I spent the first six hours of my 28th birthday in India, on a seven-hour bus ride to the farmhouse in Ujire. A few hours before the bus was scheduled to depart, my stomach became upset and I began mentally preparing myself for a rough, uncomfortable, and sleepless seven hours on the road.
But apparently the universe had other plans.
It decided to make the entire trip peaceful and pleasant, as if it was doing its best to give me an early birthday present. In fact, between the jeeps and the other bus rides I have taken in India, it was the best ride I've experienced since arriving almost a month ago.
I was returning to Ujire from Bangalore, where I attended the wedding of Krishna and Nithya, two awesome people that I met only a few weeks earlier. It was a fun-filled, multi-day, multi-cultural event that I'm very thankful to have been apart of.
While I don't like making my birthday a big deal (after all, depending which world calendar you're looking at, today isn't even my birthday), I want to celebrate today by sharing twenty-eight life changing lessons that I feel have made me the person I am today and helped me balance life.
- Always respect your elders; although it's possible to know more than them, you'll never have as much life experience.
- Express love to everyone you meet; it may be the last time you'll see them alive.
- Love your family; they are the reason you exist.
- Be mindful and present at all times; it will prevent you from being caught off guard.
- Put thought into every sentence before it comes out of your mouth. What are you trying to say? Could it be said with fewer words? Does it need to be said at all?
- Listen to your intuition; and if you don't act on it, at least keep a mental record of the outcome of your decision.
- If you have a dream, never lose sight of it; even if it seems impossible now, you never know what doors may open in the future.
- You are the master of your own existence: Rule it lazily and you'll have a boring life; rule it with vigor and conviction and you can conquer the world.
- Mistakes in life are opportunities to learn a lesson; whether or not you choose to learn the lesson determines the negative impact of the mistake.
- Debt is a chain that ties you down; the more debt you have, the thicker the chain.
- Learning to do more with less is more valuable than money itself.
- Never gossip; it's the easiest way to lose trust.
- Your physical health will determine your quality (and quantity) of life; develop healthy habits, dedicate time each day to improving your health, and recognize that temporary fixes and mediocre effort will have temporary effects and mediocre results.
- Life ensures that hard work is paid back; it's nature's way of maintaining balance.
- Less "stuff" equals more freedom, be it mental, physical, financial, or travel freedom.
- Simplicity breeds clarity.
- When you disagree, seek to understand the other perspective instead of individualizing.
- Expectation sets you up for disappointment.
- Instead of recognizing what you're missing and what you're not good at, recognize what you have and where you need to improve.
- When in doubt, don't fuss about; snap into action and stay in motion.
- Never mix money and emotion; it's a sure way to lose the former and complicate the latter.
- The sooner you recognize a relationship isn't working, the sooner both sides will be happier.
- Stay true to yourself; don't get pressured by others or fool yourself into believing something that doesn't resonate with who you are.
- Honest, open, and frequent communication is required to develop any relationship.
- We all have an inner child that never dies; we can choose to nurture it or ignore it.
- Learn from the past, live in the present, and shape your future.
- Give selflessly, receive humbly.
- Positive change requires conscious effort; negative change does not.
If you can give me one gift for my 28th birthday, all I ask for is that you share one life lesson in the comments below.
What life lesson helps you balance your daily life? What values define who you are? If you could give one piece of advice to a newborn baby (with the assurance that he could actually understand you), what would you tell him/her?