20s are key growth years. Not physical but mental, emotional and spiritual. This decade lays the foundation of character.
One propels through life, and the little breaks for fresh air often become moments of great evolution. Each moment of reflection and introspection is a gift to yourself and those around you. As I watch a fiery sunset over Manhattan, I break for a little fresh air. Images of my 20s flash and the promise a curious teenager in the Himalayas made to herself, yells resoundingly. That promise was to never stop mindfully evolving.
The dots connect. That promise was the underlying thread that shaped my 20s through the five different cities I’ve called home. It fueled the passion to spend four years honing my creative spirit and the courage to leap headfirst into a career as a professional dancer. It gave me the sense to study marketing and become a consultant before delving into high fashion. Most importantly, it staved off complacency. From trekking the Rockies to marveling at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, I sought adventure. From listening to the blues in Tennessee and discovering underground raves in New York City to photographing dawn in Varanasi, it gave me thirst. From rehabilitating after a spinal injury and many, many broken bones to rigorous introspective journeys, it gave me grit.
With a year left in my 20s, that rebellious teenager continues to keep her promise. This breath of fresh air, this moment of clarity while gazing over the Manhattan skyline has elucidated 20 lessons which have fostered mindful evolution.
THE 20 / 20 LIST
1. Intellectual curiosity is gratifying and attractive.
2. Say less than what is necessary.
3. You only fail when you fail to learn. Failure is your best guide, embrace it.
4. Doubt often means no.
5. Begin the process of bouncing back, immediately. Make strides, not excuses.
6. Keep traveling.
7. Your character and destiny are the sum of what you do daily. Don’t waste a day. Live mindfully.
8. Give more than you receive.
10. Your relationships will shape your life. Invest in good people. Never underestimate the importance of flow. You can’t force relationships.
11. Ladies and gentlemen take note, glamour begins with impeccable grooming.
12. You have more grit than you realize. Push yourself.
13. Social prowess is invaluable.
14. Wisdom and intelligence are alluring.
15. Strive for excellence in the process, not perfection in the outcome. The process will define your character and long term success.
16. Authenticity is your gift to yourself and those around you.
18. Rigorously introspect. Question, explore and expand yourself. Do this and don’t stop, ever.
19. You really are what you eat. Truly. Don’t underestimate the basics.
20. Nearly everything you’ve learnt about the value of your physical qualities is a lie. Unlearn the messages from your peers and media. Your appearance and self-worth are more unrelated than you can imagine.
Free spirit, global citizen, artist and intellectual are apt descriptions for Shivika Sinha, author of Veneka.Me. She was raised in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh. Shivika is a former professional dancer and choreographer. She currently resides in New York City where she is a high fashion marketing executive. Shivika launched Veneka.Me to inspire young women to reach their potential, transcend stereotypes and explore new ideas. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.