It’s  a thought that I have been mulling over.  I suspect it comes from the taking-stock-of-life phase that I have been in. A phase that has stretched over 4 months, much longer than my usual phases. Its making me reassess my life, scrutinize each aspect of it and creatively visualize (yup, that comes from a self-help book) for myself how I would like my future life to be.

Observation is  one the greatest source of learning.  You don’t have to live a thousand lives, go through a million experiences, and make mistakes to learn from them. You have to observe people around you carefully, spend some time pondering over your observations to reach your own realizations. Of course living, experiencing, getting your fingers burnt are all important and have value but one life is too short to do all the learning that needs to be done. It’s quicker to learn from others.

In my stock-taking phase I notice my observation has become keener. I am looking at people – really looking at them-  and observing  what they are doing, how and why. Worldly observation mixed with my aspirations and life situations is helping me decide for myself what I would like to do differently. It’s a path I am paving brick by brick.

So far this is what I’ve got figured out.  It is a bullet point list of 5 things I have decided I will differently scores of others around me. I’m going to revisit this list when I hit 40 to see how true I have been to it.

1.        Endless learning.  There is just so much to learn in this world.   Sometime around middle age, people move from actively learning to actively dispensing gyan.  Very avoidable. Keep the ego out to open up new vistas of learning.  Keep up with the changing times.  Admit you don’t know and be willing to learn from others, even those younger to you.

Learn from life. Believe that people and situations come your way to teach you something. Be vigilant and understand what life is saying though its patterns and  twists and turns. Talk to people from different strata of society. Everyone has a point of view, and experiences to share.

Find and pursue new interests, hobbies and activities.  It’s a good way to keep occupied and to develop a wholesome personality.

Read.

2.        Keep it flexible. It seems that with age come rigidity (in mind and body). Quite a scary thought.  Rigidity of mind seems more worrisome, its effects quite detrimental. After all, it’s the mind that rules us.

With flexibility comes adaptability. Both are essential to cope with life, the changing society, the cultural shift, the younger generation…

Flexibility and adaptability helps us change. Without change, there is no development, no advancement, no progress.

3.        Find yourself.   There comes a time in life  ( I am told around mid life) when the responsibilities pile up, the to-do list is  never ends  and time is always short.  Amidst the madness and the demands of the profession and the (ever expanding?) circle of family and friends, make sure to find time for yourself. Have your own space- in the physical world (if possible) and  in the mind.

Find a way to get time off from the noisy exterior world, even if it’s just a half hour a day. Use the time to think, contemplate, recharge. Not enough attention is given to the importance of concentrating and contemplating.

4.        The balancing act.  Life is all about setting your priorities right. There is so much that life offers you that you must consciously pick for yourself what you want. You can’t want it all, so prioritise.

Know how much importance to give to what – work, family (nuclear and extended), children, self development, money, wealth, recreation, health, hobbies, travel.  It’s quite a long list to prioritise.  :)

Find out what important and what’s not.  It helps to get that clarity. Ignore everything that falls in the not- important list. There isn’t enough time to bother about it.

De-clutter. Lead a simpler life. Own less. It’ll save a hell of a lot of time.

5.         Invest.  In life things that really matter are all long term in nature.  Investments made over a long period of time give rich returns. They also demands time, attention and nurturing.   So invest. In money, health and relationships. At 70, all  of it will be  worth it.

That’s it for today. The next post should hopefully be lighter. Enough of the taking-stock-of-life phase. I need a new phase!