On turning 29

Hi lovely friends,

It is that time of the year again where I find myself celebrating yet another birthday. Today is my birthday and I thought I should start it with an ode to the past few years of being in my twenties. It has definitely been quite a ride. I can say I’ve learned so much about myself, grown up a lot, experienced so much, but as I am entering 29, I find myself full of questions about the future. In fact, my birthday began with having a “serious” conversation with one of my best friends regarding where we are in life and all the insecurities and questions we still have about what is to come. I attributed all of these questions to being part of a growth process- a continuous growth process which I am sure will extend into my thirties and beyond.

Before I get into the questions, here are a few things I’ve learned in my twenties thus far.

  1. It is all about growth. No matter what happens in life, it is important to learn and grow from each experience.
  2. Nothing just happens without hard work.
  3. Love should not be taken for granted. Most importantly, loving yourself is key.
  4. The love you give to significant others, friends, family should be reciprocated in a positive way.
  5. Bad romantic relationships are part of your twenties. Hopefully they will teach you about the things you don’t want to.
  6. Sometimes relationships don’t work out. Sometimes you will understand why, other times you won’t. Learn to accept things and move forward.
  7. Even though adulthood can be felt entering your life in your twenties, becoming an adult is a gradual process. No one expects you to have it all together all the time.
  8. It is important to be self motivated.
  9. It is important to be your own best friend and advocate.
  10. Part of being your own best friend means that you can’t be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes. Learn to embrace who you are when you mess up.
  11. DREAM BIG. Some of the biggest accomplishments of my twenties have come from just having big dreams. Follow those dreams and work towards them even when you feel exhausted. If you find a calling during your twenties know that dreaming big about this can help to motivate you when things get rocky.
  12. Work is important, but it is not everything. Make time for loved ones no matter how busy you are.
  13. A lot of things in life are outside your control. The earlier you accept that, the easier your twenties will be. Life and certain situations can be unfair. Accepting that this unfairness has nothing to do with you sometimes is key.
  14. BE PASSIONATE about everything in your life.
  15. Working hard is important but working smart is even more important.
  16. You will question your reasons for following a given career throughout your twenties. Those questions can propel you into being at peace with your career choices or to changing your path all together.
  17. It is ok to be yourself. Your true friends will love you for who you are even if you are annoying at times.
  18. Your twenties begin with the end of college, the relocation to another environment/state/country, the beginning of new careers. Embrace those changes. It is possibly the last time in life where there will be so much change.
  19. Network. It will help you find lifelong friends. It might also help you land a nice collaboration or job.
  20. Be open minded. Do not write people off. The most interesting people are those who you think you could never understand at first.
  21. TRAVEL. Some of the most important lessons you will learn will come from people you meet abroad and the places you visit. Invest in experiences and not so much on material things.
  22. Make plans but if they don’t work out, let them go and move forward.
  23. Live to the fullest. Be safe and do not hold back because of what others may say or think about you. Wherever you live, go out for drinks, dancing, just walking around with your friends.Have fun!
  24. Be honest.
  25. Stand up for yourself.
  26. Don’t be afraid to fall in love. Even if it ends disastrously, it will be worth it.
  27. Let go of your ego. Learn how to work with everyone. Learn to listen when someone is giving you advice.
  28. If you are in grad school, never lose perspective of how far you’ve traveled and what is coming up ahead.
  29. Above all, be positive.

With these nuggets of wisdom, I also have tons of questions. Perhaps the most pressing is this feeling of not knowing what is to come. I really do wonder where life will take me this year. If after this year, I will have a PhD and whether returning to medical school will happen sooner than later. I also wonder whether I’ll finally meet someone who makes my heart flutter 😉 ….among other things.

We shall see what happens.

For now, I will embrace this new year of life and be thankful for having made it through all of the struggles that came along with being 28.




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