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Many of us have secret messages for our children. These are lessons from life that we hope to share with our next generation when ‘the time is right’. I have a few too. I am not a relationship guru or an expert on work-life balance, but I am a keen observer of life and I believe in learning and sharing lessons from it. So here I go…

RELATIONSHIPS are the basis of life. They inspire and influence and make us who we are. Every interaction is a learning. With every interaction, we create an impression for someone. Therefore, it is important that we understand and realise how our words and actions affect others, particularly those who care for us. Here’s my take on some relationships.

Parents– Remember, this is the only relation that you don’t get to choose 🙂 Now, let’s look at the upside. Chances are these folks will never desert you, no matter what. When you are a child, your mom and dad will (mostly) be your heroes but as you grow you will realise that they are not as perfect as you thought them to be. It’s ok. You are probably much smarter and bursting with ideas. So, show them the way! Remember, they might not admit it easily but all parents secretly pat their backs for having raised a smart and sensitive gen-X.  It’s ok if there are times when you don’t understand each other. Always know that they cherish the time spent with you no matter what. So irrespective of how busy you are with college, friends, work, remember that a call from you or a meal shared with you will make them very happy. I love the way my mom’s sleepy voice becomes chirpy the moment she realises it’s her li’l (!!??) daughter on the other end of the phone line. That’s right, it doesn’t matter how old you get your parents will always see you as the baby they raised.

Friends- We love them and would much rather be with them than anywhere else! If you are an extrovert and love meeting people chances are by the time you reach college your friends list will run into multiple digits, which is good. BUT, don’t be surprised if by your 30s the list is in single digits. The thing is, as we age and priorities change we do not always have the time to keep in touch with everyone. Your real friends will understand that. With a true friend, you can always pick up the phone and continue from where you left last time. That’s the beauty of it. So give yourself time to realise that not all friendships will stand the test of time.

Marriage– They say it’s a pact made in heaven, maybe. We’ll find that out later but as long as you are on earth and in this institution, you cannot hope for divine intervention every time and take things for granted. Like any other relationship, marriage requires hard work. Not just in the beginning but forever. I am a big fan of this institution because it’s given me a lot – love, friendship, companionship, support, security, freedom, beautiful memories and YOU! But, I cannot and will not take all credit for it. This relationship should never be measured in terms of who is giving or receiving more. It should always be about two people who truly want to be together and are giving it their best. If you are lucky, you will end up having a best friend forever!

In-laws- To begin with, the Mother-in-Law (MIL) vs. Daughter-in-Law rivalry is over-hyped. Do not step into the relationship with Eagle eyes watching out for the ‘Monster-in-Law’. She might not exist! The truth is as much as you want to like them and make things work chances are they are trying too for the sake of the one man you both love. So give it a shot. Don’t overdo it and do not set wrong expectations. Every family is different and the rules in the house may differ. See if you can accept theirs, if not, let them know what doesn’t work for you. My MIL is very spiritual and perhaps wanted me to follow some of her traditions. I tried, I honestly did.  But I failed because I am not as disciplined as her. I let her know the same and she accepted me the way I am. BUT, that has not changed anything between us. We meet every few months, I keep in touch with her over phone and we have great conversations about books, spirituality and about what we would both love to do if the men in the house gave us a break from the routine!! 🙂

FAITH AND BELIEF

Faith means different things to different people. I don’t want to impose my beliefs on you but all I ask of you is to have a belief system. Life can sometimes be tough and it helps to have an anchor. Choose a path that works for you. Rituals are not important. What’s important is to derive positivity out of the experience and the ability to spread that around you.

EDUCATION, CAREER, AND MONEY

Education is very important. Later in life you will realise that most of what happens in your personal space- your career, lifestyle, friends, stress levels are all influenced by the choices that you made early on in life. There is no simple way to decide what will work for you. You have to try, re-try and keep going.

Your career will define the second half of your life. It will give you financial stability, confidence, drive to excel and much more. Be thoughtful and sincere to your job. If you feel you are not motivated or challenged enough then stop and decide if you want to continue. Let work not suffer because you are not up to it. The right job will motivate you to get out of bed every morning and face the world. Remember, not every day will be the same. But if your job inspires you and engages you in the right way then most of the days you will go to bed feeling satisfied and proud of what you have achieved.

Money is important, very important but never work for money. That’s a wrong goal to chase. The desire for money can never really be satiated. The more you have, the more you want. Instead chase the right dreams, the right motivational factors, the right influences and money will come to you. Once you have money, it is important to save for those rainy days. Don’t lead a frugal life if you don’t want to, but always respect money.

BODY AND BEAUTY

God has made us the way we are and it is important to be comfortable in your own skin. Having said that, it is also important that you accept and take care of your our body. Keep yourself fit. It’s not about ‘looking’ good, it’s about ‘feeling’ good. If you feel good in your heart and mind you will look good too! I want to emphasize this to you because I realized this only in my mid-life.  I tried Yoga out of curiosity and got hooked to it. Slowly the benefits started showing and I realised what I had missed out till then. Consider it your “me time” which resets your clock and recharges you to take on more in life.

Try and let me know if any of this works for you!

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