25 Lessons Before 25

I’ll be celebrating my 25th birthday in August inshallah, so this post is a little early. But I’ve been going through some major transitions and changes in life so it seems like an appropriate time to pen (type?) these down. Maybe I’m writing these for myself, as a journal entry and if anyone reading these can benefit from them, what’s the harm. So here they are, 25 lessons I have learnt before turning 25:

  1. Your story is not your weakness- where you come from, what you’ve been through, the mistakes that you’ve made and the cuts on your wrists. They are nothing to be ashamed of. Your story is not your weakness, it’s just a premise, a beginning. It’s like the turbulent beginning of a book or a movie waiting to be turned around. Own your past so that you can conquer the future.
  2. You will start being un-apologetically honest – and start appreciating others who do the same. Can’t make it to someone’s birthday? Can’t turn in that presentation on time? Can’t invite someone over for dinner because of your busy schedule? You’ll learn to say no, because at the end of the day, an honest refusal is better than a flaky commitment (which can haunt you forever!)
  3. Your reaction doesn’t have to depend on anyone’s actions – Someone stabbed you in the back? Screwed you over? Went behind your back and spread rumors about you? There will come a point where instead of getting angry, you’ll just shake your head and move on with your day. Your reactions will finally stop reflecting people around you and start stemming from your own heart, reflecting who you are as a person.
  4. You will lose friends and it will bother you – Some people will get too busy for you, some will just get nasty. You’ll crib about it, cry about it, whine about it and try to move on with your life. But the truth is, a friendship break up can hurt just as much as a regular break up if not more, and you’ll certainly take a while to get used to it.
  5. You will lose friends and it will not bother you – Some friends, you’ll realize, were not really friends at all. That huge circle of people you thought you were friends with? Turns out they were just… baggage. You’ll drop them or they’ll drop you and it will surprise you how little it will matter.
  6. Your body will start to betray you – while that first grey hair might be a cause for celebration, you will wonder how effortlessly you used to pull all nighters and run up and down the stairs so swiftly only up until a year ago (or was it two years ago?)
  7. Your definition of friendship will change – friendship will not mean weekly coffee meets and daily calls. It will mean who you text in the middle of the night after 3 months because you’re having unbearable cramps.
  8. It will get harder to apologize, which is why you must- You have learnt so much in the past 24 years that your head will inflate and swell up from all the information. It will get really difficult to look at other people’s opinions and point of views with that inflated head of yours. Which is why you must pay attention to regularly deflate it. The most effective way of doing so is by apologizing, even when you think you can’t be wrong, ever.
  9. Wealth will become subjective – You will finally have enough money to order fancy lunches and afford expensive (but tasteless) coffee. That’s when you will look back and cherish the hours spent at your local hangout splitting the bill with your equally broke friends. Wealth will not mean money, it will mean good, sincere company.
  10. You will have to create time – for friends, for art, for writing, for singing, for watching the sun rise from your car as you drive past the beach. If you don’t, you will rust and lose perspective of just how insignificant you are in this world.
  11. You will be wrong and you will choose to speak up – Sometimes, saying ‘Yes I was mistaken’ and ‘Sorry, I was wrong’ will bring more peace in your life than anything else.
  12. You will be right and you will choose to stay shut – Other times, knowing perfectly well how right you are will make you want to go and correct misconceptions but you will choose to let the truth find it’s way to people’s hearts. And even if it doesn’t, just knowing that you’re right will become enough.
  13. It will get harder to ignore a stray cat or a hungry street child – generosity is linked with guilt. As you get older, your guilt will increase, unless you’re heartless or a complete angel who has committed no sins. Every time you look into the eyes of a street child, you will question your life and the path you’re on.
  14. You will understand the importance of family
  15. You will look back on all the people who at some point made your life hell, and thank them – Because your life would have been on a much different course if it hadn’t been for those individuals.
  16. Facebook will finally have a purpose – stalking long lost school friends and watching their life developments with pleasure and pride
  17. A bad personality will overshadow a bad outfit – It’s a shame how much everyone tells you, since you’re a little kid, the importance of how you look. So you invest money and time and effort to work on those little flaws that you have; A crooked nose, a pimple, dark circles, stretch marks. But no one ever tells you to invest that same time in the flaws that you have inside. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist and believe me, they can definitely feel uglier than just a tacky pair of shoes or a bad hair day.
  18. You’ll wish you had eaten healthy like mom asked you to – Calcium supplements and multivits will become a part of your life and you’ll regret not drinking enough milk and eating enough home made veggies like mommy asked you to.
  19. Something that you can create will give you more pleasure than something that you can buy – For example, finishing a page of Abdullah Syed’s Rangeen Pakistan will give you more validation than a two hour shopping spree at the mall.
  20. You will fear a mundane, monotonous life – You will fill your life with crazy projects, social commitments, networking opportunities and recreation to avoid feeling ‘boring’.
  21. You will secretly crave a mundane, monotonous life – You will burn out eventually and crave what you once thought was ‘boring’
  22. You will want to take breaks from socializing with people – That includes social media. Just… no.
  23. The greatest thing you will experience is enabling someone younger than yourself – The feeling that you can enable someone to unlock their true potential and become greater than yourself is one of the most satisfying feelings you will ever experience and it will remind you of all the mentors who ever believed in you.
  24. It will get harder to forgive yourself than to forgive others – Letting go of your mistakes will become harder than letting go of other people’s mistakes and suddenly, guilt will be a more destructive emotion than anger.
  25. You will learn that Alhumdulillah is not just a phrase – If you have to be truly thankful, you will have to be thankful of all the good and all the bad that comes in your life. Take each blessing as a test and each hurdle as a blessing. Only then will you be able to say ‘Alhumdulillah’ with complete confidence and from the heart.

8 thoughts on “25 Lessons Before 25

  1. Rahim says:

    Just a month ago, i have also went past my 25th and similarly wrote a article on my life but to be honest i haven’t published it . However you article for joy to read and keep writing for your self and for passionate reader’s.


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