3 Things on My Mind as I Turn 35

April 10, 2016 Lifestyle

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.

Thank you for reading.

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