23 years ago tonight, I came into this world.
23 years ago tonight, I was given the greatest gift of all - Life.
I have always found birthdays empty, a societal invention to further the illusion that we are each the center of the universe. I rarely make a big deal out of it, and the entire day I am always second guessing myself how am I supposed to spend the day?
This year, however, I want to redefine what a birthday means to me. 22 has probably been the most life-changing year for me. I have met incredible people, been introduced to the power of positivity and mindfulness, and have been exposed to a world I did not know even existed.
Birthdays may or not be an arbitrarily made milestone, but a milestone it is. It is an opportunity to look back at the whole year, and reflect. Reflect on the good, the bad, the successes and the mistakes, the friends I have found, and the friends that I have lost. On where this year took me, where I am now, and where I want to be,
I thought that the best way for me to sum it up and be able to share it with others would be for me to share 23 lessons that I either learnt this year or have actively worked on this year. 23 lessons that are more than just a checkbox; they are a way of life, a love note to the Creator, and a mantra that keeps me going:
1. READ. A LOT.
3. Have strong convictions, and live by them.
4. Don't take yourself too seriously.
5. Do not be embarrassed to be a receiver. There is an art of accepting gracefully.
6. There is beauty in everything and everyone, the only true filter that conceals it is the ego.
7. There is a big difference between loneliness and solitude. Learn the difference.
8. Almost anything can be an ego-trap if you let it be; set yourself free.
9. The past and the future mean nothing if there isn't a NOW.
10. To be G-dly does not mean to not be worldly. The world doesn't obstruct G-d, ego does.
11. Be nice. To everyone.
12. You can not love another, if you don't love yourself. Not judging others stems from not judging yourself.
13. We do not create anything, we collaborate.
14. Labels are for losers. Try to label yourself as little as possible.
15. Have supports, not crutches. Learn to lean lightly.
16. Drink lots of water, and eat healthy.
17. You are not your emotions, or your thoughts, or your beliefs. You are you.
18. Don't confuse being nice with allowing someone else to take advantage of you.
19. If you're going to wear socks, make them crazy. Trust me.
20. No matter where your emotions take you, one of the greatest remedies is a day well spent.
21. אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי? וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי? וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתַי?
22. As King Solomon said, "This too shall pass."
23. Don't try to sum up all of a year’s achievements in bullet points, no matter how many.