Reflections on Approaching The Big 3-0: 11 Things I Will Now Do

Anjali Gaur delves into 11 resolutions she has as she turns 27.

Turning 30 is a landmark age for many women. Anjali Gaur delves into 11 resolutions she has as she turns 27.

I am turning 27 on October 6 this year.

So a few months ago while aimlessly browsing the internet, I might have signed up for some numerology forecast, and every now and then they keep mentioning about the number 9.

 I left home at the age of 18 (1+8=9) and now I am turning 27 (2+7=9)

9 Year Cycles

In numerology, 2016 (Number 9) is meant to be a universal year and 9 a magical number. 2016 is the 9th and final year in our current 9-year cycle.

In 2017 a brand new 9-year cycle will begin. I left home at the age of 18 (1+8=9) and now I am turning 27 (2+7=9). Number 9 stands for celebration or letting go. How about letting go after celebrating it?

I have decided to start writing about all my experiences in the past 9 years to reflect and release everything that is not serving my highest and best self.

Before entering a new 9-year cycle, a lot of cleansing is needed on my part, so I couldn’t think of a better way to put it out creatively by pouring out my thoughts and soul.

I have been writing about all good and bad experiences and wrapping it up with the most significant lesson it taught me. As therapeutic as writing can be, I am also learning what a bliss it is to simply let go of certain things in life.

After reflection and realization that I am no more “around 25” but “around 30”, I decided to work on a few aspects of my life.

I am sharing a few lessons and some goals that I set up for myself here:

… life will be a lot more beautiful if we acknowledge that we are all imperfect human beings…

  1. Get over all the past hurt already

Family and friends have hurt us all at some occasions and we too have hurt them in return. Although it is easy to cut off negativity and never look back, sometimes it is easier said than done. In that case it is better to ask for forgiveness and accept the apology you never got. In some cases, if possible it is better to come clean and honestly ask for forgiveness because we are mostly haunted by things we never say. And in some hopeless situations where we have been hurt and there is no way to get a closure, life will be a lot more beautiful if we acknowledge that we are all imperfect human beings and simply decide to accept an apology which we will probably never receive.

Ask yourself what matters more

  1. Cherish good memories

There are bad days and there are good days.

Sometimes people close to us say things they will regret but might not be able to make up for it. That’s why sometimes it is better to be the bigger person and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Everyone is fighting a battle and most people are not vocal about their inner thoughts. I honestly believe that hurt people hurt and healed people heal, which really means if someone is hurting inside they find it easier to project that misery onto others. Every one of us falls into that trap.

So to make life less complicated and more wonderful, just hold on to the good things people do, and let go of everything else. Even when times are tough keep happy pictures around and remind yourself of how your friend stayed up until 3 am talking to you about your life goals, instead of how she once made a nasty comment. Ask yourself what matters more. We are all imperfect and beautiful in our own way. To love all the amazing aspects of a person, we also need to take with a grain of salt the not-so-amazing aspects of them.

I honestly believe that the universe knows exactly what we need and it will only deliver it to us once we are ready

  1. Maintain a Positive Attitude

I have often, in the past, become very negative in my thinking. After many years and a lot more experience, I have understood that some things take time and everything happens for a reason.

I used to practice a lot of negative self-talk when I quit my job after a month in Hong Kong due to stressful work hours. I used to tell myself I am unable to take risks and I will not get anywhere in life with this attitude.

I waited a year and I finally got my dream job in Sweden with less working hours and tons of benefits.

I honestly believe that the universe knows exactly what we need and it will only deliver it to us once we are ready, which means once we are done with all the self-sabotaging habits. I now laugh at myself for wasting all that time feeling sorry for myself, and lowering my self-esteem. Once I stopped doing that, beautiful things started happening and with time, I had lesser things to complain about. I have learnt the importance of having a positive mindset and I aim to maintain it as much as I can.

Unlearning is one of the most liberating acts

  1. Stay Curious
Go out of your comfort zone
Go out of your comfort zone

I honestly feel it is so important to behave like a newborn every now and then. It is so wonderful to ‘unlearn’ and then start learning from scratch.

Unlearning is one of the most liberating acts, as it gives us a chance to get rid of any rigidity in us, and it broadens our horizon to look beyond our comfort zone. It gives us the chance to think for ourselves and shape our perception in a way that we deem appropriate.

It gives us a chance to be less judgmental and narrow-minded, instead it helps us learn and absorb all the good from different places, cultures and stories of others. In that way we let go of the need to fit everything in our ‘frame of mind’, instead we expand our mind to accommodate all the vast knowledge available around us.

As I am growing older, I realized how my life has changed and how unconventional it is

  1. Do more of what makes me happy

I have enjoyed several activities since I was kid: drawing, dancing, writing etc. But dancing is something, which I always associated with my identity since childhood.

Since a very young age I danced all the time, at school functions, New Year parties and Indian weddings.

When I grew up and moved to Jakarta, I danced once a year in my high school with friends where we participated in annual competitions.

When I moved to Melbourne, I got a chance to choreograph a Bollywood dance routine with a friend once.

As I am growing older, I realized how my life has changed and how unconventional it is. I no longer get the chance to attend weddings. My choice of career and my lifestyle doesn’t allow me to attend all the parties back at home and maybe perform Bollywood songs.

It is something that has always made me happy but I see myself getting more and more distant from it every passing year. I joined a dance class for a short while in Sweden but it was more like aerobics on Bollywood songs, not what I was looking for.

When I moved to Italy, I was determined to do something about it. So, I enrolled in a dance academy in Milan to become a professional Bollywood dance instructor.

The course is once a month for 3 hours on Saturdays and it fits perfectly with my work schedule. Within a year I will be all set to be a dance instructor at the same academy.

We need to do what makes us feel alive and happy, and find a way to make it happen somehow.

I aim to be more familiar with classics like The Great Gatsby and The Color Purple.

  1. Get into Classics: Books & Movies

Books and movies help us communicate with people form the past. I am a voracious reader and I spent most of my university summer vacations reading books.

With workload and all other commitments, I don’t get much time to read anymore. In the summer of 2016, I managed to read a few books and got back on track to read a book every week or so. I want to leave the life of a young adult behind and become a more sophisticated adult, which means I aim to be more familiar with classics like The Great Gatsby and The Color Purple.

I updated my Goodreads account and set myself a reading goal to accomplish by my 28th birthday.

A scene from Casablanca
A scene from Casablanca

Classic movies are right along the lines of classic novels. People often joke and talk about one-liners from movies like “Gone with the Wind” and “Casablanca” and many others.

I feel sad when people mention these movies and I haven’t seen them or they think I am too young to even understand. Along with all the TV shows that I am addicted to, I aim to watch many classic movies from now on.

I need to have something for myself, something more solid.

  1. Always have a personal project

Work, travel, daily routine and social circles help us keep moving forward. But I recently asked myself, what defines me? My work? My education? My traveling?

Or will I be defined by what my future husband will do? What kind of family I will have? I asked myself what do I want to achieve in my life by the time I am, let’s say, 40?

I don’t just want to keep working and paying bills and traveling ticking off every country. I need to have something for myself, something more solid.

I then decided to stop traveling for a few months at least, and during weekends write about my past travel experiences before they become hazy. I made it my personal project to go through all the diaries I have filled up, all the receipts I have collected, and all my boarding passes I have organized in a file, and compile all my experiences. A week after I decided to do this I got a chance to be a freelance travel writer and within few weeks my first article got published.

Now I have my own travel website and I am currently working on writing about each trip I have taken and providing few tips and sharing personal experiences. My plan is to not visit a new place until I write about all my past trips.

…overall I spend a lot less time aimlessly browsing the Internet

  1. Switch off Social Media

I have always been very active on social media. At some point my friends used to make fun of me because I pretty much lived on Facebook.

But now, after 9 years of excessive usage and tons of albums and check-ins, I have reached a tipping point with the amount of time I spend on social media.

While I have uploaded several life events until now, this month I decided to go offline. Not entirely because I am still active on Instagram, but overall I spend a lot less time aimlessly browsing the Internet.

Now I barely spend 20 minutes, read all the news (from the actual websites instead of social media) and then I start off with my day. I sometimes ask myself that I only message people when I see a post from them, and several friends message me when they notice a change on my profile.

On one hand it’s amazing how connected and updated we are about each others lives, on the other hand is really sad to remember a friend because of an ‘update on social media profile’. I aim to detox myself from the endless posts of my seven hundred something ‘friends’ and then contact the ones, which are on my mind without any social media reminder.

  1. Take Care of myself

Being a biochemist, I know a lot about how our cells functions and how they respire and use all the food that we intake. Despite of knowing all this, I have never paid much attention to what I put inside me.

Being a vegetarian by choice, I always take pride thinking I am generally a lot healthier than others. But it is not true. I have an affinity for sugar and carbs and everything that makes me fat and lazy.

This year I downloaded a book of 800 pages on nutrition, and it’s my plan to educate myself on what I should eat and how much. Along with diet, I also intend to start a daily yoga regime and a quick jog every morning. I walk a lot, to work everyday and also while traveling, but some intense work out helps in the long run.

what I don’t know though, is their life story

  1. Learn about my Family Genealogy

One thing I really want to do is to learn about family genealogy: perhaps make a family tree?

I aim to understand behavioral patterns, aspirations, and dreams and know more about experiences of my family members. I know where both sets of my grandparents were born and where most of my family lives, what I don’t know though, is their life story. I left India at the age of 3 and since then my interaction with my family is a month long summer vacation.

I always have wonderful conversations with people in flights, trains and buses. I have spoken to many strangers and they often tell me about their experiences when they were my age and what they aspired to become. I am curious about other people’s lives and now I am even more fascinated with discovering stories and adventures of my extended family and distant relatives.

I aim to master my Italian and become fluent enough to hold conversations

  1. Master a new language

Learning a new language is a lot more than just communication skills. Living somewhere you can’t communicate with other people is terrifying. I am getting a wonderful opportunity to enlighten me and become savvy to a new culture, I should use this chance to really learn the language, something I am rarely forced to do.

I have learnt some basic phrases but in the next one year I aim to master my Italian and become fluent enough to hold conversations with colleagues and also read books in Italian.

There are obvious differences in the two languages: English’s complexity contrasts with Italian’s fluidity, they provide two very different ways of expressing oneself. I want to learn Italian as a unique lens through which to see the world.

Written By

Anjali is a Researcher living in Pavia, Italy. She was born in Gwalior, India and grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia. She studied biomedical sciences in Australia and UK. Right now her work involves research on Red Blood Cell aging funded by European Commission. Prior to this she worked in Hong Kong for a short while followed by research in Sweden for around 20 months where she developed phage display antibodies. She is also a freelance writer contributing to a few platforms including The Historical Examiner and Travelicious. You can follow her travels at www.anjaligaurtraveldiaries.com

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