then there are people with homes. Some of them were moving jobs and homes and cities. Friends were to go to college this year. Parents were returning to India after visiting their children. Someone was selling a house. Someone was buying one. 

Nothing matters anymore. Life is on hold. 

Even crime rates have reduced. But what about those victims who were waiting for their case hearings or whose lawyers were in the middle of collecting proofs? What about the men and women stuck with abusive partners? What about the children who were being molested at homes?

This is an article in which, unlike my usual irritating disposition of wanting to consider every possibility, I don’t want to peek inside the nooks and corners of each and every situation. It is better to be ignorant sometimes. 

To keep my sanity, I avoid most news except facts and statistics that come from high-authority websites. But I read on Facebook that people are drowning in the pools of bad news. Please don’t believe everything you see. Also, we can’t control most of the things that happen.

 

 

pizza in pandemic 2020 life bengaluru india.jpg
Pizza helps, believe me.

 

People are worried about getting jobs at this time. The US and the UK might establish universal basic pay and pay their citizens 1200$ a month, but would India ever be able to implement a country-wide support system? Let us ignore for the time being that in the US a forgivable debt of about half a trillion-dollar was distributed to big businesses and public companies and hitherto no one knows the real distribution. (Later both the US and Spain would roll out Universal Basic Pays.)

Beaurecracy, corruption, and religion have made the situation worse.

South Korea, Iran, and India — these are countries where religious congregations turned into coronaviruses’ incubation centers. You must have heard about Patient 21 from South Korea. What a shame and what a name!

But strange things are happening all around. Suddenly the movie Contagion is being viewed all around the world. Even though Netizens warned me not to see the movie in these panic times, I watched it and wasn’t gripped by fear, contrary to the popular opinion. Until we face something bad ourselves, we keep believing that nothing would happen to us. My deceased friend’s brother also said that mental health was never a thing for him much less imagining that depression would kill his sister one day. 

So much we don’t know. So much we ignore. As if life would be eternal. As if we are all immortals. 

Before this pandemic, I didn’t even know what pandemic is. I never searched. It was never a thing. But now when it is here, knocking on our doors, waiting to barge in, I wonder what we could have done differently. If you had a chance to go back, what would you change? 

But rather than focusing on the bygones, let us see what we can do now. 

I know that we will find balance out of this chaos. We will move towards equilibrium. We are moving towards equilibrium. But we can’t see it just yet. 

Until then, we need to take day by day. We have to hold hands. We have to let go.

 

Stay safe, stay engaged, and have a nice laugh.

Priyanka

 

sunset.jpg

How’s your journey been in the pandemic? How are you coping? Would love to hear from you 🙂

 

The Pandemic Chronicles – The Beginning

Hello Friends,

How have you been?

Dictionary.com tells me that a virus means an infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host.

A small molecule that cannot be even seen by the naked eye, that needs us, humans, to live and multiply, has pushed us inside our homes and have locked us from the outside. 

Here are some of my observations from the months spent locked inside the house during the pandemic. I wrote these updates as a personal diary for me to look back into the events later. But then I decided to publish the journal entries for everyone. Of course, not before sprinkling a little bit of humor to the otherwise serious matter. I hope you laugh a bit. And if I upset you unintentionally, please forgive me for I am just a die-hard comic. 

Read More

77 Deep Questions About Life – And Their Answers

Important Life Questions to Ask Yourself

 

I remember a quote that once said, ask the right questions. Over the years I have realized that questions are much more important than answers as without asking the right queries we can never hope for the right knowledge.

But it took me a while to even understand what questions I should ask of myself. Some of those doubts were always there in the background, hovering, emphasizing that I didn’t understand life. I had a vague feeling that I was dismaying over things that didn’t matter while ignoring the universal realities that would pull me out of my little problem bubbles. But I wasn’t sure. And I never took out time to pin those deep questions about life, and, hence, could never answer them.

The process of questioning deepened when I started writing and reading full-time. As I had redesigned my life from a corporate cycle of drudgery, I was too eager to question everything and to be better at the things I had failed at before. It was like I had found vigor again. The more I read, the more I understood, the more life questions I had, and the more incomprehensible it seems now.

As Franz Kafka once said, “Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate… but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.”

The effort continues.

I am putting down some thought-provoking questions that have hitherto found me here. I have followed a natural course and have clubbed thematic questions together.

I have answered all the questions to keep an account of my thoughts on the matter. As you will see, I have some answers, but some of the questions to life still dodge me. You can completely ignore my responses and find your own.

Along with the important questions about life and their answers, I am also putting down the books that have helped me understand the matter.

I plan to update these self reflection questions and answers year-on-year or whenever my understanding changes.

Till then, I present to you the questionnaire of life from my lens.

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Travel Inspires Change and One Small Change Can Transform Our Life.

Everything begins with a story.

Let me recite a story from Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habits. This is a true story of a woman named Lisa(as per the records) who was the subject of a scientific study for understanding behavioral change and habits.

Please note: Though the story is the key to appreciate this article, I am summarizing the story for those readers who don’t want to read it. If you want to read the story, go to it here. Else continue reading the summary. 

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Powerful Quotes On Everything in Life

Powerful Quotes on Life

 

Like many others, I read about the lives and work of many great artists, writers, physicists, musicians, innovators, thinkers. But rather than quoting them, I prefer to share my interpretation of their ideas, generally. I feel that I haven’t assimilated their words well if I share them plain rather than doughing them with my thoughts.

But it is not always about the source or amalgamation of motivation. Ideas and inspiration need to keep floating in the universe irrespective of where they come from. After all, we are only the means to an end, and we all need a guiding light.

In this piece, I am sharing some of the most profound quotes about life that I have come across. The hope is to read these avant-garde quotes, to come back to them whenever we need them, or sift through them even when we don’t feel we require them to keep ourselves soaked in inspiration and to not let it deplete.

Let the journey of inspiration and belief begin.

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Important Lessons in Life: Everything I’ve Learned So Far

Important Lessons I Learned in Life: Things to Fall Back Upon

 

The Artist is no other than he who unlearns what he has learned, in order to know himself — E.E. Cummings

 

While writing full-time for almost three years now, I have spent a lot more time looking inwards (and would continue to do so) than I did before. When I reflect on myself, I am able to look outwards with more compassion and a deeper understanding of life. And this growing insight into the external and internal world form the foundation of my personal growth and creativity, both of which, in turn, helps me to understand more.

Learning paves way for more learning.

In this piece on important lessons in life, I share everything that I have learned so far as a writer and from before. I believe that all that was important must have made itself available to my mind and heart while I was writing the article. And if I have missed something, either I do not care about it enough or it will appear in some form later and is not crucial until then.

Though this collection of lessons learned in life is more a cheat sheet for me and less an article for a reader looking for life’s wisdom, I hope I have shared experiences that will help you sail along this immense sea of life with a bit more ease. I am 32 years old, and this list of life learnings is long so you can skip ahead and read a section (all are randomly arranged with short titles) or go grab a coffee and then come back later to continue from where you left.

a picture used for important lessons in life a man standing by a lake side and thinking -Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Landschaft_mit_Gebirgssee,_Morgen.jpgBy Caspar David Friedrich / Public domain

 

Lifelong Learnings on Work, Skills, and Perseverance.

Quoting Galib or Bukowski or Edison doesn’t make anyone a poet or a writer or a visionary. Ideas hit hard as a hailstorm by living a dedicated life. 1

You will have to put in immense effort to create a remarkable life. There is also a teeny-tiny factor of luck. 2

Things take their course. Hydrate yourself with patience. 3

You can only shift the world right now, not in five minutes. 4

In simple terms —The quality of the 10,000 hours you spend to build skills is significant. The number of hours I sit on the chair to write is important, but the number of hours I don’t know if I was on the chair is even more important. Don’t pretend, do. 5

A tiny bit and one more tiny bit and another tiny bit matters̶ more than one large bit. The sum of many small things might not be greater than one big one, but several intangible forces start working in your favor when you are consistent. 6

 

Life Lessons on Honesty. 

Your honesty aids you more than it benefits anyone else. 7

Honesty is a formless, private, invincible savior. 8

 

Lessons from Life on Personality, Behavior, and Happiness.

A good life is not defined by work or relationships. The size of your bungalow or the freshness of the kingfish at dinner doesn’t quantify happiness either. Though these things might affect your mood or make you more comfortable, none of these alone or together can keep you happy and fulfilled. 9

Your temperament decides if you would live a good life filled with happiness. Temperament is the mesh that holds everything together. 10

If you get upset at small things, you will stay unhappy and guilt-prone. 11

Having a bad temperament doesn’t make you a bad person. But people around you would feel like using you as a punchbag every full moon. 12

You can always improve your nature but you will have to lift heavier weights¹ than you do in the gym. 13

Every day, the smallest of the things that you do make up who you are and what you would become. 14

 

Key Learnings About Work.

If someone talks about work-life balance, tell them they are lying. 15

Work-life is not different from personal-life— You don’t enter into a new realm after breakfast. It is the same world of (your) ideas, cat, husband’s messages, ginger tea, and books. 16

After work, you don’t migrate to a new realm of personal life, but you get access to a more freely flowing time. It is the same world of your thoughts, interests, and temperament unless you hate your work. 17

The more fluidly work and personal life flow into each other, the easier it is. And then one day you can’t tell the difference which is which. 18

Work should not suck. 19

Passion is the remedy for some people. 20

In the absence of passion, there is still always something that you can be good at. Find it. 21

 

abstract-color-paint-painting-art-exploring.jpg

 

Lessons Taught by Life on Individuality. 

Practice abstinence from following people unless you want to always walk behind. 22

 

Learnings on Performance.

How you do one thing is how you do everything. 23

How to know if you are doing the best? A constant judgment of your choices or results would leave you more confused than a cat looking at her reflection. Your best efforts aggregate over a period of time when you work with compassion, dedication, patience, and maneuver your path every time you realize you have made a mistake. 24

You can always do better, but you don’t know how, yet. 25

 

Valuable Lessons on Past. 

Rueing over a mistake is worse than trying to unfry the salmon. 26

You shouldn’t care about that Friday in 2014 when your ex Italian boyfriend threw your cashmere sweater out of the balcony. You would lie to yourself to fill the gap of memories³ and would hurt yourself by thinking imaginary things that are not winning you the best humor-book award either. 27

Past is an eerie glow of a dead star, and your reality is that milky moon up in the sky today.

The more you think about the past, the more habitual you become of thinking about the past — You start thinking to justify your actions and life so far but every time you feel you are done you will find more things to defend. You increase your reasons to worry rather than reducing them, ironically. Now you are watching the past from behind a hazy screen while your present is hazing away, too. 28

Letting go is the key to fulfillment.29

 

Important Life Lessons on Things of real consequence.

 

Small things are small. To keep them small you will have to stop obsessing over them. 30

Removing the phrase “it wasn’t fair” from your vocabulary can take you a long way. 31

Don’t be burdened by things that don’t seem to go your way. Things happen on their own accord, and it is hard to say what would do us good or what would do us bad. 32

You start to forget who you were once upon a time. But if you remind yourself of your hard times(or as they say keep those old clothes hidden in the back of the closet), it would be easier for you to stay kind and compassionate towards others. 33

The easier it is to bother you, the more you will be teased(by friends and by life). 34

 

Lessons Life Taught me About Happiness.

The world doesn’t care if you are in a bad mood or a good one even if you are Amitabh Bachchan. 35

No one is responsible for your happiness. 36

Self-pitying people always create a reason to pity themselves. You are not a reason for anyone’s unhappiness or the heart attacks they tell you they might get. 37

 

Valuable Life Lessons on People and Human Condition.

 

If you want people to care, tell stories they care about first. 38

People are waiting for you to cheer up so that they can laugh with you. 39

Laugh and make people laugh to keep it light. 40

People will always tell you to do what they think is right. And they all think they are right. 41

The more you try to please people, the difficult it becomes to please them. 42

People accept criticism better once you have appreciated them. 43

People like you if you put yourself below them. Put yourself on a lower pedestal a few times but don’t get used to it else you will always find yourself crawling on the grass. 44

People like you more if you let go of small things. 45

If you banter with people and show that you understand where they are coming from and you are like them, too, you have them. 46

The day you stand up to lead, people will follow you. But they will only continue following you if you bring conviction and relentlessness. 47

Everyone – even the richest and most popular people – get scared of missing out. Everyone gets jealous. 48

 

group of people.jpgChristian Satin / CC0

 

Lessons Taught By Life On Worry, Productivity, and Fun.

Worry is constipation for the mind. 49

You worry more than you need to

You always overestimate the amount of effort or pain required to complete a task. When the time comes, you don’t quantify the effort and only care for the thing to get over. Later on, you always feel that it wasn’t that hard or it was different from how you had imagined it. Worry less. 50

Bad days won’t leave you alone. Someone who doesn’t have bad days is playing PubG on Google Pixel or binge-watching Money Heist. 51

Instead of brooding on bad days, do something you enjoy, whatever gives you pleasure or brings clarity. Get to your deliverables when you stop wishing the world to end. Now you don’t have a bad day but a few relaxing hours. 52

 

Learnings on Fun.

Sometimes doing nothing and watching squirrels frolicking around should be your g̶o̶a̶l̶ essence of the day. 53

Fun is not the coolant but it is the fuel. Or: Don’t play to work better — play to play. 54

Enjoyment doesn’t mean instant-gratification — You don’t have to grin every second, but the idea is not to cry to sleep every day either. 55

Instant gratification does refill our willpower. Now manipulate the willpower to do whatever you like. 56

 

children learning through different phases of life - everything I have learned so far.jpg
Random, coincidental fun

Life Wisdom on Communication.

Language needs to be changed according to the company like one changes socks as per the wind of the day. 57

 

What Life Taught Me on Seriousness versus Frolick.

In the advent of being sincere and poetic and philosophical, you don’t have to don Neitzsche’s countenance or stop forwarding cat memes. The greatest philosophy is in knowing and accepting who you are. 58

You can not only alienate yourself from others by being too solemn, but you can also miss out on intersecting with the free wavelengths of life. 59

Be sincere, not serious. 60

 

Lesson on Knowledge.

If you know a little bit about everything, you are better placed than a lot of other people. 61

The easiest way to learn a lot about a lot of things is by reading books. 62

Don’t learn to be better than others. Learn to understand better. 63

 

Meaningful Lessons on Money.

Money can’t buy happiness or wisdom or well-being or relationships or anything valuable. But no-money buys unhappiness. 64

You are precious if you are not running behind money like everyone else. If you have skills, the money will come. 65

Money can buy flight tickets to Colombia and peri-peri french fries and these come close to happiness on some days. 66

 

Lifelong Lessons on Kindness.

Every act of kindness has the power to multiply like water hyacinth. 67

Kindness flows back. 68

Being kind sucks sometimes. But you do it inspite. 69

Ask everyone who shows up at your home for water. You never know who is drying in the drought. 70

You shouldn’t depend on your partner to do all the benevolent deeds — If he is softer than you, you still have to keep your flame of compassion and kindness ablaze. 71

 

Life Ideas on Care, Writing, Art, and Performance.

Everyone can write. But you can only write well on the things you care about. 72

A lot of things can be only done well if you care. 73

Don’t shun something you aren’t proud of. See how you can improve. And that might make all the difference. 74

Lack of focus might not have anything to do with the quality  of the result— Maybe it wasn’t the right time for that idea. Try it later. 75

Believing in a secret ingredient can delay you from forming your own magical formula. 76

You cannot be there before you are there. The process is the result. 77

The road only shows up when you walk ahead. 78

 

the road the journey the path.jpg

 

Deep Life Lessons on Feelings and experiences.

We feel, and that is why anything matters². 79

You can never feel anyone else’s experience or happiness so don’t pity them or hate them. 80

 

Hard (But True) Lifelong Lessons on Jealousy, Comparison, and Imitation 

Everyone is figuring out something. 81

The people you think got it easy never had it easy. Even a white, well-educated American male struggles in deciding how to handle the privilege. And his experience counts. 82

If you want to get something that someone else has, you should try exchanging your genome to theirs, living their past life, and getting in their head first. If you haven’t had enough, try following their routine for a month. Start with Elon Musk. Now try and notice how absurd the idea was. 83

The more we try to become like someone, the further we go away from becoming ourselves. 84

If you are doing something because others are doing it, then the only thing you are doing is copying. 85

You don’t have to avoid something because others are not doing it. 86

 

Learnings on Forgiveness.

You can forgive people or you can reproach them about how they hurt you — But it is not about them anymore, it is about you. 87

Instead of a reprimand, a gentle nudge in the right direction can do more good to everyone. 88

 

Life Lessons Learnt on People, Dispositions, and Human Condition.

 

Experience helps but being a novice at something could be lucky sometimes. 89

People don’t mean everything they say. Stop taking everything literally. 90

Not everything is about you. 91

Instead of defending yourself, hit a joke with another joke. Have fun. 92

Crime isn’t committed by bad people — It is committed by people. You could have been one of those people if things didn’t work out for you the way they did. 93

Good looks leave a better first impression. Sorry, the world is biased. 94

 

a girl freely playing in water.jpg

Life Learnings About Friends.

 

Close friends can heal you faster than a cup of tea. Create healthy relationships for they carry you when you cannot walk. 95

Friends won’t wait for you eternally — Their life goes on while you are busy creating yours. You can either be in both lives at the same time or you can see yourself disappearing slowly from their story. 96

 

Lessons on Doing One Thing at a Time.

Don’t try to do it all . 97

If you can’t resist doing it all — do it one at a time. 98

Multitask in things that aren’t that important. 99

 

Inspirational Lessons on Blogging and Art.

 

Blogging or writing or cartooning or doodling or Youtubing comes from a space within. It is not about how much you know, it is about how less you know and how curious you are. 100

No two blogs can be the same — people behind them are driven by different things. 101

A dilettante can’t win long-term by pretending. 102

Everyone looks at things differently.

 

Lessons on Things of Real Consequence.

The world is a jungle book — and you can be the man-cub. Being different could be the way for you. 103

Not everyone cares for your stupid examples. 104

If you are thinking about the same problems over and over (the dictionary of Obscure Sorrows describes this weariness with the same old issues as Altschmerz) it doesn’t mean that you haven’t made any progress. Progress reflects in how you struggle with those problems. 105

It is okay to not know about the classics of art as long as you know about the classics of life. 106

 

jungle of the world depicted in the louis vivin painting.jpg Fotographie Stephan Rohner / CC BY-SA

 

Life Learnings on Love.

There are fewer things better than love. Let yourself fall in love. 107

Love will come and go but don’t forget to work on yourself while you are floating in the pool of love. Else you will sink soon. 108

Your partner is your portable home. 109

 

Valuable Life Lessons on Overthinking.

If you are on the wrong path, you wouldn’t miss it because you were not thinking about it. But if you overbear yourself with the same thoughts, you would definitely end up tumbling. 110

 

Learnings on Work, Monotony, Skills, and Fun.

 

When something becomes really boring, then we are in a position to change the rules. 111

This constant tug of war between work and recreation cannot be always justified by spending more time at work — it can be only pacified by being more aware while working. 112

Doing laundry is not a waste of time. Rather than detesting the household chores, you can be open about learning something new and giving it your best as life isn’t only about the time you spent typing on your Mac. Instead, you type because you live a life away from the keyboard. Remember that work and life aren’t disjoint. 113

 

Lessons on What Matters.

It is okay if you don’t remember high school science. But high school science does make adult life better. 114

Keep your basics right. Visit the dentist. Get that check-up done. Now shift to autopilot and free yourself for other stuff. 115

Don’t get married or have a baby as absentmindedly as you switch on the television every night after returning from work. Getting married or having a child is a personal decision in spite of what the world tells you. 116

Television is designed to engage you/keep you hooked in brainless activities. Unhook and pick a book or play cards with friends, you will be more fulfilled. 117

 

Life Lessons on Habits.

Habits can kill you or make you. Go back to the time when your mother used to discourage you from eating chocolate solely by making a statement about it being a good habit or not. 118

Worrying about forming good habits is paradoxical. Don’t do it. 119

 

playing as a child.jpg

 

Lessons on Things of Real Consequence.

Life could end anytime. But you live like it won’t, ever. And then it does. 120

People will judge you, but it has nothing to do with you. 121

Keeping a gun isn’t about personal protection. 122

Democracy is a pretense. 123

Don’t let any relationship define you. 124

Banks never care about the customer. They only pretend to. Think for yourself. 125

It is okay to feel lonely. 126

Parents are jealous of their children. Your life always seems easier than theirs. Don’t hold it against them. 127

Getting the best every time is only worth it if you are unaffected if you don’t get the best. Worrying over perfection is paradoxical. 128

If you can think about it, someone else can, too. If you feel it, someone else has felt it, too. What makes you different from others is what you do after. 129

Life isn’t like a book, but more like concentric circles. 130

Creativity is larger than life because it creates life. 131

A day is made up of good time, okay time, and bad time. 132

Every day/sunrise/sunset is different from the previous one, even though sometimes it feels similar. 133

Nothing can be resolved by reading an article about it. Practice will solve the problem. 134

Stubborn, egotistic, and relentless avant-garde people shift the world. 135

You like to hide things deep inside. Then you think about those things to comfort yourself in the hour of need, and that is okay. 136

You would feel like hurting people at times. Especially if they are more successful or more beautiful or they have hurt you before. But don’t do it. 137

 

Lessons Learned From Life on Learning.

 

Ethnolinguistics should be a subject in school. So should be emotional intelligence, personal growth, sex education, writing, arts, speech, gender identity, international relations, communication skills. If they are not, study them on your own. 138

Learn new words to express the best you can.  139

Studying a subject meticulously doesn’t take the poetry out of it. You would know the concepts and patterns so that you can identify them and use them or refuse to use them on your will. 140

 

sketch of a woman.jpg

 

Learnings on Fulfillment.

Watching that molten sunset could be one of the most fulfilling things of the day. 141

 

About Following instructions.

Don’t do something just because someone else asked you to do it. Run on reason. 142

 

Lessons on What Matters.

You are what you think. Think right. 143

Creativity is mostly about living fully, laughing, playing, running around, crying, talking, meeting friends. Then comes hard repetition. 144

When you don’t understand something, pause. Or restart. 145

 

 

What I Learned from Traveling Solo.

You don’t need to justify why you want to travel alone. (the linked article is only an expression of how I feel when I travel and not a justification. )146

The beginning of a solo trip is always a little scary. You feel that it is you against the world. You imagine that everyone is watching you or laughing at you because you are wandering alone. But if you let the fear go for a second and look up, you will see that people are minding their own business and not staring at you. Trust the universe. 147

You would have to step out of your comfort zone if you want to grow. Travel is the means to this end. 148

 

Lessons on Things of Real Consequence.

A cat, or anyone else, is yours because of the time you give to each other⁴. 149

Everyone gets scared. But in spite of the fear, you should let yourself walk, make a mistake, receive feedback with open arms, and do it again. Break that wall of fear brick by brick. Now you are free to face another fear. 150

You would never be able to win the approval of negative people, so the earlier you show them the way out, the less emotional baggage you will carry. 151

The show goes on. Participate. 152

 

 

Life Teachings on The Continuum of The World.

Everything is connected — The work we do, the way we treat people, the way they talk to us, the appreciation we get, the food we eat, the people we hang out with, the places we want to visit, the guilt we carry, and the memories we relish. Don’t have disjoint expectations from each part of your life. 153

The world is a continuum. The better we can interconnect ideas, the more easily we can float in life⁵. 154

 

Some of the Most Important Lessons of Life.

Only experience can tell if something will work. 155

You can’t win by always playing hard to get. 156

No one has the power to upset you unless you give it to them. 157

It is not always easy to differentiate the cause from the result. 158

You would forget that it was about having fun. Remind yourself frequently. 159

Our ideas, promotions, commitments, financial planning, relationships all are there to make life better. So if something goes down, don’t despair: its presence was to keep you good, but its absence doesn’t mean hell. You will get everything as long as you can breathe peacefully. 160

Things always work out if you just hold on a little longer. But they may come to you in a different form from how you recognize them.161

Intuition is the collective consciousness of the life we have lived so far. Don’t ignore it. 162

Any good service or product or writing or art starts with being about you but then it is all about the people. 163

To forgive someone might seem unfair to you, but when you forgive, you soak in peace — thus getting your fair share. 164

There is always an option. 165

Art breathes inside each one of us. 166

Smile for you feel how you act. 167

Don’t just respect someone for their age, respect wisdom and kindness, and all such noble dispositions. 168

 

Lessons on Learning and Unlearning

There is art in science and science in art. Once you connect the two, you have found infinity. 169

To create, first understand the rules, and then break them. 170

At some point, you start limiting yourself — Maybe when your mother first tells you that you can’t go out alone or when the neighbor comments that his son could do better than you or when the teacher scolds you for trying to understand the basics rather than repeating her answer or when you see an advertisement for a fairness cream that suggests you get fairer to have a better life. But the truth is inside the box of reason. Open it. 171

 

infinity and beyond colorful abstract art.jpg

What about Noise?

The background noise sounds louder when you are having a hard time. 172

 

Life Lessons on Goals and Determination.

You can do anything that you set your mind upon. 173 

Without goals, you are as directionless as a sunflower is at night. 174

If you are ready to receive what comes along the way, you start moving in the direction of your goal little by little. 175

Give what it takes. And then some more. 176

 

What Life Has Taught Me on Hard Days.

Don’t be scared to lose yourself, for you might be on the path of discovering yourself. 177

Think deep, not wide.178

Most of the things have a simpler solution than you think. 179

Society is judgemental police. 180

Don’t let anyone else write your story. 181

Everything has an expiry date. 182

Sometimes you do your best work when you are tired —You would only make the effort to write that sentence if it is too good to let go. 183

Soak inspiration from the universe. 184

Words are wings. When not wings, they are swords. Choose your flights and battles wisely. 185

Your brain would expand into the time you give it to do something. Too less, and it hurries up. More, it stretches out. 186

When you feel angry or dejected, eat. Eventually, it is all about some curry and rice. 187

 

 

Walk on dewy mountain trails fringed by pines trees often.  The joy is unbridled. 188

 

 

If you let go of boundaries set by others, you can tune into infinite wavelengths of freedom and choice. But be careful to not tune into noise again. 189

You need much less than you think you do. 190

Climbing stairs is always better than taking an elevator. Move your body as much as you reflex your brain so that you can climb that mountain when you want to. 191

Eventually, everything gets done. So instead of worrying, pause and breath frequently. Or kick a punching bag. Or restart your laptop to first get rid of those annoying notifications. Fix the basics. 192

The best way to live is to act as if no one is watching you. 193

 

There is time. There is strength. And then there is love. 

If you see a longer piece of work taking time in spite of your best efforts, stand in front of a mirror. 194

When you think you have given it all, the universe will ask for more, and you will find yourself giving it more. 195

Sometimes you get into something so deep that you forget that you are inside. Let love find you at those times. 196

 

love painting let love find you Szinyei_Merse_Szerelmespár_1870.jpgPál Szinyei Merse / Public domain

 

Footnotes:

1-Benjamin Franklin made a record of his everyday routine and checked if he worked on his vices.

2-Daniel Gilbert says in his book Stumbling on Happiness— Feelings don’t just matter, they are what mattering means. Are war and peace more important for any reason other than the feelings they produce?

3. We don’t remember our past as well as we think. You will find enough proof of this in Daniel Gilbert’s monumental book Stumbling on Happiness.

4. If I could suggest one book to anyone, it would be The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

5. I don’t think I can put better than this: There are no separate systems. The world is a continuum. Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the purpose of the discussion― Donella H. Meadows

 

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Life Lessons I Have Learned So Far - Find Yours | Inspire yourself | Real Life Learnings | Life Quotes | Emotional Intelligence | How To Be Happy | how to feel better | Emotions | Human Behavior | Understanding Yourself | Self care | Self Growth | Healthy Psychology | Personal Development | Personal Goals | Life Inspiration | Life Coaching Tools | Life Philosophy | Life Hacks | Relationships | Social Life | Career Tips | Passion #lifeinspiration #lifelessons #personalgrowth #selfhelp #positivity

 

Life Lessons I Have Learned So Far - Find Yours | Inspire yourself | Real Life Learnings | Life Quotes | Emotional Intelligence | How To Be Happy | how to feel better | Emotions | Human Behavior | Understanding Yourself | Self care | Self Growth | Healthy Psychology | Personal Development | Personal Goals | Life Inspiration | Life Coaching Tools | Life Philosophy | Life Hacks | Relationships | Social Life | Career Tips | Passion #lifeinspiration #lifelessons #personalgrowth #selfhelp #positivity

Which of these important lessons in life did you relate to the most? Let me know in the comments.

 

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