11 Things I'd tell my Younger Self.

Last month I turned 27. And as cliche as it sounds, I did introspect. If I had a chance to tell my younger self, maybe my 17 year old self, I'd grab that chance. I know I can't, but I am not letting go of this 'I turned 27, so maybe, I am now in a position to give some advice' phase.

A letter to the little me, in numbered points :)

1. Read as much as possible. 

I know you've heard this advice from your parents, teachers and just about anyone you've lent your ear to. But for a reason. Reading has so many good things going for you, from helping you focus better, improving your vocabulary, reducing stress and most importantly, reading is like a workout for you brain. Read anything, from a trending article on your favorite blog or a non-fiction book. Read any genre. Just read. Slowly, broaden what you read.

2. Make the best out of the bond with your sibling. 

Trust me, you'll realize this only later on. Have those long conversations with your sister/brother. I realized later on how powerful that bond is, and what it is capable of. Until around the 7th grade, I used to ignore my sister, if I saw her in my school, I would turn another alleyway. It was only when I started college when I realized it's super fun to discuss the day with her, to know there's someone who'll have to hear you out, no matter what.

3. Ask questions, don't be shy. 

Remember as a kid, you had that one lingering question in your mind till the end of the particular class, and still wouldn't raise your hand? I have been through that, many a times. It so happens, that much later on, you'll still be shy, whether to start a conversation or just simply ask for some directions. As early as possible, try overcoming that fear. Raise your hand, because guess what, nobody will remember who raised their hand in which class.

4. Invest in good friendships, I don't mean be popular.

When you hit your late twenties, you will realize everyone gets married, gets busy in hectic schedules and basically just has no time for everyone and anyone. That's just how it is. Your time will become precious as you grow older. You will want to keep in touch with only few people apart from your family. In fact, even to have that one or two best friends and keep in touch will be hard. Have good friends, don't focus on how many birthday messages and calls you got, because after a few years, you will actually look forward to just those 2 or 3 phone calls. So invest your time wisely.

5. Have a hobby.

Once I started working, my routine changed a little. I used to get up, rush to work, come back by 7, be dead tired. Next day would be the same. Somewhere, I started thinking, dam, this is it. This is all there is. And then that question hit me, the one our room mates and friends hope we never ask. What is life? Not to babble on, but I have figured one good way to have meaning in your life is to do something you love. Be it writing, painting, volunteering every weekend at your nearby animal shelter, swimming, zumba, anything at all. And more importantly, be consistent, Not join a guitar class, realize you're stuck at only 2 chords, and give up.

6. Listen more.

Spend some time, sit with your grand pa, an elderly aunt even your dad, and get them to speak about their school days. Or any experience they'll be willing to share. You'll be surprised. You just have to push them a bit. I once went into a long conversation with my Ba (dad's mom) and I was shocked when she told me my grand dad owned a camera store in Aden. That burnt down in a fire. It actually prompted me to find out more about Aden. (Yemen is in a very bad state right now). Or the time I went on a morning walk with my Nana (mom's dad) and I was surprised he knew so much about the flora, this tree flowers only in May, or this tree's bark has medicinal values. Talking to people, especially those that have experienced more than you is a great way of amassing knowledge and getting a peep into their lives.

7. Be kind.

I know this is so generic. But let me narrow down what I mean when I say be kind. Be kind to the little boy who was crying so loudly on the plane that you felt like knocking him down for a couple of hours. Be kind to that dog who was limping around in the heat near the bus stand. Be kind to the woman who lost her cool and screamed at her daughter in a mall. Be kind to the delivery boy who just delivered your favorite pizza. Be kind to your mother, hug her when you can. Be kind to your father, ask him how his day was. We often take so much for granted, that even a soft thank you or a small gesture would do wonders. Make somebody else happy. You'll sleep a happier person.

8. Work out.

In the morning, in the evening. Whenever. And make it a habit as early on as possible. It feels great to sweat it out, to be in shape, not just to lose weight, but to get toned and feel confident of yourself. You can start working out at any point of your life, but if it's a habit, you'll work out just like you eat. You'll want to run or jog or hit the gym everyday. There are so many inspirational Instagram accounts than you can follow or posters you can put up on your walls. With sweating comes a whole new you, and guess what, a wonderful glow.


9. Learn the basics and take care of your finances.

This is something I did much later. At 26 to be precise. Till then, my salary would be gone entirely on Body Shop or Marks & Spencers. Or these online stores. Sigh ! Learn your basic finances, learn to save a little each month. Then spend as much as you want. Saving gives you a good feeling, and you slowly start becoming self reliant too. Want to plan a trip? Save that extra little each month to your 'Cambodia Holiday' fund. Want to buy that expensive DSLR camera? Make a new fund for yourself. Learning the value of money is so so useful and awesome. When my sister got a job, we jumped at her to start saving from her first salary onwards. One day soon, she'll thank us!

10. Have a night time routine.

Do something each night before you sleep off. Put that delicious lotion on your tired feet. If you have any other beauty regime, do that. Read a book. Write a small diary entry on how your day was. Meditate sitting on your bed. It'll calm you down. Read your favorite blog, be it an interior design or a Bollywood gossip blog. Learn to feel special when you sleep. Make the last half hour of each day 'your' time. And stick to it every day. Don't give up.

11. Be open to new experiences.

This one time, in Delhi, a friend asked me to go bowling. And without thinking twice, I said no. The last I bowled was in the 6th grade, and I don't remember too much of it - I was sure I didn't have a good time. However, everyone was going and I didn't want to play spoilsport. I had an amazing time. Though my scores were horrible. I laughed a lot that day. We often chicken out at new experiences, but often regret it too. Go for it. Try out something new. Travel. Cook. Go Bungee Jumping. Go do rock climbing on that wall in the mall, which you always wanted to do. Actually, anything. Just have an open mind.

This is some of the stuff which I learnt a little late. I have no regrets, however, if this advice can help someone, I'll be more than happy. Oh, and one more tip - keep your time on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat (the list goes on) limited to a limit you set yourself. Otherwise you'll find yourself looking at the same posts and photos again and again.

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  1. Good one! I wish I had a sibling who had told me such things at 17. :) The next time you introspect, I shall watch out for a post! Keep writing!

    Sindhuja (your sister's friend from K)

    1. Hi Sindhuja,
      I can relate ! I wish the same :D but I guess we can always take the learnings and go ahead :)

  2. This was fun reading shru :) i wanna add up lota things 2 my to do list now :)

  3. u sounded like a real gyan guru.......loved reading every word of it.......Pop of Joy,yes it ws....

    1. Not guru, just some things I really believe in :) Especially asking questions, I was so shy lol ! And thanks for reading it Sonia :) :)

  4. Too good Shruti.. Point 8 is most inspiring for me.. As due to antidepressants I'm putting more n more fat.. Wish you best year ahead.

    1. Hi Mahek ! Very true. Even i realised a little late but am catching up now :) am sure you can start now and still it won't be too late !