30th year is a sort of a cusp year between twenties and thirties! A year jam packed with too many moments of experiencing the grown up self, and others noticing it too! (Thank heavens for that!) Turning 31 years old, today, I am officially in my early thirties! I have heard, read and been told several times about the things one should accomplish or experience before they turn 30 years old. Even tough I feel that there is no point putting an age band for experiences in general, while I was going back in time, I had a changed mind. I do feel there are a few experiences one should have before turning 30! At least, it is better if you do, because your capacity to bounce back is stronger than later on, stakes are low, and most importantly, possibilities of a 'next chance' are higher.
If I have to list out 10 experiences in these ten years of my twenties, they would be as follows. I would totally recommend one should experience a few of these in their twenties.
- Dreams shattered! I experienced one of my dreams shatter down to bits when my post graduation program got called off at the last moment! Everything was set, I had literally seen myself living a life at the new campus. I am a total dreamer so much so that I start living a life even before it begins. It was shattered in a moment, that too right before I was set to leave. Why is this my first choice? Simply because, this incident gave me what I would have learnt no other way! I learnt that no incident can be the end of the world. You can always start afresh! Rock bottom means you have a clean slate already! I got to build everything right from scratch - my career, my relationships, the place I lived in, every other little thing.
- Investment in health! I have always had an exercise regime as a part of my routine. Fitness means on both levels - body and mind! Without any doubt, it has given me more than just fitness. You have to, as in, really have to have a fitness regime in your daily life. And no, walking for an hour doesn't count. You are in your twenties not seventies for calling an hour walk as an exercise! I have dedicated a lot of posts on fitness on my blog. For details you can read them here.
- Making friends who are elder than you. I have some friends who are my parents' age as well or a few even elder than them. Having friends from different age groups, especially elders, gives you a senior perspective well in advance. It helped me communicate across generations and understand inter-personal relationships on a very different level. The biggest advantage was, I could consciously observe what I should not do when I grow up to their ages, and also admire what I would want to be when I reach that age and later.
- Being self sufficient! If we discount odd jobs done in college, I have been working since I finished my graduation. Working immediately after graduation gave me a direction to choose my post graduation program. And I would totally recommend fresh graduates to do so. This introduces us to the real professional world and sorts out our imagination about our own professional inclinations. Nothing, literally nothing can justify you not being self sufficient. Your lifestyle and standard of living is your responsibility. It isn't about just paying your extra bills but it is about not being a 'dependent' to someone. Love, respect and happiness perishes when there is dependency. This is something I learnt by knowing people elder than me and seeing this to be true with my own eyes!
- In the fight between regret and guilt, always choose the latter! This is another thing I learned because of interacting with people much elder to me. Knowing people live with regrets has taught me that there is no way back if you regret a decision. Where as, if you are guilty of something, there are numerous ways to rectify it. No one can turn back time, but guilt allows you a second chance, regret is something you carry to your grave.
- Cooking. Now this is one thing I am fond of since my childhood. But even if you do not like cooking, it is still an important survival skill without gender bias, and, a big part of being self sufficient. I wish to share this as an accomplishment here, because I see more and more youngsters not giving it the importance it deserves. What is a must-have is being able to cook basic meals for oneself - simple breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I have to be a bit more idealistic, I'd say, along with the basic meals, one should have at least a few signature dishes that finish in a few moments of serving.
- Companionship. I fell in love with one of my friends. I am not at all suggesting one should only find a companion in a friend, but just sharing what happened with me. We have mutual understanding of "your life", "my life" and "our life". This exists and has been one of our winning formulas for staying together for more than ten years in spite of long distances. Our equation could be described close to "we don't need each other for anything, yet we want to be with each other!" The point I am trying to make here is that by 30 one should be able to go past superficial infatuations. Being in a meaningful relationship requires much more than what appears to be desirable. There's no point in trying to be happy with someone because it looks perfect, and forgetting about what matters in the long run.
- Parenthood. We entered the world of parenthood and reached a point where our lives stood at 'before and after' from that very moment! This is one thing I would totally recommend if you ever wanted to be a parent - do not delay this decision! You are never going to be prepared to have kids, or settled enough to take care of an off spring or for that matter free enough to allot time to kids. Your health, career and everything that matters, will fall in place faster and more effectively, if you become a parent before you hit 30! They say, the first 5 years of your kid is the time he needs you the most. You don't need a fortune teller telling you to have these years as early as possible. I had my kid before I turned 30, and can say this with my own experience.
- Weekend routines. Working through the week and spending weekends outside is a common thing in twenties. I am not saying I never did that, but I had and still have a weekend routine that connects me with my home. Cleaning bathrooms, kitchen, changing bed sheets, etc. Untidy habitat is a clear manifestation of an untidy mind. It is as simple as that!
- What brings you home? Answering this question and making it possible at your home is one of the best feelings. If you don't know what brings you home and that which cannot be found anywhere else, you are lost. Just a little clarification, it involves you, not what is provided at home like ready food, living convenience, and the likes. For me it is my home desk where I write, my window place where I read, the kitchen where I cook, the living room where I host family and friends, and so many other things. When I am home, I am truly happy!
These are my ten things from my twenties. My gut feeling tells me these experiences will have an excellent impact on my thirties. Hopefully I'd be able to find another bunch of experiences worth mentioning in my next ten years!
Bye bye my twenties! :-)