April 9, 2016

3 Things on My Mind as I Turn 35

BirthdayPost

You know that feeling from your teens or early twenties after hearing that someone is 30 years old? You think, “OMG, that’s ancient!”. Well, I used to think anyone over the age of 26 was an old timer. And now it’s time for me to be 35.

Holy cow.

Not to sound cliché or anything, but I don’t really feel 35. If I’m being honest, it’s always felt as if I didn’t truly start living my life until I was 27. That was when I had finally cleared all of the symptoms of my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis after dealing with it for over 15 years. It was when I found my real group of soul sisters. And it marked the moment when I was on the brink of starting my dream biz.

When I turned 27, I used to tell people I felt like a toddler because it was the first time I hadn’t felt restricted physically by pain. So now that I’ve settled in, I can finally say I feel like an adult. I am so grateful for my home on the Upper West Side in NYC, and for the 15 years I’ve lived in Manhattan. I can’t really see myself living anywhere else. I feel so connected to this beautiful community and I know I’m blessed to be a part of it.

But this didn’t all happen overnight. As you may know, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. So this birthday, I wanted to take a moment to focus on the things that truly make 35 a brand new year.

Making space. Before my 35th birthday, I made a commitment to myself to create a tremendous amount of space for the things I truly want in my life. Sounds great, doesn’t it? The only challenge is that creating space means you have to let go of things. You have to remove obstacles. You have to delete delete delete. When I was going through that part of the process, boy was it painful. There were so many questions about whether or not it was the right thing to do, or whether I was moving in the right direction. And the question in mind was, what will everyone else think?

There was a time in my life when clearing out negative people was a huge task. Because I didn’t even know there were positive people in this world. I thought everyone was kind of the same. I did a lot of this clearing out in my late 20’s. It was painful but oh-so rewarding. I also quit my day job, not because I got super rich all of the sudden, or had a trust fund, or had any idea of what I was really doing. But because I believed in myself and knew that if I didn’t make space for my dreams, it would be much harder to make my dreams come true.

Moving on up. Another huge game-changer for me was when I moved to the Upper West Side. I remember looking at apartments with my parents and crying, claiming that all of my friends lived downtown and no one was ever going to hang out with me if I lived uptown. But something inside me knew that I couldn’t live on Bleecker Street above a bar any longer. My soul craved peace, stability, and a calmer lifestyle. So I found a place in upper Manhattan and I cried for the first month I lived there. Not because I didn’t love my apartment, but because there was so much change happening and I was afraid I would end up alone.

You see, this is one of the many times where I forgot to trust the Universe. Fast forward almost 4 years later, my best friend lives across the street and my other best friend is just 8 blocks south. I have so many besties in my vicinity, it feels like we created our own tight knit tribe up here. These days when I go downtown I can’t wait to get back home in the Upper West Side!

Letting go of the shoulds. I’ve been trying to break out of my cultural and societal box ever since I came out of the womb. I’ve never been one to conform to what others told me to do. However, while marching to the beat of my own drum, I felt incredibly guilty about it. As I’ve gotten older, I continue ignoring the shoulds and following my heart, and have finally dropped the guilt. I’ve mastered the art of connecting to my intuition enough to determine what’s right for me and what’s completely wrong. So here’s what I’ve finally let go of.

First should. You’re a woman, so you want children right? The scary, but true answer is no. This is not something I’ve talked about publicly, but those closest to me know it to be my truth. I’m open to the possibility that as things change and as I continue to get older, I might have a change of heart. But as I stand today, and how I’ve felt for many years now, having children is not the right thing for my body or my soul. It’s a little complicated for me to explain sometimes, but I’ve felt a bit trapped by my health ever since the age of 10. Always putting my health needs before my soul’s needs. Once I started to feel better, and even with the loss of my pup Bella, I started to realize that my soul had needs and desires I had never even heard before because my health was always talking the loudest. I want to answer the desires of my soul. And I have the feeling I could spend the rest of my life doing so and be completely fulfilled. Children don’t feel like part of that journey. Gulp.

Second should. I feel like it’s taken me a lifetime to really own this next one. And it still takes some work to do so. But as a child, growing up in an Indian home, I was somewhat of an alien to my immigrant parents who were used to children behaving. If your mom asks you to make your bed, clean up your room, or do your homework, in an Indian home you’re only response is supposed to be “ok”. I don’t think I ever said “ok” to anything my mom asked me to do as a child. It was never to be malicious or defiant for defiant’s sake, but I always felt that my feelings and emotions needed to be fully expressed. So if I didn’t feel that I wanted to do something I was asked, I made sure everyone knew about it. Fast forward many years later, and I’m still expressing my emotions even when others wish I wouldn’t, speaking my truth at the dinner table and on this blog. I’m always pushing the boundaries of what my parents grew up with. I’ve had a deep sense in my heart since I was a child that I was here to reclaim the woman’s voice in my family. I’m not sure everyone else feels that way, but I’m sticking with it.

Third should. The constant reminder that I need to be skinnier whether it be from people I love or society in general has followed me my whole life. Except for the time when I was 99 lbs because I was so sick with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I would be lying to you if I said that I never battle with this internally. I do. There are moments I wake up in the morning where I feel beautiful in my skin. And there are equally as many moments where I wake up and wish the extra fat around my belly wasn’t there. But to this day, I have never loved myself or my body more and even though I’m not a size 2, I’m the perfect size for me. I talk to my body all the time. It’s gone through some pretty horrifying moments and it still remains strong. How could I ever look at it and want it to be any different? So I let go of the “should” that it needs to be anything other than it is. It’s beautiful and I love every inch of it.

Even though this post is about my birthday, I wanted to walk you through some of these major milestones to hopefully help you reflect on how far you’ve come too. How many things you’ve let go of in order to let more beauty into your life. How many times you said no even when others wanted you to say yes. And how deeply you are learning to love yourself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving me as much as you do. Whether we’ve ever spoke, you’ve commented on my blog posts, attended one of my events, been a guest on my talk show, or sent me a love note via email, you have made a tremendous imprint on my heart and I couldn’t love you more.

Be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know how you cleared space or let go of a should in your life. Let’s inspire each other to keep this love fest going.

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Comments

  • Jenné

    What a beautiful & open reflection. As always, you have inspired me––and I’m sure, many more. Happy Birthday! xo

    • Nitika

      Thank you so much Jenne! Sending you so much love + glad it was inspiring!! xx

  • Priya

    Such a beautiful, soul-baring post, thanks for sharing <3 I feel lucky to know you 🙂

    • Nitika

      Thank you love! I feel lucky to know you too!! xx

  • April Moon

    Oh, darling Nikita, you’ve touched my heart! Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday, and this is precisely what I needed to read. I’m grappling with so many of these things – my own health/psoriasis/fertility issues mean my fiancée and I won’t be able to have children of our own (of course when your newly wed, people begin to hound you as to when you’re going to have a child – and it pains me to have to craft a response to this question every time, especially when it’s inappropriate to say “it’s none of your business”). I’ve coming closer to being okay with myself though – it’s not just my own health issues, my fiancée is in fact infertile as well – something neither one of us knew about the other when we first got together of course, and we were so scared to tell the other in fear that one wouldn’t be able to see a future with the other. And yet! Once we had the conversation, we both lightened up tremendously – because the issue was with both of us, and therefore there was no “blame” to internalize. We have found great comfort in knowing that if we do in fact want children one day, we can choose to foster or adopt. I could go on and on… Speaking my mind, my feelings, my truth, is another obstacle I’m still learning navigate – so thank you for sharing. You’re truly an inspiration and you have my deep admiration (if only Atlanta were closer to NYC, I’d love to attend one of your gatherings!)… Happy birthday and cheers to you, you beautiful woman (and fellow Aries)! xo~ April Moon

    • Nitika

      Thank you for this April and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! So fun that we share the day + your truth around your process with children is powerful. I am sure it isn’t easy for either you or your fiancé but it’s beautiful that you can be in together and not blame each other. I love that. Thank you for sharing + sending you so much birthday love!! xx

  • Michelle

    I love this one!!!!!! Love you ????

  • Joan Kline

    Happy Birthday Nitika! That was a beautiful soul searching message, which i needed to hear. Have a Blessed day and Thanks for Sharing!

    • Nitika

      Thank you so much Joan! Glad it was helpful. Lots of love xx

  • Brandi

    Dear heart, you are truly an incredibly, amazing woman. Thank you for being so vulnerable and open with this post. So much of it is my truth too. I love children, but I don’t want to have them and owning that is really hard because of all the pressures. My mother is still asking me to freeze my eggs (seriously). I’m not at war with body the way I was in my 20s anymore and loving my body no matter what its size feels so flipping fantastic. Being 35 (and just really in my 30s in general) has allowed me to have such a better perspective on life and my place in it. All of this to say: more coffee and chatting next time I’m in NYC. xoxo Happy Birthday!

    • Nitika

      Brandi my love! I am so beyond thrilled that this post resonated with you. That means a lot + I have so much gratitude for you sharing your truth here so beautifully!! Also, for making this site AMAZING so that I can share my truth 😉 Lots of love! xx

  • Cristina

    Hi Nitika!

    Happy birthday, you beautiful woman! This post (as most are) has been exceptionally inspiring. I don’t think women talk about their “should” beliefs enough. I know all about the limiting power of should and I still have my moments of falling victim to it. Thank you for sharing your experiences with this and all the ways that you’ve moved beyond it. I’m 28 going on 29 and I’m knees deep in shoulds, but the really big ones such as children (yes, no, maybe?), where to plant my roots (in NYC vs. back home with my family), when/if to leave my job to follow my dream, and sometimes the small stuff like whether or not to go to brunch when I really feel like staying home to work on my business and clean the apartment (should I be less boring?!). This is all to say, THANK YOU. When you’re in it, clarity feels impossible. But you always remind me that it is possible. That in time, all things are possible. 🙂

    • Nitika

      This is so incredibly sweet Cristina, THANK YOU! For sharing your kind words and your truth. I really try to bring my full self to my work and the fact that it’s resonating with you means the world. Sending you so much love! xx

  • Erin Spensley

    Thank you Nitika! The “shoulds” are hard for me to let go. I’m 37, not married, no children, and sometimes I wonder where I fit in with this world. ALL of my friends from college are married with children, or just married, and I wonder what happened to me and how I was left out. When I start to feel bad about that, I remember that God works in ways that I will not understand (and who would really want that responsiblity!) and that my adventure is ongoing. Thank you for being honest and brave and encouraging me to do the same. Much love to you! <3

    • Nitika

      Oh sweet Erin, I so feel you in this moment! Truly. Good for you for constantly climbing for the higher thoughts of knowing the universe has your back and that there is a bigger and more glorious plan for you than you could even imagine. Sending you so much love! xx

  • Cielo

    Nitika,

    Thank you so much for sharing so openly and vulnerably. This touched my heart! I’ve been struggling most of my life with not loving my body and appreciating what it had done and continues to do for me. I’ve also been on a journey the past few years figuring out what I want in my life and what my hearts desires are. I’ve now embarked on the path to becoming a doula and I was terrified to ever take that step. I’ve released many toxic people and situations from my life and I continue to work on that. I’m definitely a work in progress but I’m beginning to love my life and myself in a way that I’ve NEVER done before. I’m 40 and have finally given myself permission to go after my dreams and build the life I truly desire. You have been and continue to be such an inspiration. I hope you had/have an insanely amazing birthday and a year filled with joy, continued success, love and complete abundance!!

    • Nitika

      Thank you beautiful Cielo!!! I am so honored to have you on this journey with me + THRILLED that you are finally going after your dreams!!! You so deserve to be happy beautiful. Go get em!! xxx

  • Susannah

    WOW! Can I just send you a massive virtual hug? This is so honest and relatable and AWESOME!! Adore you and happy birthday! The “clearing space to let the good in” was like a direct missive straight to my heart. Needed to hear that one. It’s a scary thought though! These security blankets are like a drug and we train ourselves (at least I do) to think we can’t exist without them. Going through my own thoughts on this right now and it was like a lightening bolt of energy when I read this. YES!

    • Nitika

      Yes you CAN send me a virtual hug!! And I am totally feeling it. Thank you for the birthday wishes and thrilled this post resonated with you Susannah!! xx

  • Michele Morales

    This is so beautiful! Thanks for being open and vulnerable which helps me and others feel brave enough to do so ourselves. You’re so incredibly inspiring. Love you!

  • Purnima

    Dear Nitika. You have a gift of expression. This is only a second of your blog posts that I read today. I discovered you while going through the pictures on Facebook by Anish Shah on his last show. I am a fan of these shows but have been missing out on them recently.

    I have yet to come across many women who would speak openly how old they are and society tells us not to reveal your age. I battle with that myself a lot. “Letting of shoulds” is a great idea that I hope to reflect upon myself before my birthday this year. Thank you!

    • Nitika

      I am so grateful you found this blog Purnima! Thank you so much for your kind words, it means so much to me that the content here has helped you in your journey in some way. Sending you so much love! xx

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