On This Thirty

A friend of mine shared this beautiful article on turning 30 and what our 30’s really mean. It’s really different from everything we thought we knew in our twenties. We unlearn patterns that no longer work for us, we attempt to align ourselves with who we really are at the end of the night, when we are alone with our thoughts (whether you have a partner or not, at the end of the night there is that moment when you know whether you are satisfied or not). I often think about being content and the feeling of knowing that I have tried to be the best version of me. I have failed at so many things, made many mistakes, but at the end of the night, I know I gave it all my best shot. I don’t look at what I have to lose, but rather what I can gain from an experience, from telling the truth that my heart struggles to express, from apologizing when the ego doesn’t want to, and from recognizing that mistakes don’t define us. There’s no such thing as good or bad people. There are only mistakes we make or good deeds we do. Neither is conclusive. We are always evolving, just like any writing process, the final draft takes a lot of polishing. 

My lovely friend continues to remind me to be present, to live in the moment, and to release a painful past. But while he does that, he also insists that there is no such thing as a painful past. Even in pain there is something we aren’t seeing. And if you’re lucky, you get to be confronted with your worst nightmares, your worst issues. So what do you do? In your twenties, you react differently. In your thirties, you pause and think before you speak, before you hurl words at people (loving words or hateful words), and you wonder whether this action, or lack thereof, fits with the best version of yourself, and how you’d like your life to pan out. When I turned 30, I sat down and wrote myself a letter. I wanted to remember what my values were, what my fears were, and my priorities, who and what I loved in the world. But that was nearly six months ago, and this article reminded me what I have to always keep in mind:

Our 30s are meant for loving the hell out of our lives—enjoying each and every moment and going to sleep each evening with a smile upon our lips, knowing that we couldn’t have done it any better.

It’s the time to believe in ourselves and all that we have learned.
Our 30s are a time for action, for those silent plans that we are working on knowing that it’s the great things that take the most time.
But regardless of how amazing our 30s can be, we first need to make the choice to shift our mindset.
Here’s the link:


Love and Academia

Today someone reminded me of how difficult it was for me during my undergraduate days. My postgraduate days were extremely exhausting and very gloomy at times. There were many days where I thought of giving up on academia. There were times where I couldn’t hold a pen. And yet, despite the struggle, I managed. Today my papers fell out of my briefcase, everywhere, it was a total mess. And as a student of mine bent down to help me gather them, for that one moment, as I looked at her, I had a flashback of myself, as a student, struggling to carry my literature books and dragging myself to class. As we gathered the papers and I thanked her, my mind went back to the past.

It has been only two years since I got my PhD, October 2014. That day was a day where the clock stopped ticking, the viva seemed to go on forever, and I couldn’t bring myself to see the end of the tunnel. But at 3 pm that certain October day, I was finally who I wanted to be, and where I wanted to be. I rememebr being in shock for a few days after. And when I came home, I was met with endless love and celebration. 

People look at me today and assume it was an easy journey. Some people tell me I am too young to be a professor. Some tell me that I wasted years amongst books. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was never about the degree. It was simply about love.