30 things I would tell my 20-year-old self

30 things I would tell my 20-year-old self

Earlier this morning, I came across a Buzzfeed post on “millennials” and how the internet often takes pleasure in mocking them. I read a lot of comments from millennials, which turns out includes people born between 1980 and 1995, defending their generation from the criticism of the Baby Boomers.

I have to say, being born in 1986, I do not identify with those born after 1992 (my little sister, for example), who I consider to be the real millennials, and of course I don’t identify with the older generation either. I find myself stuck somewhere between the Baby Boomer and the Millennials.

The reason I write this is because in less than 24 hours, I will have finished 30 years of living and loving on this planet.

It would be such a cliché to say that I don’t feel 30, but the fact is, I do feel like I’ve only just begun. And yet, unlike millennials, I do have so much to show for the last three decades.

It’s true that I can’t afford a house or a fancy impulse vacation, and inspite of everything, I continue to remain at the start of career race.

Ten years ago, I could have never imagined doing what I’m doing today on my 30th birthday. Honestly, I never really thought about being 30, and yet somehow expected to be a little “better off”, somewhere in the middle management, mid career phase, taking a few vacations a year, sipping wine at Champ de Elysees, and what not.

But then I went ahead and did these other things and lived an entirely different life than I planned — the diversity of experiences, the many many wonderful relationships I’ve developed over the years, the books I’ve read, the people I met, their stories and opportunity to tell stories that make a difference — I don’t think I’d exchange this for the different life.

Thirty years is a long time, and the last decade of it has been the most beautiful. And, if I could, here is what I’d like my 20 year old to know:

1. You will not end up as a film maker, but it will lead you to doing something you will absolutely love — so keep at it. (Plus you’ll make an awesome best friend at the film school)

2. Pay more attention to your graduation studies — it’s something you’re very good at, but will regret not having done it right

3. Consider a Masters early on if possible — but it’s no big deal if you don’t either

4. Read more. A whole lot more than you already do. As you grow older, you won’t get as much time

5. Reread Harry Potter without guilt

6. Write more. It will eventually become your career

7. Take risks

8. Sleep late, but wake up earlier. Or don’t. Just sleep as much as you want.

9. Cook more; it will be your therapeutic outlet to help you deal with all crap in the world; and you’ll be excellent at it

10. You’ll develop a strange appreciation for pressure cookers

11. You’ll develop an allergy to wine and an addiction to coffee

12. Don’t feel bad about missing those parties. They’re so overrated

13. Don’t justify yourself, your choices and your lifestyle to anyone; those who demand it, are not worth being around. Eventually, you’ll end up with a small circle of really wonderful people who will love you for your quirkiness and you’ll love them for theirs. You can rely on them, no matter where in the world you are

14. Don’t judge others and be a bit more considerate of what others have to deal with

15. You will be that annoying know-it-all — learn to shut up sometimes!

16. You will end up in an odd places around the world. Expect things to be weird.

17. You will also attract a lot of weird people in your circle. Hold on to some of them; they’re the best

18. There will be a lot of idiots, too. And sometimes it will be hard to identify them

19. Value relationships — don’t fall out of touch with those who you’ve been close to, and don’t let them cut you out either. You’ll regret losing some really close friends — you can totally prevent that

20. Wait for it

21. Spend more time with Shono; you will miss her the most when you move away

22. Expect some fights with Mum and Dad in the next few year, but don’t avoid them cause they will be an important part in helping you be who you are. (Plus, after this one particular fight, Dad will buy you a new laptop, phone and let you celebrate your 21st birthday in Hong Kong ;))

23. Don’t be ashamed of your “gap year” — you’ll do some really amazing things that year

24. Save some money; listen to your Dad

25. You will get to travel some; not as much as you hope for, but you’ll see some of the world

26. Paris is overrated, as is Champ de Elysees, and remember you’re allergic to wine

27. You will make it to Kabul, after all. Be patient

28. Things will always work out for you, no matter how bad the situation seems at that point. You’ll always land on your feet (like a cat!)

29. Oh, and you’ll eventually be adopted by an extremely affectionate, loving and stupid cat

30. You will find a lot of love ❤