Birthday Lessons

Last month, I turned 26. 26 years of figuring life out one step at a time. Life has been very kind to me and I’m blessed to have been able to explore and enrich my journey with rewarding experiences. In these 26 years, I have experienced hardships, life changing realisations, instances of sadness, bouts of anger, unconditional friendships, rebellious youth, passionate romances and moments of truth.


As I am sitting on a couch somewhere in LA, and looking out at the beautiful clear sunshine, I thought I would look inside. Look into my life and cherish the memories and lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today.

In the 26 years I have inhabited the earth, these are my top lessons :


  • You are always going to be a work in progress.

I stopped craving perfection a long time ago. Ever since my pancreas decided to call it quits, I have realised there is nothing like perfect. I used to chase that perfect number, that perfect outfit, that perfect response - and in the hustle and chase, I missed the joy of the ‘imperfect’. I now take life with a “we will figure it out” attitude - and its made living life an extraordinary adventure!


  • True friendship is when they can tell you, you are wrong.

Everyone can pretend to be nice on the surface, but a friend who will stand by you when you cant even look yourself in the mirror - are the friends that are true. Its very easy to get lost in the popularity of the fan fare - but what I have realised is that people will tell you exactly what you want to hear. A true friend will be your greatest cheerleader but also your harshest critic and those are your inner circle.


  • Never let heartbreak, break your heart.

Honestly, we underestimate the strength of our heart. Its the strongest muscle of the body, and yet we treat it like its the weakest. In life, you will break hearts, you will get heartbroken, you will love and you will lose - and sometimes, a breakup can make you lose faith in love! The beauty about love, is that it doesn’t come with an expiry date. Dont let the past stop you from falling in love again and again and again.


  • If it made you smile at one point - its worth it

Life is too damn short to live with regrets. “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” has never been my philosophy and with each growing year I have come to the conclusion that to live life well, you must bungee jump into it. No time for, “Oh I wish” or “what if”! Im more scared of that than I am of trying something and not liking it later. Like my favourite movie “Zindagi Nahi Milegi Dobara” rightly puts it “Mujhe Afsos Karna nahi aata” (I don’t know how to regret)


  • Judgment is for the weak hearted

I have always been judged. All my life. Reputations have been fucked with and images have been constructed. I don’t care anymore, but when things were really bad, it flipped a switch in me. We all have stories that others don’t know about. We are all fighting battles that may not be visible. Judging someone says more about your lack of empathy and character than the person you are judging. Be Kind. And let people live their life on their own terms - and you do the same!


  • Always be a learner!

This is probably the most important thing I have learnt along the way and has greatly helped me in becoming a better, more well rounded individual. There is so much out there in the world that we have no idea about - yet are always first to speak about. Through the years, I have realised that before speaking about something, take some time to learn about it.


  • Music can help you tell your story!

My day begins and ends with music; its got a unique ability of making you feel heard and understood. We all have things to say, and often, we cant find the words to express them. Thats why we search hard for quotes and lyrics, rhythms and melodies that we resonate with. My music, and my playlists have become an anthology of the different phases of my life - and sometimes, when I go back and play a random playlist from my past - I get struck with a nostalgia that is healing and beautiful. You want to understand my life - go and stalk my Spotify ;)


  • Making a difference doesn’t have to be big!

I have always believed that change begins with one person! When I started Diabesties, I realised the true worth of this. Making one person feel less alone, educating one person, helping one person is rewarding in so many ways. And as that circle of influence increases, the worth and impact increases too. So start small, but know that impact is never small.


  • Take time and pace yourself

I was one to push myself constantly. Pulling all nighters seemed like the ‘cool’ thing to do - and it was great, for my ego and for my dark circles. Over the years, that got to me and completely burnt me out. Being passionate about your work is great, but sometimes when that takes over your timetable and your mental health, it can do more harm than good. Taking time to unwind, re-group and plan, will help you sustain longer. Life is a marathon - so stop being Usain fuckin Bolt!


  • Laughter is the best everything

Find humour in every situation that stresses you out! Find the courage to laugh at yourself and enjoy the lighter moments in life. We are too young and life is too short to take everything too seriously! Unwind, relax and laugh. It makes you live longer :)


  • You are not tequila - you cant please everyone!

If you are pleasing everyone, you are not making enough progress. You cannot make everyone happy - people will come and try to dull your spark - and thats okay. You dont owe it to anyone to make sure everyone is satisfied, You owe it to yourself to do the best you can. People will constantly play dirty politics, say the worst about you, mock your progress and bitch about your success - no matter how much people cant stand you - they will ironically always watch you - so give them more things to be mad at ;)


  • We are all shades of grey.

There is no ‘right’ way and ‘wrong’ way in life - rather, ‘your’ way and ‘my’ way. Except insulin - that’s the only right way ;)


Until the next one,


J.S