It's been a ride. and a crazy one. 26 years of existence of which 20 i can clearly remember. Quarter a century of experiences that I've lived, but haven't yet bothered judging as good or bad. Mostly because that ain't my measure of life. Has it been interesting? i'd have to say definitely yes.
Every growing year has given me a lesson or two. but i wouldn't call them lessons. i call them perspectives. Cause they are not infallible or unchangeable - they are only views. Tinted views that i've found in or at specific moments of my life. And then managed to complete the toughest task of them all - persisting and withstanding the test of time.
If i were to break my experiences of life as i grew up to 26 into 26 such perspectives, what would they be?
i think these:
#26. Love your parents.
Believing that you will love your parents to the end of time is pretty much the first memory i have of life. And by parents, i don't mean just biological ones - i mean those people who 'raise' you from being a struggling, needy infant into the person you are today.
#25. Own up to your mistakes.
It can get you into really deep shit. (like this time when i set fire to my building terrace). But in the long run, its kinda nicer to not have that weight on your shoulders. and its a weirdly happy feeling. No mistake is the end of the world. and that brings me to the next one...
#24. Be happy.
It sounds too simple. but the fact is, it is. It doesn't matter who you are or what you are doing or how deep shit you are in - its easy to be happy - all it takes is you choosing to be. Even if it is for just a moment or two, be happy.
#23. It's good to share.
i don't believe in altruism. never did. but its nice to share - whether its a piece of candy or your home, heart or multi-million dollar empire. it helps you keep the faith. in others. and in yourself. much later you might even learn that you've always had enough, no matter what.
#22. Understand animals.
the power to understand someone/something who cannot express feelings in words is an art. i cant even come close to explaining how powerful this one feeling/capability is. in someways, it is one of the most influential human experiences ever.
#21. Create. Recreate. Create.
There's no destroy in this equation, cause even destruction is a form of creation. and there's hardly anything you'll find more fulfilling than creating something of your own. May it be toy houses and paper planes or ad campaings, paintings, films and actual planes.
#20. Nothing is impossible.
may it being overcoming dyslexia, social shyness or athletic in-capabilities. may it be manned moon flights, creating frankenstein or changing the world. nothing is impossible. the only factors that matter are EFFORT and TIME. ofcourse, with time you come to acknowledge the fact that some tasks may require more time and effort than the mortal human body has access to. but IMPOSSIBLE, it is NOT.
#19. More important than having 'friends' is having A friend.
its the smallest way in which you might learn the importance of quality over quantity. And you'll meet this choice at every point in life. Any given day, the person you are happy being yourself with is more important that all the people who are happy to have you around during fun times.
#18. Read books. Watch movies. and not just the bestsellers.
books and movies are essences of life dramatized in an interesting manner. they'll open your mind. or close it. depending on your approach towards them. Next to actual experiences, which as you shall discover may be not that easy to come by, these make a perfect portal to life across time.
#17. There are no rules. Only guidelines.
even if it isn't for an audience. even if its not in a public place. even if it is only in your own space. dance. it's one of the most liberating forms of expressions you'll ever know.
#15. Imitation is the mother of originality.
it took Mozart about 15 years of practicing classics to come up with one worthy original. Took da vinci years of common scribbles and reworked artworks before his own Mona Lisa. The plane is shaped like a bird. The submarine like a whale. and there are a million other examples. The thing is, practice is the closest you'll get to having a guarantee of true success. And practice begins with imitations of known perfections.
#14. Respect your body.
push it. challenge it. improve it. maintain it. its the only life-long possession your soul/life will ever own. As far as material existences go, its the only thing you have as long as you live. and vice-versa.
#13. Love hurts. a lot sometimes.
no matter how free we are in our thinking, loving someone comes with its own parcels of human fears and limitations. and even some unsaid expectations. and as the Buddha says, it is human expectations that are the root cause of pain. Sometimes, the hurt is worth it. Sometimes, not. Roll with it.
#12. You will be judged. Don't bother.
Everybody loves you when you are winning. Critiques you when you lose. But you know what? 'what will people say?' is pretty much the most encountered question to everything you do. but if whatever you is driven by your own beliefs and with a clear conscience, the question and the consequences, very well find their deserving place - beneath your shoes, in indifferent existence.
#11. Your forgiveness matters only when you are powerful enough to punish.
One of the most important lessons in a material world is this one. One of the core teachings in every art of war treatise ever written. And a timeless truth. Cause true, you may be truly all-forgiving in your nature, but to a world that is conditioned to a cause-and-effect way of things, if your wrath isn't feared, your forgiveness isn't valued either. (this is by far the only art-of-war philosophy i follow)
#10. Sex is a form of expression.
But having said that, like every other form of expression, it ain't necessary to express yourself just for one purpose or just in one form. Some times we talk just for fun, some times we rap, some times we sing, beat box, make nonsense sounds, rock the stage, talk rubbish, just chat up, make speeches, enact plays or have conversations that change the world. Through it all, we are still just expressing ourselves, right? Same as sex.
#9. Don't take life too seriously. It doesn't take you seriously either.
pooooof! here today. gone tomorrow. missed today. forgotten tomorrow. relax. life, goes on. :)
#8. Even superheroes have mentors.
honestly, even if you are a freakkin genius, having a mentor who's been down a similar path cuts down your need to make the same mistakes by atleast 50%. Upto a limit, the more mentors you have the better. Beyond a point, you'll only be busy avoiding their mistakes instead of making your own and learning from them. choose wisely - some may even be wolves in sheep skins.
#7. Institutions are pretty much a waste of time.
whether its schools, corporations, marriages, cults, jails or asylums,' institutions' are mostly material manifestations of human insecurities. What we humans get insecure about, we frame into a socially accepted institutions - whether its the fear of losing a person you love, being exposed to a murderer, sharing space with a lunatic or even facing 'change'. None of them really matter.
#6. Revenge is a sacred emotion.
Few experiences in the universe will be sweeter than well deserved revenge. But be careful with this one. make sure its worth it. For its like nitrous in your engine. or steroids in your veins. too much, too long, and it will consume you. your life. and everything you love. even itself.
#5. Manage your time.
yeah superhero, even you have limited time in this human form. No matter who you are, time will take its toll. on a daily basis. on a yearly basis. and with age. So respect it. Prioritize.
#4. Money is only a medium. But an important one none-the-less.
money can't buy you happiness is cliche. and true. yet what i found out is that in a world based on a monetary system, money is the material equivalent of love and respect. if you work for free, you aren't valued. And it becomes a vicious cycle. So make all the money you can, and give it away to those who need it more or use it to create resources for the future if you don't want it. but MAKE IT. make as much of it as you can without compromising on your life and happiness.
#3. Your child's trust is the greatest responsibility you'll ever face.
explaining this would need a book of three volumes. at least.
#2. Love unconditionally.
people love 'being in' love. without realizing that they aren't really loving, but just re-living concepts created by us humans. Concepts are mental institutions popularized by society and media to sell goods and hide insecurities. True love to me, is the ability to love unconditionally and with absolute honesty. Irrespective of peoples pasts and habits, irrespective of whether it involves being in a relationship or not, having sex or not, being together or not, or any other material hindrance there may be in the world. That, to me is how love is. (and you are free to have your own view, this is mine.)
#1. You've always had everything you'll ever need.
it takes one lead bullet to kill a millionaire. one lead bullet to kill a pauper. the same for a rabbi. the same for a sinner. the same for everyone. Death is the greatest equalizer of all. What ever you have while you are alive, scarcity or plenty, less or more, is just a matter of perception. And perception only exists as long as you are alive. so really, what do you have? what do you need? everything material is possibly achievable with time and effort. and as long as you have a body and a mind, and some time, you'll get it sooner or later depending on the lengths you are willing to go to. Whatever efforts you make, sacrifices you make, time you put in and priorities you reshuffle in this quest, what matters most is that you are at peace with yourself amidst it all. That's the key to happiness. To life.
26 years of life have shaped these 26 perspectives. And as i step into the another year, i wonder which of these will change ahead? or will they? i wonder what new perspectives will be shaped in the coming years? will there even be coming years? i wonder how will these perspectives shape me?
Actually, i wonder, but i ain't bothering too much. Cause however life may be, its still beautiful. its still the same roller-coaster ride with its ups and downs. And i look forward to all it has with hungry gleaming eyes of a 7 year old looking at a pile of chocolates.
Happy Birthday, to me!
- Pushkaraj Shirke