"The more people tell me to change, the more I stay the same"

My theories on contentment, happiness, perhaps the meaning of life and those Godiva chocolate pearls 

Disclaimer: for the light-hearted. No philosophy backgrounds Descartes name-dropping required. 

I continuously once in a while read lists upon lists about how to live your life, scholarly articles and random people on twitter scholars' viewpoints on the meaning of life, happiness, contentment, finding purpose and how to be a better person to yourself and others.

I ask countless people of different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, mindsets as well. This includes but is not limited to the rentals, friends, colleagues, teachers, the garbage man, the dry cleaning lady, the gym instructor, even the honk honk barada man.

I'd like to first throw out the Positive Thinking, Laws Of Attraction, the Secret, Finding Purpose and other Theories of Life BS.

Living in the moment as if it's your last probably resonates the most with me.

And this is my own list for appropriate living (in your 20-somethings): 

1. Appreciate your visual surroundings, wherever you may be:

Social media has made us blind to all things around us, including quality time with people. Our attention span averages at 0 to -75*.  Experiment with this: Don't wear your contacts or glasses for a day; try walking around blind. Enjoy the blurry scenery. That headache may be just what you need. Seef highway side landscapes almost resemble the English countryside. Minus the cows.
*Statistics brought to you by Lbashmi research labs

2. Capture and document all moments of your life: 

Take more photos of yourself. You're only gonna look like this for another year. Eff the friends on FB and instagram who can't handle 10,000 uploads/second. They'll live.

3. Naivety and curiosity is the essence of growth, youth, contemplation, questioning, and if you're lucky further development, or a ticket to the mental asylum:

Be careful who you share your idiocy/simple thinking/ philosophical debates with (Why do people die? Why is the sky blue? Did we really come from monkeys?? Why is there still injustice in the world? Why are dogs better than people?).
It may lead to unemployment, or even worse, bumming out in Goa not so bad.

4. Don't forget to put your 11-year-old iPod on shuffle (yes, 11 years and counting and healthy if you must know):

That Majda Alroomi, Gypsy Kings, TLC or Peter Broderick will give you a good taste of what once was.

5. If you, like me, think or have way too much time analyzing how you could improve yourself, when you should be worrying about the people in Syria, Mali or the issues in your own country it's time to take a Chai Haleeb pill:

Studies have shown that dairy products can cause lethargic reactions, exactly what you need for a natural brain chill pill to make you lazy out on the couch.

6. Contrary to popular belief and the odd Samaritan (and those who tell you looks fade but brains stay, psssshhhh), appearance is VERY important:

Indulge only at your own risk. If you're fat, cover those lumps up with a bohemian cardi, a tribal scarf and hold a couple of books on social entrepreneurship or mags like the Economist and Wallpaper.

Side note: National Geographic may be interpreted as a little too eccentric. 

7. Aim for financial independence (or lack of): 

In your later twenties, you'll be moving from being a 100% fully-owned property by the rentals to a 50% semi-autonomous functioning company with stakeholder ownership (again, stakeholders likely to be mainly parentals and the odd partner). If you're really intelligent and have embraced your Arab culture fully, you may have also managed to equate marriage into the picture, therefore establishing a new source of funding in addition to your original source of funding, aka Baba (allah ykhaleek o ee6awilly 3umrik).

8. Stop comparing and competing, start giving back to others (two separate concepts, yet work well together; also known as selfless living or altruism):  

If there's one thing that yoga has taught me, it's to stop hating on comparing myself to those freaks very well-poised acrobats balancing on two arms while both their legs are lifted to the side and to remove all grudges energy blocks you find in your mind, body and soul.
Instead, choose to create your own personal realistic easy goals (grabbing your bent left leg with your right arm from the back, learning to ride a bike, jumping off a cliff, or simply, cooking machboos) and find ways to improve your presence around others by being confident, positive, pleasant through gaining satisfaction in achieving or getting closer to achieving those goals (ok, starting to sound too positive and actually useful here..)

9. Always have appropriate outdoor behavior: Don't grab your crotch while walking. Even if you're in little India and it's the only way to blend in with the masses. We're not in a zoo.

10. Fear may multiply as you grow; ignore it, it's just anxiety acidity. Some will tell you to harness fear to achieve your true potential: take risks, do it now, you might die tomorrow!! (way to encourage "seizing" the day), and all that other nonsense. Do it your way, create your own path, even if it takes you decades to get married set up a business havc kids go to the moon achieve the typical standards expected from you by society in that century.


And if all else fails, the true bitter you will shine through regardless and is bound to find charm with some people somewhere! Right??

P.S. I've been continuously criticized for my naive writing (this criticism comes from a total of 3+ readers. Woot woot I have 2 more!) saying that it's an oversimplified analysis of the topic at hand. To that, I say learn to make machboos, then eat it too.
Aaaaand I hope you get fat :)