The 30 Things I Learned By The Age Of 30

21. A little bit of chaos is vital.

I come from a culture adorned by chaos. Even our breathes are chaotic and lack rhythm. You can argue it’s pollution; I think it’s fear. Two years ago, I joined a culture that loves discipline. Everything is very neat and tidy: the streets, the human behaviours, and of course The System. Having experienced the two sides of the discipline coin, I came to the conclusion that a little bit of chaos is necessary. It boosts creativity, gives ample space for people to think, to act differently, to come up with different solutions. Tough rules, systemisation, policies, and automation are the enemies of creativity. Chaos is a symbol of life. “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star”. Now I know why every time I look at the sky, all I see are shooting stars.

22. Magic is real.

Do you feel at times that our universe speaks to us in a mysterious code that we are unable to fathom into a clear language? The more time passes, the more I find myself looking at the world with reverence and awe. How small we are in this infinite universe! We’re finite entities in an infinite world! It’s true that we reached a decent level of understanding in cosmology, physics, mathematics, and biology, yet there are so many things we still don’t know. Our universe is phenomenal! What about the notions of destiny, serendipity, meaningful coincidences, synchronicities…? My life has been full of such mysterious events. I believe in magic. I believe magic is real.

23. If it doesn’t feel right, then it’s not right.

Sometimes we decide to take a step in our life. We decide to just “go for it”, because everything around us tells us it’s right. We think and rethink about the whole scenario, analyse it, link the causes to the effects, and yet, no matter how coherent and logical all the data seems to be, something (inexplicable) leaves us worried and doubtful. Does it sound familiar? Well, it is definitely to me! I would describe this “something” as a tickle in my heart, a little vibration in my beats out of the ordinary. And I feel it, no matter how low the frequency is. I learned to trust my intuition and listen more to my inner voice. I learned that it’s the one that tells the truth.

24. Sometimes, by walking away you move forward.

Throughout my walk of life, there were times when I stopped for a (long) while and allowed my heart to land, beat harder, and get attached. Get attached to what? To people, objects, places, comfort zones… And then I got stuck. This is what attachments do, don’t you think? They mess with time and space dimensions, disorient us, and leave us lost in a circle dancing tango… alone! Sometimes, it’s only by walking away that we can re-established our space and time coordinates. It takes time, courage, and a strong will to let go, but eventually, “the show must go on”.

25. Art is a language we should learn.

It took me time to understand the language of art. Just like silence, art has a healing power. Painting, writing, dancing, sculpting, all speak a similar language: the language of beauty, spirituality, and life. Museums to me are like sacred temples. Blessed are all the pious who bow with admiration to the beauty of art! Let us stand still and marvel at the secrets of a painting! Let us allow the silence in colours brush off the noises inside our heads! A world without art is like a desert without sand: lonely and incomplete. So let us rejoice!

26. It is how it is.

Why do you think the sky is blue? Why the colours have no smell? Why the sounds cannot be seen? Well, because it is how it is. How often do we find ourselves lost in the maze of life events, not knowing the how and why, the cause and the effect? We see people die every day for no apparent reason. We see people break up, marry, weep, laugh, fall, stand up and we just don’t know how and why. As time moves on, we accept to live with this mystery. We accept that some questions have no answers. In fact, we accept silence to be our only answer. “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”, and this is all we need to know.

27. You don’t need a lot of money to be happy.

In case we haven’t noticed yet, we are all slaves of consumerism. Money making keeps climbing the ladder of our priorities, not so much by willingness as by sheer necessity. I acknowledge we do need some money to live a decent life where our rents are covered, our bills are paid, our food is provided, or even our travels plans are secured. But when I look around me and try to make sense of the unhappiness I see in people’s eyes, I see things like low self-worth, fear of intimacy, an urge to be understood, a need to be loved, a demand to be recognised, a dissatisfaction with the present, a shyness to show the real self, a desire to bond with the other… They’re all things that can’t be bought by money yet are all needed to be happy.

28. “What you resist persists.”

Sometimes, when our emotional buttons are pushed as a result of say, death of a closed one, rejection by a partner, or a tough conversation, we either deny or confront those very bitter and acidic feelings bubbling inside us. But don’t you feel it’s sometimes bigger than you? Don’t you feel that no matter how hard you try to eliminate that bitterness, the after taste remains long after the incident? I learned to neither deny nor confront, but to embrace. I learned to embrace my sadness and accept it, until sadness itself dissolves in the warmth of the embrace, and eventually, evaporates.

29. “We are good by nature but corrupted by society.”

This is a philosophy by J.J. Rousseau that dates back to the 18th century. I am a believer of it. I believe people are born good, until they become “layer makers”. What a masquerade we live in! People have become too busy building and embellishing their layers: layers of power, fear, hesitation, you name it. It’s a world of fake smiles rather than genuine tears. A world where praise is articulated in the most polite and formal manner, rather than through eyes sparkling with admiration. People learned how to breathe behind masks. I learned that the world around me is not real.

30. My 30 lessons are all but static.

I am a flower that withers in the wind, blooms in the sun, hides in the snow, dies in the desert. My life has been a cycle of seasons that comes and goes, every now and then. If this holds true, then how can I not change, transform, mutate, collapse, get restored, almost continually? If the universe itself is dynamic, infinitely expanding and contracting, then how can I not dance with it? How can I take everything I shared with you as static? My 30 lessons are all but static. They will change, transform, mutate, collapse, get restored, almost continually. Earlier this year, I visited the biggest mosaic museum in the world. Now I remember that the mosaics I liked the most, are the ones that have been partly erased, the ones whose colours have been partly altered. They’re the ones that have bore the traces of time. Now I know that in another 30 years, this is exactly how my mosaic will be. TC mark

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