The words, "Growing Older" used in the title are a bit over-dramatic considering the fact that I am 26. In my defense, I have crossed the benchmark of being a 25-year old woman, so, yeah never mind. I am old... not very old, but older than 25-years old Nilakshi and much older than the teenage Nilakshi. Once, I became 25-years old, I was in a panic mode, the thought that the next year I will be 26 was overbearing, and I assumed that in a blink of an eye, I will be 30 but I think, growing old is not as bad as it seems and it definitely is a slow change.
I am at that age, where I have somehow managed to maintain a perfect balance between my academic, professional and personal life and I am proud of it.
Along with the passage of time, I think, a certain elegance of age comes into play. Just have a look, I use "I think", this is something that I have learned with age that I cannot speak for all. I can only talk about myself, my point of view, my values, and I understand that these are not universal. Anyways, in the book "Wabi-Sabi", I encountered the meaning of "Sabi". It basically refers to the beauty that comes from age and decay and well, I am aging and decaying and I can see the beauty of it.
Let me tell you how have I experienced the beauty of aging. The current Nilakshi knows a lot more about how to take a stand for herself and she further, inspires others to do the same. I am still working with the feeling of guilt that is generally associated with taking a strong stand, especially for oneself but I hope, in the next few years, I will even learn to say goodbye to the feeling of guilt too. Why am I saying "years" instead of the next few days or months? I guess, it has to do with the conditioning. The Indian culture is known to promote selfless nature, which often means denying yourself the things and emotions that you really want for yourself. One word for describing this stupid pressure is "toxic". Self-love post on Instagram makes me so happy because now I know that we, as a generation are fighting to walk towards self-love and against the prescribed societal norms. Be kind, be generous, be everything good but not at your expense. One thing that I have learned is that it is stupid to rely on others for your happiness. Why burden other people with the expectation of your happiness? Go and take control of your life and keep the key to your happiness with yourself.
The next thing that I have learned is the art of letting go. While reading the book, "The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck", I thought the book is over-hyped but it makes a lot of sense to me. Every now and then, we encounter people and situations who are powerful enough to evoke the feeling of opening up your head, if it makes any sense! At times like this, it is important to take a step back and ask ourselves if the mental and emotional havoc is worth it? If yes, work on it, and if no, just let it go and never look back. Some people and situations are never worth your time and effort. It might look like I am promoting narcissistic behavior but the next time when you are in such a situation, consider the other person as a fool and move ahead with your own happy vibe. It will bring an immediate sense of relief for sure. Try it, please! Added bonus: your friends and you are on the same page for holding similar views for such people and situations.
Thirdly, I have learned how to manage my emotions in a better manner. Stress can result in grey hair and honestly typing, I am not prepared for grey hair yet. A healthy amount of stress is healthy for the body but save yourself from piles of stress. When in a stressful situation, just acknowledge it, accept it and then say aloud, "Fuck It!". I am still working on my immediate reaction so that I can respond better. It's a work in progress but thankfully, there is an improvement in how I am managing my emotions.
Lastly, I have learned to love my body. I have started exercising, no, I still have not joined any fancy gym but I ensure that I eat healthy food and stretch myself regularly, and now, I feel good in my bodysuit. Also, I believe, I finally know how to dress better now. Quite an achievement for me!
I am proud of the current Nilakshi, I have worked hard for a long time to become the person that I am now and I love this person. In the book, "Am I There Yet?", the author asks to make a decision to impress only two people in life:
your 5-year old self
your 85-year old self
and I feel that both the versions of Nilakshi will be happy and proud of my current version, which of course, will be receiving more updates in the future.