I have always said that the 40s are the old age of youth. Ok fine, Victor Hugo said it before me, but it's exactly the sort of witty and wise thing I would say, so I feel on firm moral ground plagiarising it. Also he's dead, so I don't think he'd mind my shameless appropriation too much.
Anyway, in the old age of my youth, a few essential life truths have become crystal clear to me and in the manner of wise and witty people everywhere I'm happy to share them with y'all. This is so that you don't waste time re-making these discoveries and with all the free time that I have therefore freed up for you, you can develop a cure for some hideous disease. Alternately, you can show your appreciation by stuffing some cash in an envelope and mailing it to me. Either way, you're welcome.
1. Contrary to what the inspirational posters claim, lots of things taste better than skinny feels. Hot buttered toast, bheja fry, vada pao, laal maas, neer dosa with prawn curry, alu paratha, pound cake, kosha manghso with luchi, chenna murgi, pork with bamboo shoots, yellow dal with chawal, dark chocolate — the list is endless. Each and every single one of these and a list the size of the perimeter of the former USSR all exist just to give the lie to that statement.
(However in the interests of full transparency I have to say that skinny and I haven't been friends for a long time now so I am only taking random stabs in the dark regarding what skinny feels.)
Net net, eat what you want and don't eat what you can do without, but being svelte may or may not give you the pleasure that a single plate of biryani can. In my case, I am reconciled to the fact that the biryani will win every time.
2. No matter how dreadful things seem (in every life there will always be a few fairly fertile patches of dreadful) if you hang in there, they can always get a lot worse. It's true. The natural progression of things is bad, hideous, someone stab me and end it all, hideous, bad till the bad feels normal and then normal. The only way to break this cycle is through recreational drugs, serious exercise or God. Religion is lovely but tends to turn its adherents into wankers and drugs hardly ever stay recreational, so for the sake of your friends and family I hope you find exercise first. And stick with it.
3. Advice is a hydra headed boomerang, any advice you have ever given will return to simultaneously nail you on the head and bite you in your bum. For years I have given advice freely to millions on the grounds that since I'm not using it, someone may as well; only to have it blindside me at unfortunate times. When I thought I would never ever breed I told a friend who had just had a baby that research had proven that babies of ugly parents cried more than babies of lookers. I may have advised some plastic surgery and a few other cosmetic procedures in order to improve his chances of getting a few wail-free nights of sleep. My advice provoked mad howls of sleepless rage in my friend, but amused me mildly, which worked out great. Till I forgot my non breeding vows and popped a baby who wouldn't stop crying. I wasn't very sure of what the phrase meant till then, but I'm pretty sure I've been "hoist by my own petard."
So take my advice re giving advice. Don't.
4. Time always flies when you have nothing to do. Never ever put off doing stuff till when you are free. When you are free, IF you are ever free, the act of being free will take up so much of your resources that you will have no time, energy or mind space to get anything else done. If you need something done, schedule it for your bog-standard-don't-have-the-time-to-look-up-hectic days. Things that you realise you may need another human birth to get around to, like reading the complete works of Marcel Proust or learning Italian or even cleaning your sock drawer and cataloguing your socks by colour, are the only things you can safely slot for "when you are free"
5. The biological urge to reproduce is the universe's way of ensuring you never ever have any disposable income. Forewarned is forearmed.
6. It's okay to be the last living human being who has never eaten quinoa, chia seeds or kale and never done Pilates, Zumba or Spartacus. As far as I can tell the objective of all of the above is to live forever and drive everyone else mad with annoyance. While no one has actually achieved immortality on this diet and regimen, it is my assertion that all this joyless eating and contortion of one's body into unnatural poses will certainly make a normal lifespan seem like forever. For the rest of us, jalebis and a languid walk beckon.
7. Follow your curiosity. This may lead to people moving politely out of your way and your life as you gain the reputation of being impressively nosy, but persevere. Human progress depends on nosy people — where would we have been if Newton had thought falling or not falling was strictly the apple's business?
8. No matter where you go, there you are. No matter who you're with or where you happen to be you can never ever leave your own self behind. Since you are literally attached to you, making yourself someone easy to hang with is a good investment. If you can manage to hang with yourself sans devices, take a step forward (towards Stockholm) — the Nobel Prize Committee is looking for you.
9. Everyday life is everyday life. Grab joy where you find it — the taste of a mango, a belly laugh with an old friend, kissing someone you love, swimming in the ocean, lying in the grass on a cold but sunny winter day, hugging your child, eating your mother's fish fry. Slap bang in the middle of dreadful times you will look back on these everyday days and realise that this is what happiness is.
10. Mistakes make for great stories. Ergo chase the great stories, not the safe ones.
11. There is no good way to tell someone they have body odour. Nope. No one. They will hate you forever more and somehow stinkys never seem to comprehend that they are stinky, so that's a lost cause as well. Invest in a clothespin or a cologne doused handkerchief instead.
That's it for me. I have now transferred all my life's wisdom and learning to you in the form of these eleven noble truths. Those of you wishing to join my cult or invite me to make inspirational speeches at various fora can wire the booking amount directly to my bank account. If you need to speak to me, I will be grabbing joy where I can find it — in some cold beer and some taste-better-than-skinny-feels yummies.
Unlike all the other false prophets out there, I don't just talk the talk, I actually eat it too.