Friday, May 20, 2016

Things I wish I knew when I was younger - my advice to my daughter for future

As I look back at my life in the past 3 decades, there are so many times when I wish I hadn't acted/reacted like I did. But then, I was younger and we all make mistakes, and learn from them. Here are some life lessons, from my own life and personal experiences, that I wish to pass on to my daughter. Maybe she will benefit from them.

1. Act cool with boys you have a crush on. Too overbearing and you turn people off. Also take rejection in your stride, don't associate your self worth with it.

2. Participate in sports. Pick at least one sport and pursue it. Not only is it healthy but it also teaches you discipline, hard work, team work.

3. Take up at least one extra curricular activity as per your interest, like singing, dancing, theatre, art etc. and pursue it. It opens up your world, gives you an opportunity to hone your skills, make new friends.

4. Do not pursue MBA without at least a few years of work experience, if not more. Else it will become a rote learning and vomiting out exercise with no value addition.

5. Do not fall in "love" and imagine yourself getting married to every guy you meet. Take each day and relationship as it comes. Give it time and see if its worthy for long term, else move on.

6. Do not get attached to the guy you lose your virginity to. If he isn't right for you, no need to get senti and force yourself to string along and get married. Times are changing. No one cares if you aren't a virgin.

7. Live in or spend enough time with the guy you wish to marry. Think of all the things that are important to you, especially what is non negotiable. Don't get blindsided by current romance, think of all the practical stuff you need to agree upon in the long run.

8. Don't be bogged down if you're not as rich as others in your friend circle. Or as pretty, or slim. The right people will love you and want to be with you no matter what. And more attractive and cool than being rich or pretty, is being confident and in love with who you are. If you're into books or art or sports, exude knowledge comfort and confidence about that. People will get attracted to you for those interests, qualities. Not something you didnt make - your looks or money or home/car.

9. Do not take abuse from any guy ever. Don't think it is a momentary or one time thing, or that he will change. Do not tolerate it for sake of the relationship, even kids. Same for cheating, gambling, alcoholism etc.

10. Do not let anyone tell you you're a shitty mother. You decide what you wanna be and strive hard to achieve tour personal standards. There is no one size fits all formula for parenting. Don't compare yourself or get into self pity mode.

11. Do not sacrifice your life and goals and dreams for everyone else. It will never be worth it. To make others happy you need to be happy yourself. Everyone adjusts, don't completely give up though.

12. Do not bow to societal pressure of what is considered normal or good to do. Be it with studies, career, marriage or kids. Do what you really want to do. And if thats not what the society accepts, screw them.

13. Aim to study to learn, not to pass or get good marks to appease everyone. Easier said than done but when you take interest in what you study, and study what you're interested in, you will learn and retain much better. You may not have much control in school but afterwards, choose wisely.

14. Travel travel travel. As much as often as far as you can. Savour the journey, the experiences, the languages, the food, the culture, the people, the geography, the history. That will teach you more than any book or class can.

15. Better to regret doing something than not doing it. Do whatever you want to do. Its never too late, you're never too old. Don't let age, marital status, kids, husband, family, society dictate what you can or can't do.

16. If someone is rude or mistreats you, don't take it, and cry and crib. Stand up for yourself. Have the courage to confront people, especially on difficult topics. To hell with respect for elders, bosses, etc. No one should be allowed to humiliate you and get away with it. If you don't stand up for yourself, no one will.

17. Always be independent. Physically, emotionally, financially. Parents will always help you. Friends, spouse, kids, may or may not. Learn how to manage finances, run the house. Learn how to drive, do your taxes, change a flat tyre, do repairs around the house, manage the help, cook proper food, wash clothes/utensils etc. You may be well off enough to hire someone to do everything for you, but know how to do everything for yourself. Learn to be alone. Watch movies, eat at restaurants, travel alone. You need to be comfortable with your own company. Have a life beyond family. Have an identity beyond relationships. Cherish the woman and person in you.

18. Always be good to your parents. Always take care of them. And always be patient with your children. Treat your family with love. They're the only ones who will stand by you. Do not let your temper, ego and other issues ruin relationships. Not worth it. But understand difference between self respect and ego.

19. Don't try to change others in a relationship. Honestly introspect and see where you need to change. And even after making requisite changes, people or situations remain negative, change your attitude, your response. Meditate, forgive, forget, move on. Its for your own mental peace and good. Carrying grudges, maintaining negativity inside, only burdens you, no one else.

20. Be kind and compassionate. Help those in need. Respect everyone irrespective of their age, socioeconomic status, looks. Care for flora fauna environment. Be responsible. Lead a healthy, organic, sustainable life. Connect with nature. Donate money generously and if you don't have any, donate your time and skills. Try not to be judgmental or biased.