What would I tell my younger self?
My friend, AM, and I pondered this question over a weekend.
This musing came about because of the soul-soothing newsletter from Viv&Ami from The Wishing Chair, a women-led, self-funded, home decor brand. Their no-sales weekly newsletter, ‘Delights of Distraction,’ is one of the reasons I open my email. If you haven’t subscribed to them, then you are missing out on one of the genuinely life-enriching, joyful, thoughtful, and kind newsletters out there (And they are also one of my favorite startup co-founders: not chasing unicorn valuations and talking of hustle all the time. They are building something they love with a gentleness I haven’t found in 5 years in this field).
That newsletter asked the same question. AM and I thought about this. We are both in our early 40s now. Life has taken us on a spectacular course – careening us through looming mountains and desolate lakes. Highs. Lows. The in-betweens. Everything. Nothing. Neither of us had thought we would sit together and even ask this question of each other, considering that AM had been missing in action in my life for 10+ years now.
We have made many mistakes. But we have also got some things right.
While we differed on some things we might tell our younger self, we agreed on these:
1. Give more chances to people. Be gentler. Kinder. More forgiving. Too often, we realized we had let go of people quickly, making harsh and hasty judgments. Condone the action, not the doer always. Our wealth is in the relationships we build, and we don’t value those relationships enough.
2. Tell your parents and your family and friends you love them. Especially with your parents, sit down and know their stories. Indian families don’t actually say “I love you” many times. But we can. This one is a tough one for me, personally. It took me a long while to say “I love you” to anyone, and I wasn’t sure why. But after the Covid-19 hell I have gone through, these words are forming their way to me more easily.
3. Trust your instinct. Many times, your gut knows better than your brain. I used to feel nauseous or queasy around some people. I didn’t understand why. It’s only now that I realize that is the Universe’s way of warning me. And no. It’s not the “butterflies in my stomach” feeling of being in love. 😉
4. A lot of things turn out ok in the end. What you think you want desperately now may not be what you needed in the end. And many things that you think were ‘ok’ before will turn out to be not ‘ok’ now. That’s ok too.
5. Journal your everyday memories. Note them down. Every day. Or most days. Write about the little things, not merely the trip to Leh or Laos. Your memories will fade, but paper and screens stay longer. One day, you will want to turn the pages and randomly remember that on August 4, 2017, you were having lunch with a friend, and you both got hiccups at the same time, and…you spilled your tea all over…and…
Life is a mess many times, but it’s our beautiful mess.
Now tell me, please. What would you tell your younger self? What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? Emails are fine too. 🙂 I love receiving those emails.