When you are 15 , you feel that perhaps at the age of 25 you will have your entire life figured out.Till then you have enough time to sit back and enjoy.Before you realise it, life passes by you right in front of your eyes and you have less than 5 years before you turn 30.At this age, most of us try and brush off things that we should be ideally thinking about but as much as we try to avoid them, there will come a point where we are faced with key questions of our life.This is what you should be thinking then:
1.What would I like to do at 40?
I have been working in the same industry for the past 5 years.I joined right after college.I was 21 at that time.Like most other applicants,I was applying because (a) I did not know what I wanted to do further (b) I was running behind a brand name .I thought corporate experience will help me realise my dreams not to forget the big bucks that came along with it.But I was wrong.With time, corporate life did not make me realise what I wanted to do but it definitely made me realise what I did not want to do which is hard because at 26 I am at a threshold where I have no clue which industry or job I would eventually like to end up in.How do I know what I am best at?How do I know if my current job is the job for me? How do I find work which includes my passion and helps me to make money? How do I know if there is a job out there which can utilize my skills better ? Or is it best to just go back to school,finish my masters or do an MBA.These questions haunt me everyday when I see people loving what they do.If not loving,at least motivated doing what they do. I am sure like me ,there are many others who are still figuring out where their niche is or where they truly belong.To them,I would say what my boyfriend said to me when I asked myself this daunting question.He said “Think of what you want to be or do at 40 and work backwards.It might mean starting afresh from a nobody.It might mean leaving your high paying job and doing unpaid internships .It might mean backpacking on 10 bucks a day to gain perspective or learn about people.It could be anything big or small but do something that will help you get the skills needed for what you want to achieve at 40.Do not take too many steps forward when you don’t know where you are going.Take few steps back,pause and think of where you want to head, then take a leap”.
2.When do I want to settle down ?
Scary topic.Yes, especially for men who feel their life has just started off at 25.But what most of us forget in this rushed life is how fragile life has become today.We forget how scarce good people have become.We forget, that it is hard to find love or the right partner.To be happy in life,
you need a good career , but you also need someone who can be there for you if the career leaves you.Someone who can keep your spirits up and high when you are flying low.Life does not come with a guarantee tag.If you have found a good person that you like, get along with, share similar values and above all someone you love, discuss your future with them now.Set expectations with them before society labels a deadline on you. Figure out together when you are mentally ready to take the plunge to a more committed life.This decision should only be between the people involved not factors like friends,parents,society or peer pressure. If you are single, then be open to life.It can get slightly tough and uncomfortable at 26 if you are not attached because at this point you will be surrounded by people who are either committed, engaged ,talking about marriage, married or having a baby.If none, they will be asking you questions on why you are single.Understand that everyone goes through this “alone” phase and right now is your time.Accept it and make most out of it.If others see you happy and comfortable with it, they will stop asking questions.You never know what you are gaining right now at this point in your life that others might be losing.So be proud of your state,whichever you are in.Eventually everyone meets someone, it is just about timing and being open minded.
3.What kind of parent do I want to be ?
This is a question not many think of at 26 but personally I feel everyone should. It is important to start cultivating the skills within you that you want your kids to eventually have.If you are already in a relationship,it is important to discuss this with your partner.Imagine a situation where you are married and god forbid, your spouse dies, would you then know what kind of upbringing your partner would have liked your kids to have ,had he/she been alive? Would you be strong enough to raise a kid on your own? It is important to discuss these values with your partner.If you are on your own, try and evaluate what qualities are important to you.Most people have a kid and then start thinking which could or could not work as it could be hurried thinking.For some things, don’t go with the flow,plan in advance.Be the person you would like
to see your kid be.
4. Am I a giving a bit of time to my hobbies?
We get so busy in our day to day life that we sometimes forget what used to bring a smile to our faces.We get so mechanised that we lose the part of us that enjoyed letting loose and getting lost in what we once loved. Do you remember those days when you came back tired from school but would feel energized just at the thought of going out and playing football or cricket with your friends? Do you remember how hard you used to practice for your piano recitals? Do you remember those days where you would hear the latest pop song and try choreographing it in your head? Do you remember those moments where you would lose track of reality in those crayons, pencils and paper? Do you remember those nights when you would be up till 3 am saying “one last chapter” of your favorite book? Try and remember those times and bring a part of it back because when you do you will revive the kid, the energy and the zest to live within you. Work gives you a living but passion gives you a life.At 16 ,I was once asked what my passion was .I brushed it off jokingly by saying sleeping.I perhaps did not understand the gravity of that question then.Today, even when I want to pursue my passion I don’t have the time.You cannot live your whole life without wanting to do something apart from work.We are humans.We are born creative.So figure out what you love doing in your free time.It could be anything but it should be something.
5.Am I taking care of my health?
20-30’s is the most dangerous age phase.This is the phase where we abuse our body the most.Binge drink on Friday nights.Get drunk.End it up with McDonalds. Get up with a hangover.Sleep till 5.Get up and eat junk again.Repeat this the next weekend.Isn’t this what most of our lives are in this age bracket.Weekdays are no different story.Get up at 9 am, take the cab to work.Sit at your desk till 9 pm.Take a cab back home.Eat dinner at 10 pm .Spend time on facebook till 12 am and then sleep.Repeat 5 days a week.No physical activity or nutritious food.Add stress to that and pop few cigarettes.Because of certain guilt pangs throw in a few salad lunches or treadmill for an hour on one sunday.That’s it.That’s life for most of us. My father had a perfectly healthy lifetsyle from the time I consciously remember.Healthy food, brisk walk everyday, yoga on alternate days ,stress free job and a happy family.What could go wrong?Nothing, till the day he had a mild heart attack.He is fine now but we kept asking what went wrong.That is when the doctor told us.What you do in your 20’s does not show then.It shows post 40.I am not trying to be preachy here and asking you to live a saints life.Eat all you want, enjoy all you want, drink all you want.Just keep two things in mind – Be aware of everything you do and secondly whatever you do, do it in moderation.Being aware is the first step to being healthy.The moment you start keeping track of what you are taking in , you will automatically start being more conscious and as long as you balance everything you eat or burn, you can enjoy the best of everything.