Life’s lessons

Written By

Ushasi Sen Basu

LIfe's lessons Loading

I turn 38 this year. To me it’s no biggie; I doubt my 40th will cause me any undue pain. No no, don’t turn away, this isn’t a piece about how ‘I feel 20 and look 18’ (and think like a 10-year-old too, I daresay).

It’s that I’ve always been 40 in my head, and my body has been playing catch up. It caught up somewhere in my early 30s I think. Those are not castanets you hear when I get up from my chair!

Now from the halfway mark of an average human life, I find that I understand the world a little better, and the people that fill it a little less. I am more forgiving of my flaws too; I guess being me needed some getting used to. So here are the top 8 things I have learnt. I know we get most of our wisdom from FB memes nowadays, but give this a shot. I invite other people to compile similar lists, and we can have a nice argument about it in the future.

  1. Love is the greatest thing. Though its nature changes so much with the passage of time, it’s sometimes unrecognizable.
  2. While love makes life worthwhile, money and a cheerful outlook are not things to sneeze at either. Being able to shrug off worries and negativity is something I would die for, though that would defeat the purpose somewhat.
  3. You know very well that your kids DO still love you, they just don’t need to know what you’re doing inside the bathroom anymore, and how long you will take.
  4. Never say never. (I just said it twice, thereby proving my point.)
  5. Being a decent human being, though a daily struggle, is a worthwhile goal. And by decent, I do not mean making sure no cleavage shows. It means being kind, even when you don’t have to. I don’t know about you, but for ‘orrible ‘ol me it gets hard on some days.
  6. It is futile to argue with people about their stand on political or social matters nowadays. And this includes me. Though I remember a few decades ago really enjoying debates with classmates about opposing viewpoints and parting as friends; I find more and more that people take their opinions and beliefs in deadly earnest, and anyone who has the audacity to disagree must be insane or evil or “F***tards” (some of the names people call each other on the internet! Wow!). While I don’t say stop expressing your opinion, just accept that people will not even budge a millimetre from THEIR opinion; and resign yourself to the fact that any debate is just a way of venting each party’s preconceived notions without any intention of understanding the other’s point of view. The only solution to this unpleasantness is to surround yourself with like-minded people, a solution which has dangers of its own.
  7. Don’t be afraid to be super-enthusiastic about something; an author or band or TV series you’ve newly discovered, or a new place you visited. I have had some jaded and cynical years and I have had some ‘oh my god, that was awesome’ years, and let me tell ya, the latter whoops the former’s ass resoundingly in the joy it brings. There are people who are too cool to enjoy anything much, because they know better; but I suspect their coolness is cold comfort when they think back on what of Life’s many treasures they truly relished.
  8. Somewhat similar to point 5, but cannot be emphasized enough, keep your mind open enough to empathize. Trust me, it’s not only for the other person. It can be immensely liberating. Picture your head as a closed up well and your mind a tiny little self-absorbed frog inside. Some empathy brings all those walls crumbling down and little froggy gets the best view in the house! All from ‘perhaps she had reasons I don’t understand’ and its close relative, ‘everyone can’t be the same, that’s the fun of it!’.

That’s it, folks. All the wisdom I have acquired. In my opinion, if I can keep all eight in mind as I go through life, I could be pretty damn happy by the end of it all. Check back in when I am 48 and let’s see if this list has changed pearls of wisdom!




Ushasi Sen Basu, 37, lives in Bangalore and is the erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of She published her debut contemporary literary fiction novel, 'Kathputli’ in early 2017, in both Kindle and paperback formats. Ushasi has been a professional writer and editor for over a decade. She also has an unpopular blog called The Crib that pokes fun at everything, including herself. Ushasi (aka Shashi, "U" and 'You-Over-There') loves literature and music, and dances like nobody’s watching. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl, who is the joy of her life and grudging guinea pig for many of her parenting experiments.

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