Life lessons

35 lessons in 35 years

35 lessons

I turned 35 earlier this week. Around the same time, the #10yearchallenge was doing the rounds on social media {it probably still is – I just haven’t kept track}. I briefly thought of jumping on the bandwagon and realised a couple of things: One, I didn’t actually have any photos of myself on Facebook back in 2009 {I can’t remember the reason behind it}. And two, I have definitely ‘aged’ better and wasn’t sure if I wanted the world to see 2009-me! It got me thinking though about the other ways I’ve aged and changed. Ways in which a photograph won’t do justice. I am so different to the person I was a decade ago. The blog is a good indication of that given that I’ve been writing here since 2007-08. In the spirit of turning 35, here are 35 things I have learnt about myself, about the world, and about life.

  1. I am so much braver than I give myself credit for
  2. Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the hardest things you can do. Yet, it’s also one of the best things you will ever do for yourself
  3. Paying attention to what your body tells you is important – it’s a good indication of your emotions
  4. I break and I rebuild; I break and I rebuild
  5. Find magic in the little things – a quote in a book, the sunlight bouncing off the waters, sunrises, the warmth of a cat on your lap, sunsets, the silhouette of a bird in the twilight sky
  6. Books are the best friends you can ever have – they will validate your emotions, give voice to your thoughts, help you travel to places
  7. The only way to really connect with others involves the risk of being vulnerable yourself. Vulnerability breeds connection
  8. People will let you down. And that’s okay
  9. Existential crises are a good thing. Even though it may not feel like it at the time
  10. Focus on enjoying getting physically fit and healthy – there’s no point in doing something you hate or just focussing on the scales

    Okay fine, I caved: 25-year-old me (L) versus 35-year-old me {Also, I’m still not good at taking photos!}


  11. There is no such thing as feeling motivated to do something; you just have to do it and the motivation will come. Or it will become a habit
  12. There are great people in the world and there are fuckwits. You can learn from them all; after all, the fuckwits teach you what you don’t want to be
  13. Be kind to yourself; it’s the only antidote to shame
  14. Shame will continue to rear its ugly head in the form of the not-good-enough story
  15. We all make mistakes in relationships – it’s about learning from them so you can notice red flags earlier in future ones
  16. You don’t have to follow society’s narrative of what life needs to be like
  17. Being single is liberating for the most part. Sure, you crave intimacy at times and that’s okay too
  18. Trying new things is an amazing way to grow as a person
  19. I may be mentally strong but that doesn’t mean I don’t break every now and then
  20. Be spontaneous and adventurous. It makes life more exciting
  21. Solo travel is highly recommended
  22. Have down time – at the beach, in nature, listening to music, reading
  23. Music really does make the world go round
  24. Therapy is always a good idea – it’s an investment in your future
  25. Write, write and write some more. It’s a form of therapy too 

    Live Life


  26. Do not hold on to people who are emotionally draining – it’s not worth it. You are not a horrible person for wanting them out of your life
  27. Staying silent sometimes is not a weakness. It means you are strong enough to know the other person is digging a hole for themselves
  28. Even the most intelligent people fall foul to gaslighting; don’t blame yourself for it
  29. You do not have to be perfect; no one is
  30. Tattoos are awesome reminders of your life and growth
  31. Wear your heart on your sleeve; it might scare some people but it is also worth it
  32. It’s okay to not be able to do it all
  33. Allow yourself to feel all the uncomfortable emotions – anxiety, grief, sadness, anger. Trying to avoid them only makes it worse in the long run. Embrace them, experience them, learn from them
  34. Being brave is not about not feeling scared; it’s about feeling the fear and doing things anyway
  35. We are all works-in-progress

I am glad I have grown as a person. I’d like to think I have become wiser. I have definitely opened myself up to more and have received in abundance. My life hasn’t been perfect by any means {hello, depression and anxiety!} but if anything, the setbacks have made me stronger. I know I still have a lot more to learn and experience. I have a lot I want to give back.

On a side note, I also reviewed my 35 by 35 list and have managed to tick off 30 in the last five years. Not too shabby! I wasn’t going to come up with a 40 by 40 list but then caved in because it’s just fun to do. It gives me things to look forward to. I wonder what the next five years are going to bring!

What lessons have you gained in the last ten years?

Do share!

***Linking with Deb, Leanne, Min and Jo for the Lovin Life Linky***

Featured image by Abby Kihano from Pexels

Other images: my own

Until next time,

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  • Joanne Tracey
    19 January 2019 at 9:21 am

    They’re amazing life lessons. That’s the part that’s missing from the 10-year challenge – it’s all about looks & how well you’ve aged, maintained weight blah blah blah. But what’s changed inside? How have you grown? I’d say, after reading this, quite a lot in your case.
    Joanne Tracey recently posted…About Roast Chicken…My Profile

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      19 January 2019 at 9:25 am

      Well, given that the 10 year challenge was more about creating an algorithm etc re how we age, I’m not surprised it focused on the physical. But as long as we’re all healthy, that really shouldn’t matter. I am more focussed on growing as a person and ageing well and learning lessons in that regard. Thank you, I definitely know I’m not the same person I was in many ways…I still have some of the values but I’ve also grown a lot

  • Shilpa Gupte
    19 January 2019 at 10:39 pm

    Agree with you on each one of the 35, Sanch. :).
    I didn’t take up the 10 yr challenge coz I don’t have any photos from back then, but I sure have grown into a much better, wiser, stronger person–someone I like better than that girl from 10 years ago. I hope to say the same 10 years from now….

    Have a lovely year! <3
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…Managing anxiety.My Profile

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  • Vinitha
    21 January 2019 at 2:14 am

    Belated birthday wishes, Sanch! I loved all these learnings you have listed. I turned 35 in August, didn’t have the energy to come up with any list though. So, that’s my target for the 40th; to build some energy and sunshine into my thoughts. 🙂
    One thing I liked about this list is that if you pick up any of these on a given day it would be applicable, right? I will bookmark this just to read on days when I can do with a dose of nuggets of wisdom. 🙂
    And look at you! As I said earlier you look fitter, beautifuller, and younger in the recent photos. I love your dedication in working out and staying fit along with the creative works you do. Awesome!
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  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    21 January 2019 at 9:12 am

    Wow, what a great reflection. Great exercise. I’d have to sit down and think about mine.

  • Deborah
    21 January 2019 at 10:23 am

    Oh, I like these Sanch and can relate to a lot. And I’m yet to learn some (or learn how to deal with them) around vulnerability and shame (despite having read Brene Brown!) and I’m pretty sure I’m in the midst of existential crisis number 4. Or 5!

    I didn’t have many pics from 2009 or 2008 either and think it’s cos I didn’t yet have an iPhone for pics / the capacity to upload easily. (I don’t recall if the old Nokias or flip phones could be plugged into a computer?!)

  • Aarti krishnakumar
    21 January 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Love this post.. I can so totally related to almost all of them 🙂 and maybe add a few more

  • Shilpa Garg
    21 January 2019 at 9:32 pm

    These are some amazing life lessons and I can relate to all of them, except for the Tattoo one. Havent got one done as yet, but may be sometimes soon. Belated birthday wishes, Sanch. Wishing you am enriching and happy year ahead!

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