So I stumbled upon posts from Srikar and Chutney Case on the 13 things you wish your 13 year old self had known. It got me thinking of the many instances when I really wish I’d known something earlier, only to learn it, at what I felt was, a bit late. So here goes my list.

  1. Reading

Thankfully, I started reading from when I was young. I started with Enid Blyton and graduated to reading fiction, until recently my uncle told me that I should start reading non-fiction. In my growing years, I guess I focused on exploring new worlds and characters that I probably did not focus on reading about the existing world with its amazing characters. I wish I’d started reading a wide genre from then.

  1. Hobby

In the mad rush between school and assignments, I wish I had more time to spend on extra-curricular activities or be passionately involved with some hobby (apart from reading books, of course!). I did not know that I would get time to do something apart from studies (college) and work. I know it’s never too late to start learning, but if I had developed an interest in some hobby, I wouldn’t be wasting time on Social Media and writing horrible blog posts in the name of rants.

3.Explored options before diving into Engineering

It was entirely my decision to pursue engineering (those days, it was just about doing something with the computers for me) and I wasn’t forced to take it up, but I wish I got to know and explore more options (apart from Doctors and Charted Accountants) before narrowing down my career options. It takes so much more than just efforts to change your career path when you find life gets a bit too boring (P.S With a bit of luck I did change paths, but I wish I had more options!)

4.Tamil.

I know six languages. English, Tamil, Hindi, Sanskrit, French and Malayalam in that order. Though I speak and read and even decently write Tamil, I wish I got to learn it better just to appreciate the amazing literary works in Tamil. I’m not saying I should have opted for Tamil as my second language. That would have been suicide for me (10x times tougher). And considering that anything loses interest when it is a part of your academic syllabus, I just wish I had learnt it some other way, to a greater extent that what I now know.

5.Spend more time with Grandparents

Nothing is too much at all. When I was young, I lived with my paternal grandparents and every weekend, my sister and I used to stay at the maternal grandparents’ place. I’m happy I at least got time to spend with them before we had to relocate to another city. But I wish I had more time with them. I grew up listening to their stories and the times of their days. Nobody can make you feel good about yourself like your Grandparents. They’re perhaps the only souls who would still believe that we are the innocent and charming ones we were eons back!

6.Participated in more Competitions

I participated in those competitions that were mandatory and occasionally I used to participate in Talent Search competitions, thanks to my parents. But I wish I got to participate in many more competitions, and learn practically the art of losing and winning without being overly depressed or ecstatic and treat both with the same attitude. It would have really helped me!

7.Girlfriends

That is the age when the bonds of friendships that last forever are made. We might have a lot of friends, guys and girls alike, but there is nothing better than having a girlfriend who has known you all your life and can be your best 3 am friend. I am hardly in touch with my once-close friends and manage to keep in touch with my friends from college, but I wish I had more friends who I’ve known for a long time. Being in 3 different schools did not help that either.

8.Fight less with The Sister

If only I’d known that my sister would have to move on to a new home (her home) and that I would have to share all the attention that she used to give me with someone else, I swear I wouldn’t have fought with her(read as tried to irritate her) all the time(Really!). Sometimes I miss her more than anything, but surprisingly having fought with your sister a lot, does make for quite some wonderful memories than being the good-sisters who don’t fight (do they actually exist?)

9.Writing

I’m glad I took Dad’s laptop and started writing 7 years back, but considering that I have so many things to say and so little time in my routine, I wish I’d started early. When I went through my old school certificates, I was surprised, or rather astonished to find that I had scored well in a competition. A writing competition – Creative writing. Only then it dawned on me that I was so focused on speaking that I did not notice I could write pretty decently too.

10.History and Geography are Interesting!

Trust me! I’m reading so many books on History because suddenly it seems so interesting. History at school was pretty decent but not very interesting, especially if you had to write an essay about why two egoistic people allowed their men to fight for silly reasons. And as for Geography, I still have my old school atlas which I use for looking up places on the globe. Thanks to Google, I get to read more of what I’m interested in, in a particular place than reading what crops would grow better there.

11.Travelling

My parents took me to most of the places in India (Except North East) when I was young and I wish they had waited for me to grow up a little, so that I could remember a few of them. I wish I had traveled less then and more now.

12.Goodbyes are difficult

Clichéd as it might sound, when we were young (Oh my God, I can’t believe I’ve started saying this. Do I speak like a Grandma now? Ok, don’t answer that!) Good byes used to mean ‘until we meet next week/month/year or at a family event’, but now when I say good bye I’m not even sure if I would get to meet them in my lifetime. I wish I’d known this fact earlier, so that I could’ve been mentally prepared

13.About Life

I believed in fairy tales then. I still believe that it would happen sometime.

Now I know Life is difficult and sometimes it’s not fair. Sometimes you’re ignored and ridiculed and sometimes you are appreciated and praised. But I got to know this only now. I grew up thinking I would have a perfect life (theme-based colour coordinated) lifestyle that it did take some time to adapt to what the real world felt like. I have no idea how the transition happened and I’m happy it went on well, but I wish someone had warned me about it and told me how life would be great if you tried to focus on each lesson that life was trying to teach you at every point.

But, I’m not too sure about that either. Some lessons are learnt best when you are the teacher and you are the student as well. So I guess I should actually be happy no one warned me about Life and I got to learn it all by myself!

So, have you come up with your list? Feel free to tag yourselves and share what features prominently in your list.

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