Today I turn 32 years young! I can't actually believe my age (if I'm being completely honest with you) because I honestly still feel like I'm 20 odd, even though there are definitely times where I feel like a grandma haha! I wanted to do a little birthday shoot because I've never really looked back on the things I've learned in life or even stopped to really celebrate me. As we are in the process of finishing off our extension in our home, we had a blank spare room I thought to do a small little shoot. After getting in touch with Irfan from TheEventBuilders, a whole new vision came to life! I wanted the shoot to be as eco-friendly as possible & the entire team made this come alive which you'll see in the pictures below as well as my Instagram. I knew I wanted an epic cake so my friends Karisha from Creme De La Cakes created a gorgeous gold cake! We also got Rishan to take some amazing photos of the day and I am so excited to be able to sit down and not only share these photos with you all but also 32 things I've learned in my 32 years of life 🙂
1. Family is what you make it (not just blood).
Family I feel like can be a touchy subject to many but I know for me I have many people in my family, who may not be blood-related, but will always have that family feel. One great example is my best friend Radhika. I’ve known her since I was 15, we met at school and have pretty much been best friends ever since. We’ve been there for each other through thick & thin! I always say that God didn’t bless me with a sister (so to speak) but he blessed me with someone even better, & that’s her! Throughout the years I’ve realised just how important it is for family to be in your life.
There are so many times where I get so busy with work, life, travel & all sorts that I seem to forget myself. That’s why I always set an hour or 2 aside every week for some self-care. Usually it involves doing some sort of mask, or reading a book. I’m currently re-reading the Bhagavad Gita & have recently started Awakening The Dream by David Wilcock.
3. The importance of Routine
Growing up I had always had a routine (without knowing) & just like that when I left my office job back in 2016 that routine went out of the window with having such a fast-paced lifestyle. It wasn’t until the last couple of years I realised I needed that back in my life to gain some sense of grounding. I highly recommend setting a routine up for your week. It doesn’t have to be jam-packed with lots of things, but enough to let your anxieties dissolve away. Tupac has definitely helped me have more of a structure & routine in place in my life. One thing that I always look forward to in it is listening to my meditation playlist every morning!
4. Opinions, opinions!
I have always grown up with the opinions of other members of the Asian communities being thrown around. Whether that was directed towards me or someone I knew, or someone I didn’t really know. In my 32 years of age, I’ve realised that no one’s opinion matters, apart from your own. What truly matters is that you have a good heart, good intentions & are putting good energies out there. I try to stay in my lane as much as possible when it comes to opinions!
5. Travel more.
The lockdown this year has made me realise how much I love traveling. It’s something which can be done to broaden your knowledge of the world, cultures, food, music, experiences… the list is endless! Note to self: travel more!
6. Perfection doesn't exist
Growing up in the “size zero” era during school, I always felt this weird sense of pressure to look a certain way & feel ‘perfect’. And from what I remember (apart from Bollywood) there wasn’t really an Asian role model I was able to look up to or felt connected to. It took me a while to realise that chasing this ‘perfect’ look or perfection… doesn’t exist. We are all perfect in our own way. Our differences is what makes us perfect, powerful & beautiful!
7. Laugh more!
Has anyone heard of the Laughing Club (originated in India) which is a type of Yoga practise? If not, I highly recommend to Google it and see the benefits. Laughter can be such a fun way of release. That can be through watching or listening to something, or you can even try it with your partner, family or friends! Let’s all laugh more together 🙂
8. Quality, not quantity
In school I always had a big circle of friends. This slowly got smaller and smaller and now I can count my best friends on 1 hand. Friends is just one example, but life in general is never about quantity, it’s always about quality.
9. All about energies
I am a huge believer in the law of vibration. Do, speak, think, eat, work, play all with good intentions and energies. It’s not just thinking positively, it’s always about feeling it too.
10. Never stop learning
I get so inspired by Vex, he’s always learning something every week. It took me a while to get my head around this (I was always that person that couldn’t wait to finish school/college!). Learning never stops. It could be a new skill, a new recipe, something about history, or even something about yourself. Never stop. This is how we can evolve and change into being better human beings 🙂
11. Learn to forgive yourself
I can be so quick to forgive others in my life but tend to be hard on myself when I need to forgive myself for whatever it may be. It’s a process, many times a challenging one but it can be done. We are all human and can make mistakes, always look out for yourself & don’t forget to forgive yourself in the process.
12. Nature is the best healer
After a trip to see a Shaman a couple of years ago, I became more one with nature. I realised that mother nature & Gaia is the source of everything we need in life to survive. Not only that but nature holds such a healing and grounding energy which is good for every single one of us. I’ve seen more and more people go out into nature for walks since being in lockdown this year and it makes me so happy!
13. Do more selfless acts
This is something which I have learned from the Bhagavad Gita. The power of selfless acts. Doing something for others, without expecting anything in return. It reminds me of that one episode in friends, haha! But really, it can be done and I try to do something like this every day. It can be super small but it has to come from the heart.
14. Eat, think, breathe.
I try every day to be a better person than the day before. One of the things I try to do is eat good, think good & breathe well as well 🙂 It’s so simple but can be easily done. I always say to take baby steps in this as we can’t change overnight but it is totally possible to make small changes every day!
15. Therapy is a good thing
2020 taught me the benefits of going to therapy. It’s something I felt almost ashamed for prior to taking that step in life. I always thought if I went to see someone for the way I was feeling that something was wrong with me? But in reality, I have learnt so much about why I am, the way that I am, & it’s helped me so much in so many situations. I feel as though I really understand my emotions and feelings so much better. If you’re in two minds about going to therapy… take this as a sign to go!
16. It's ok to ask for help
This is a hard one for me but something I’m opening up to in my 30s. Since my teens, I’ve always been an independent person. I rarely ask for help or even let my deepest emotions out, but communication is key here. Asking for help when you need it isn’t a weakness, it’s something I admire in so many people around me and now also myself.
17. Work hard, play harder
This is something I’ve learned from many people around me. We spend a ridiculous time at work but when do we actually treat ourselves? Work hard, play harder – this is so important to make sure we have a balance in life. And who doesn’t love a good little treat?!
18. Life's not a competition
Being pitted against your friends, family, schoolmate, workmates is something I’m sure we have all struggled with. But we’ve got to remember that life is not a competition. We are all on our own journeys, which is such a beautiful thing in itself.
19. Say YES more (to yourself!)
When was the last time you said yes to yourself? For something you wanted to do, see, go, eat, read? We put so much pressure on relationships around us whether that’s personal or professionally but we can’t forget that the longest relationship we will ever have with someone is OURSELVES! Be kind to yourself and say yes more!
20. Be kind, always.
If there’s one thing that’s free in life which goes a long way for everyone around you, then it’s kindness. I’m sure we can all agree that the world could do with more kindness. Whether that’s a simple smile, a helping hand, complimenting your loved ones, or even a stranger - this can change someone’s entire day around. I know I struggle with letting my mind dictating my manners & is something I’m consciously working on but kindness is something which I strive to be the forefront of my actions.
21. Culture is beautiful.
I’ve always been proud of my heritage. Yes, there were so many times growing up in a school where I didn’t feel like I fitted in but I was always so happy to share my background with others. It wasn’t until I got comments on social media from people saying how proud they were of me repping my Indian heritage that I realised how much power I have in a sense. I will always share that side of me online, even more so now 🙂
22. You're only as old as you feel
There’s always a running joke when someone asks me how old I am. My answer is always “25 forever”. I feel as though turning 25 was a great turning point for me in my life and I try to hold onto that youthful feeling. I asked my aunty many years ago when it was her birthday “so, how old do you really feel?” and she replied with “I honestly still feel as though I’m still 18”. It was such a pure and sweet thing to come out from her mouth. I never see her be in her late 60s now & she’s just full of youth! I held onto that and definitely feel young at heart 🙂
23 Life is precious (not short)
I always correct others & myself when I hear the words ‘life’s so short’. The energies that word hold is so real and so that’s why I always tell myself that life is precious. My dad fell ill with a major stroke when I was 14 and my life changed forever. It really taught me that we really don’t know what’s around the corner & to live life to its fullest.
24. Confidence is internal
My husband has been one of my biggest teachers in life. He has taught me so much! It wasn’t until I saw his confidence that I realised that confidence doesn’t mean how big of a character someone is in a room. Confidence is internal. It’s the qualities that someone holds that makes them who they are! Confidence comes in many shapes & forms but always starts internally.
25 Just… let go!
I’ve gotta admit, I can be a bit of a control freak (I’m working on it haha!). There have been many times in my life where I haven’t been able to control situations and have made me feel so many negative emotions. Mindful doings (such as meditation) & going to therapy have definitely helped me to let go of what I am unable to control. I have come to grips with only controlling what I can & that’s usually my peace of mind and happiness.
26. Meaning of life = Happiness
After my dad fell ill back in 2005, I always used to ask myself what’s the meaning of life? What was the point of all of this & why do bad things happen to good people? When he passed away everything slowly started to make sense. My dad was someone who lived life to the fullest with no regrets every single day. Although he passed away at a very young age, we all knew just how happy he was. That’s when things clicked for me. My purpose in life is to be happy. Happiness comes in many forms & is totally priceless! It’s something I’m always working towards 🙂
27. Importance of Tupac
Tupac our chunky little Toy Poodle joined our family in December 2019 and he has taught me so much. My husband wrote a beautiful post which I want to share with you all here 🙂 This was taken from his Instagram page:
“A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?” – John Grogan, Marley & Me
I know this post seems random, as I don’t post many pictures of myself – especially without my wife. However, since having a pup, I’ve learned many valuable lessons. They can be really great teachers.
They hold no grudges.
They have the utmost loyalty.
They look for the good in others and moments, but can sense if something is off.
They shake off the bad moments.
They sniff out opportunities and work hard for rewards.
They get plenty of rest.
They show endless joy – for the simplest things.
They never skip a play session.
They are brave despite their size.
They never stop learning.
They show the deepest gratitude for your existence.
And, so much more! I know many of you who own pets will resonate with this.
The one thing I admire the most about him and other dogs is their capacity to love. If only we could love unconditionally like dogs do, how different would the world be? Let us learn from these beautiful creatures and fill our lives with pawsitive vibes."
28. It’s ok to not follow the crowd
Being a chronic people pleaser from a young age, I always used to follow the crowd and my Dad would come out with the famous line about if my friends jumped off a bridge, would I do too? I didn’t understand what he meant back then because all I wanted to do was please others so that they would like me. However, now I know that I am able to do my own thing if needs be. If I’m not well, or would rather do something alone (or in a lot of cases for me… have an early night haha!) it’s totally ok to do so! You don’t need to follow the crowd in life. You are your own person, remember that!
29. Mindfulness comes first
Mindfulness is a word that’s thrown around so much on the internet. It’s something I learned at a very early age living in a Hindu household (without knowing!). My grandma (Baa) taught me so much growing up but I rarely asked questions. It wasn’t until she had passed and I got into my 20s that I wanted a deeper meaning behind being mindful. It’s a key and integral part of Hinduism, karma & energies all around us. Whether it’s something we are speaking, doing, cooking, eating… pretty much any kind of action & thought we have, to do it mindfully with positive intentions for not only ourselves but what I think is most important - for others. It’s very hard to do & I’m still on my own journey with this, but try with baby steps!
30. It’s not always about the likes
A few years ago, I felt as though I was in a bit of a race, constantly chasing likes, views & the numbers in general. It wasn’t until I reached a boiling point and going to therapy that it’s not always about the likes. I want to be remembered by my loved ones as a good person & constantly chasing superficial things wasn’t helping any situation. It’s taken quite some time but I know myself that many, many things have happened in my life that don’t need to be shared on social media. Just because I didn’t post it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. These memories I hold very close to my heart 🙂
31. Live in the moment
Social media in the past few years has definitely made it hard for many of us to live in the moment. I try to make small changes in my every day to make sure I am living in the moment of now, rather than through my iPhone. One of the biggest moments was during our wedding. It was such a beautiful time where all our loved ones were all living in the present & soaking in all the fun without our phones! Some of the things I like to do in my daily life is keeping my phone in my bag when we are out for lunch/dinner. Putting my phone away 30 minutes before sleeping & I’m currently trying to keep a rule of taking my phone out of my pocket or leaving it on a table somewhere when I need to nip into the loo! Sounds silly typing it out loud, but I love knowing I can function without it (apart from when it comes to work of course). Having a good balance in this is key!
32. Do what makes you happy!
Leaving the best till last… & that is to do what makes you happy! I am such a people pleaser that I have definitely become lost in the past due to always putting others before me. But I feel like I’ve mastered the balance 🙂 Every moment counts in life & with happiness, things will always feel complete!