A letter from my 70-year-old self

Dear Seethal (at 29),

If you are reading this, it means that we made it till 70 (either in body, soul, or a bot which has our thoughts and consciousness… yes Black mirror was right!). I wanted to sit down and write this letter to you because I see you struggling with decisions and Life right now. It’s frustrating, I know. But know this from your 70-year-old self, you will make it.

Before we begin, are you imagining me as a White Lady with a Perm? Lovely child, start watching more movies that have your color/Ethnicity represented in them. You are a brown Indian woman with curly black (and white hair)!

Now that we got that straight, here goes:

You have lived away from your family for more than 12 years now. I know it has not been easy, but you needed this time to think clearly. You tend to drown yourself in other’s voices and forget your own needs. This space is exactly what you needed to clear your head and unlearn the things that society had forced on you.

1.Changes

Right off the bat, let me tell you that I am incredibly proud of you. You changed yourself from a judging, angry, and irritated soul at 17 to less judgmental, less bitter, and less annoyed soul at 29. I know you are trying really hard to be a good human being, and that’s all that matters.

I see that you have left people-pleasing for a while now (for the most parts). I applaud you for this decision. I watched others continually saying “No” to you while you kept saying “Yes” to everyone. That’s not equality and fairness. Is it?

Their “No” isn’t wrong because they have learned to stand up for themselves, but your constant “Yes” is definitely wrong.

I see that you value yourself much more than when you were 17. Well done, my child!

2. Decisions

Let’s talk about the big decisions that have been bothering you for quite some time now.

When you were 24, you got bored of your previous job and just decided to quit everything and travel to the US. I know this is a secret, but you didn’t even know most of the states in the US nor any of its history.

You didn’t even realize what you were doing until you reached the Mumbai International Airport. Remember how reality struck you? It was hilarious!

You were walking alone inside this massive Airport with a Passport and Visa and had no freaking idea why you took this drastic step. Wasn’t that fun?

How did that decision change your Life? Have you regretted even a second of the last five years? I know you, so I will say No.

Let’s think about another of your utterly random decision.

Remember asking your now-husband out on a date (btw, he has just grown sexier with years, but we still have “conflict resolution” sessions.. that’s never going to end)? You knew that everything could blow out of proportion, especially if it didn’t work out, but you still did it, didn’t you? Imagine not taking that decision! How different would your Life be right now?

By now, you know that you work best in Chaos. When you don’t overthink the already overthought decisions, Magic happens.

So if your Life seems “too comfortable” right now and just doesn’t add up, create the Chaos for your growth. The world has been trying to give you so many clues, but you aren’t listening!! Get your head out of the meaningless, mundane tasks, and listen.

I am writing this letter from a small home surrounded by lush trees and plants everywhere. It is so peaceful out here. Our partner is busy cooking his favorite dish, and I am busy sipping some freshly squeezed orange juice. Please don’t change this reality for me! You can bet on it that I will come down there and kick your a** (Yes we have time machines now). Take decisions, no matter how bone-crushing they feel right now.

3. Exercise and Learn more Mindfulness

Speaking of hurting bones, please please start exercising and doing yoga. Listen to your family on this one, they know better!

If you continue to sit on your a** and count 3000 steps every day, you will be doomed well before 45. Shake it up, dance, stretch, breathe, laugh, sing out loud! Do things that wake you up!

Also, a quick note: WE UNDERESTIMATED THE POWER OF BREATHING! Did you know there are different ways to even breathe? Learn more! You won’t regret it.

4. Gratitude

Are you bored with my pieces of advice yet? Did you forget how good we are at advising others? Here’s another.

Have more gratitude for the people in your Life.

I know you are still learning and un-learning things, but I can see that you aren’t very grateful. Be aware of the sacrifices that people have made for you.

Shift your focus from the opinions of people who have no space in your Life to the people who truly matter. Show gratitude!

Yes… dust off that gratitude box that you made a month back and start writing gratitude notes again! Gratitude will change your Life (as you have already experienced it before).

5. Read books

I see that you have been reading plenty of books lately. But slow down! The number of books doesn’t matter. Focus on one single book and gain most out of it. But keep reading. At 70, I have finished almost 900 books (2 books per month!), and it makes me realize how little our thoughts are and how vast the world is!

Also, keep listening to those podcasts.

The technology has changed so much with time! We now have something called Podchrome, which creates a hologram of the people talking, so you feel like they are right in front of you.

6. Don’t just say it… Do it!

You know how much I adore brutal honesty. So, sorry if this hurts you, but it’s not enough to just say things that inspire you, do it too!

Remember those women in villages you were planning to help after you got your Life under control? Well, they are still waiting!

Start doing things that you have always dreamt of!

In my journey till now, I have seen people’s lives change overnight. I met someone on a flight once from Bangalore to New Zealand (yes, we did end up going there), and she talked about how she was diagnosed with a deadly disease a few months back. She waited until her diagnosis to plan a Vacation and spend time with her family.

All the worldly interruptions that keep you distracted are NOT WORTH IT, my child. Live your life today. At least start working on your smaller dreams.

Do it at your own pace, but do it.

7. Just chill

I know you have been trying to change, but you tend to take Life way too seriously! I want you to take enough time out to just relax and enjoy.

You are extremely hard working, so I assure you that you need it. Do it guilt-free. Also, make sure to watch more funny Romcom movies. Thriller and violent movies tend to keep you up for days. We don’t want too many grey hairs too soon, do we?

Before I end this letter, let me assure you that I will write again. Whenever you feel stuck in your Life, you will receive a message from me. But before I go, I just want to thank you for the few things that you have consistently been trying to do.

Thank you for understanding your weaknesses (most of the time), especially your gigantic ego.

Thank you for being assertive about your decisions while most people fight with you.

Thank you for not (always) following the herd.

Thank you for standing up for yourself and your family whenever required.

Thank you for respecting your creative energy enough to write and paint.

Thank you for working hard whenever required.

Thank you for sharing your wealth and time with people who need it (not everyone does it).

Now, make sure to ask your friends what their 70-year-old self told them?

Love you deeply, my sweet child.

Regards,

Seethal (at 70)

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Seethal Jayasankar

Seethal Jayasankar

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I quit my 4-year Oil & Gas related job to Volunteer in gardens & work in the field of Sustainability.