The 30 Things I Learned By The Age Of 30

11. Reading is an antidote to mediocrity.

Perhaps this is why our world is mediocre. I was oblivious to the miraculous effects of books for years and years until I had my own space. I plunged into the mystical world of books and enjoyed swimming in an ocean made of ink with waves made of thoughts. Every time I open a book, I feel like lifting a curtain off of my soul. And every time I close a book, I realise that I am one step closer to myself. I learned that reading cures loneliness, answers our most complex questions, transcends distance and time, and unites us with humanity, history, space, and the future.

12. Most people are hungry for love.

Have you ever been verbally or emotionally abused? Well, I have. Although my heart has never become immune to negativity, hurtful language, unkindness, and cruel behaviour, I’ve learned something that eventually changed my perception towards such utterly common behaviours. I believe that behind every negative comment, every wounding word, every insensitive gesture, there is a person that hasn’t been loved enough. What a pity! How many people crave to be loved yet never admit so! The lack of love must have created an enormous painful void in the soul. I believe we all have a bird inside us. When loved enough, the bird flaps its wings and fly. And when not, it uses its beak to destroy. What I learned, is to always do my best to love that bird.

13. Silence is healing.

Perhaps this is why our world is so ill. My culture loves noise. Laughs are loud, greetings are loud, farewells are loud, everything howls. There is surely a reason why most people hide behind the noise. Do we know what it is? I think to avoid silence. In silence, people can hear themselves and they’re all too often scared to listen. Silence is like a stream of fresh water running inside the spirit, and filling the cracks created by noise with a soothing serenity. Silence heals, clears up confusions, rectifies prejudices, brushes off the remnants of uncertainty, and brings people closer to each other. I learned to listen to the sound of silence. Silence is a story teller, a counsellor, and a friend.

14. Between love and hate, indifference is the worst.

There is nothing worse than being stuck in a state of nothingness. A state where you feel neither hot nor cold, neither excited nor tired, neither interested nor bored, neither happy nor sad, neither calm nor angry. You float in a vacuum that is full of oxygen yet void of life, full of space, yet void of freedom, full of silence, yet void of peace. Do we exist just because the matter composing our body is alive? Or does existence go beyond the matter, beyond survival, to where the soul vibrates, sings, loves and hates all at the same time? I exist when I love, when I hate. I exist because I feel. Indifference is death.

15. Sometimes a job is just a job.

Many of us work in jobs they don’t like. We invest a great deal of our time, mental, intellectual and emotional energy in the workplace. We project our whole being and get paid for it at the end of the month. At work we love, we envy, we seek attention, we yell, we agonise, we bare burdens, because we are all humans no matter where we are. However, we often fail to recognise that we all have potentials beyond the work we do, the job we perform, and the salary we get. A job is just a job. We are much more than that. Most people think I can change the world because I’m a humanitarian worker. They don’t know that I’ve changed the world much more outside my job: at home, on the phone, in a pub, in face to face conversations, in coffee breaks, in my dreams. My job is just a job and I am much more than that.

16. It’s never too late to change a life path.

The conviction that our life path is like a ladder we need to climb takes a very linear approach to life, a trail that takes you from A to B in a straight line. The reality however is very different. Many lines intersect, bend, elongate, and even shrink to nearly just a point. This is how my life has been so far. A complicated geometry with multiple starting points, endings, parallels, and spirals. As I’m moving forward, unwrapping my inner gifts and warming up in my passion flames, I’m discovering who I really am and what I really want. I now know that if I wake up one day and decide to quit, I will quit. It’s never too late to veer, never too late to change directions. I will still be following a line, a line that my heart will draw, and I know, deep inside, that this line will not be linear.

17. Every reality is wrong, every reality is right.

People are a combination of rainbows and water. An assortment of mellow colours that gets either diluted or saturated with values, opinions, perceptions, and attitudes, throughout the course of their lives. This eclectic nature of being engenders multiple realities that are faithfully praised by its creators, by us. All people have realities that look right to them but wrong to others, acceptable to them but dejected by others. I’ve asked myself: what makes one more right than the other? What absolute truth is there when all truths hold true to one person at least? I learned that everything can be right and everything can be wrong. It all depends on who’s judging.

18. Promises are easier broken than fulfilled.

I learned to promise nothing to no one. For why would I commit to a future that falls completely outside of my control? We often underestimate the power of words said today not realising that they’ll carry a big responsibility tomorrow. We like to play tricks with the future by imagining it, fantasising about it, creating and re-creating the end results. And then what happens when it’s there? Welcome to the land of disappointments! Our promises are words that time randomly and playfully rearranges until a whole new chapter is formed, a whole new meaning is fathomed… and the promise is completely broken.

19. We are more fragile than we think.

There are moments in life when everything seems to be just fine, when the forces of nature seem to be directed towards the center maintaining a balance, an equilibrium. Then all of a sudden, out of the tender placidity of our being, rises a turbulent whirlwind: break ups, divorces, deaths, rejections, disappointments… Moods start to swing, thoughts dismantle, principles collapse, promises break, infidelities erupt, and we lose balance. The self-portrait we once painted that showed an invincible persona, suddenly loses these very traits amid the transformation of our life events. We then remember how fragile we are. We remember how delicate orchids can be. We remember that we are breakable. We remember, the “unbearable lightness of (our) being”.

20. Principles should only be forged with experience.

I learned to never bind myself to a principle against which I haven’t tested my temptations yet. This realisation came after I broke many principles I once thought are unshakable. I’ve learned to destroy and rebuild my principles with experience. With time, I learned to calibrate the appropriate levels of right and wrong, the ones that I judge as acceptable to me. I forged new ways of thinking. I defined my values. And it’s only then, that I was able to articulate what my principles are.

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