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The reason why my blog title or even this post title includes my nationality and gender, is because one of the truly liberating things about owning your own digital platform, is that you can use it to drive awareness and change.
Growing up and even now, I am tired of the stereotypes one has to face being from a certain part of the world, religion, gender, caste, social class bla bla bla. As many of you know, I am not an average Indian girl, and I’m certainly not living an average Indian life.
I’ve wanted to write this post on life-lessons for a while now, but some how could not muster the courage to pen it all down.
- Well, here I am. And here’s my top life lessons that I’ve learnt in my 26 (soon to be 27) years of existence, a lot of which have come to me as I have moved from India to Germany in search of growth and adventure.
- #1 No one can tell you what you want or figure out what you need to do in life.
- #2 Fair weather friends are not friends.
- #3 Travel will open your mind and soul in more ways than one.
- #4 It’s great to follow your passion, but will you come home to it?
- #5 If you keep making the same choice, do not expect a different outcome.
- #6 Love is active, not passive.
- #7 The hardest choice will often lead to maximum growth.
- #8 You cannot have everything in life all at the same time.
- #9 Loving yourself is a constant life battle, but the only one worth fighting.
- #10 Do to people, what you want done to yourself.
- #11 You can teach yourself whatever the hell you want.
Well, here I am. And here’s my top life lessons that I’ve learnt in my 26 (soon to be 27) years of existence, a lot of which have come to me as I have moved from India to Germany in search of growth and adventure.
#1 No one can tell you what you want or figure out what you need to do in life.
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I am sure we all turn to our friends or family when in doubt. But, at the end of the day we are the only ones who know what we want. An external person can guide us or point us in a particular direction.
That person cannot make us actually go in that direction, leave alone actually enjoy it or find happiness.
This does not mean that I do not value my closed one’s opinions. I do.
But opinions are all they are. Decisions are what you can alone make for yourself.
No one else can sort your life for you. No one else can tell you what you should or need to do.
You gotta figure the hard shit out yourself mate.
#2 Fair weather friends are not friends.
As we grow older, we lose more friends than we keep.
And you know what, that is perfectly okay.
I am the kind of person that believes in deep, meaningful connections.
If you cannot handle me at my breakdown-in-the-middle-of-the-night, eating-takeout-in-bed kind of days, you do not deserve to be there for me in my joyful days.
The same goes for you and how you behave with your friends too.
It’s easy to deal with humans (friends or strangers) when life is roses and unicorns.
Unfortunately, there are many real moments where life is mud puddles and ultimate clusterfuc**.
You need to surround yourself with people that help, support and uplift you in the latter, for anyone can hold your hand in the former.
#3 Travel will open your mind and soul in more ways than one.
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Traveling alone, as an adult did change my life though.
I started five years ago, and I have never looked back.
I learnt to value experiences more than possessions, and even now the most elaborate thing I own apart from electronics is probably my 35 year old second hand bicycle.
There’s freedom in not owning things, but spending that on your passion instead.
You may or may not love to travel, but it’s the best thing money can buy, at least in today’s world when flights are easy and wifi makes 24*7 connectivity possible.
#4 It’s great to follow your passion, but will you come home to it?
I am lucky that I learnt right after graduating my business school, that no amount of money or success was ever going to be enough.
I repeat. No amount of money or success was ever going to be enough.
If I didn’t have some one to share this with.
This doesn’t extend to romantic connotations only.
But to loved ones, near and far.
Passion doesn’t take care of you when you’re sick. Passion doesn’t hug you when you’re all alone dealing with the death of a loved one. Passion doesn’t cook you your favourite dish from childhood each time you come home.
The purpose of life is not limited to becoming a billionaire or a CEO.
We need to value our loved ones, like it’s the last day we’ll ever live. Who knows how long we have anyway?
#5 If you keep making the same choice, do not expect a different outcome.
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Not only in my professional life, when I chased outcomes instead of processes.
But also in my personal life, where I kept ignoring red flags in a partner, hoping something would change.
It never did. It never does.
We are responsible for everything that we choose. Not for everything that happens, because there’s a bazillion things outside of our control.
The things we can choose however, we need to choose wisely.
Doing the same thing or choosing the same path again and again and again, is ONLY going to lead to the same outcome again and again and again.
#6 Love is active, not passive.
The media and romantic movies makes it seem like love is this magical thing that just suddenly falls in our lap and then there’s a happily ever after.
No, that shit doesn’t happen in real life.
Loving some one involves CHOICE, and that by it’s very nature is an active form of being. You choose to love a person over and over again. The same as you choose to leave a person over and over again.
Both leading to two very different outcomes of course.
Love may fall in your life by accident, but you need to work to keep it. You need to choose to keep it. You need to fight for it, every day. There’s just no other way of making it work.
#7 The hardest choice will often lead to maximum growth.
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If you’re ever faced with a decision, ask yourself which one will hurt more?
The option that hurts more or is imaginably way harder will always be the TOUGHER path to walk on.
This means that this is the path that will lead to maximum growth and yield, if you take it.
Two years ago, I took a path that basically involved following my heart with no back up plan in place.
I can safely say it has taken ALL of me to stick to this path, and each day I learn something more about myself.
Sometimes, we need to walk the harder path to find ourselves.
READ ALSO: How Living in Germany Changed Me
#8 You cannot have everything in life all at the same time.
I guess this comes to all of us as we get older.
The choices we face at any given point in time ALWAYS come with tradeoffs.
You win some, you lose some. You cannot have it all.
The sooner I accepted this truth, the easier it was for me to stop worrying about things or people I would lose out anyway.
In a way, I had to take my life into my own hands and actively decide which choices would impact what/who, and what/who was I willing to let go of.
It’s therapeutic to cut shit out. Spring cleaning for mind, body and soul once every quarter, can do wonders for your life!
#9 Loving yourself is a constant life battle, but the only one worth fighting.
I have always been a very self-driven independent person.
I like my space, my hobbies and my time alone. This does not always mean that I love myself 100% of the time.
Many a days, I spend reflecting parts of me or my behaviour that I do not love, but have to learn to accept with time.
I have also begun to understand that outside appearances can only take you so far. While, I do love investing in taking care of my self, I also spend time reflecting within.
To start to love the things I hate about myself.
I have to say, this is the most challenging thing to learn but one that I’m happy to do forever.
Read Also: Reflecting on 1 Year Living Abroad
#10 Do to people, what you want done to yourself.
Call it Karma, or whatever else you want.
Shit that you do to people has a sneaky way of coming back to you.
This does not always mean petty or large criminal activities.
This also includes lying to people, manipulating people and hurting them to get what you want.
I have found this the hard way, that when you deliberately hurt some one, or never realise what you did or apologise for those mistakes, you do get shit thrown back right at you one way or another.
This is also why, if some one hurts me, I refuse to keep letting them do that to me. I simply choose to shut such people out of my life, and move on with the people who are honest and loving.
Not everyone can be honest and loving 100% of the time, but you can try to take responsibility and accountability for your actions once you’re a grown adult.
I mean, how long can we blame hormones , lack of time and our environment for being shitty friends or lovers?
If you cannot handle the same thing done to you, DON’t do it to some one else.
#11 You can teach yourself whatever the hell you want.
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Even after spending enough money on my education to buy a house, I have come to realize that when it comes down to learning, you can teach yourself anything you want.
Of course, education or professional courses can take you full-steam ahead and help you push ahead faster, but it’s only a means to an end.
I’ve been passionate about learning German and even with less than 6 months of lessons, I can hold my ground in most conversations. Why? Because I wanted to learn and I found time to teach myself as I had no other time to spare with my studying/blogging/interning/traveling and living schedule.
I’ve also taught myself from scratch how to write things that people like you would love to read. Including the ins and outs of blogging which is WAY harder than it looks on the surface, btw.
Maintaining a platform full-time is quite a task, even though I do it part-time, I still find it incredibly liberating to see what I am creating grow and develop step by step, week by week and month by month. Did I mention I taught myself yoga too?
If there’s something you really want to learn or do, rest assured you can find a way to do it yourself.
So, these are my life lessons, I wish I knew before I was 25. What are yours?
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I’m Shruti, the founder of Indian Girling & Digital Empires. I believe in creating a life that you don’t need a vacation from.
On this website, you will find tips on how to travel Europe on a budget and how to live your best life!