As I sat on my couch sipping my morning coffee and trying to get myself to be more awake, my sleepy brain began reflecting on the last few years and how my life has been enriched from all that I’ve learned. It always amazes me how much there is to learn, how learning never stops (as the cliché goes), and how much joy one can derive from making space in their lives to learn something new.
Learning something new doesn’t always entail long-term commitments such as picking up a new skill or sport. It could be as little as a 20-30 minute time commitment of reading a Wikipedia page on something new. It could be chatting with someone and picking their brain on something you can learn from them.
My reflection spurred in me the desire to pen down a few of the things I’ve learned in the last few years and how my life has been so thoroughly enriched by each of them. And since writing this blog is on the list, I’ll dedicate this post to one of my first blog pieces 2 years ago! Here goes:
No surprises that this is first on the list! I started writing this blog about 2.5 years ago simply because I wanted to write more and pen down my thoughts. I had been writing privately in my journal and for some classes in college for about a year before I started this blog, and I had a hunch that I’d enjoy writing more. But I had no goal in mind of writing for someone else or growing an audience, and till date this blog is mostly posts I’d want to write for myself! As I started writing more and more, I realized that writing helps me think better. In fact, I’ll often write notes and “realizations” to myself that are not made public. These notes clarify my thinking and help me get a better sense of myself.
Over time something happened that I didn’t expect when I initially started writing – I fell in love with writing! I began to experiment with new styles of writing, finding my own style, and eventually decided to write a short book documenting lessons I learned from my father growing up. The book is a tribute to all father-daughter and parent-child relationships. Writing the book was difficult, but it was also one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences I’ve had. I had been wanting to document my memories with my father for quite some time and I’m so very glad I finally did it.
Earlier this year, I also started writing another book which would be a fictional story depicting a more sovereign world and sovereign individuals, but that’s on pause for now. Perhaps I’ll pick it up later.
Many people ask me how I got interested in longevity science and eventually started writing on it! I’ve been into fitness for a few years now, but it all began with a high-protein spread that I was trying to make in my kitchen to satisfy my protein needs post weightlifting along with my taste buds. As I was trying to figure out how to position my protein spread, I came across the ketogenic diet and started reading up on all its benefits. I was blown away by the fact that there is so much scientific research done on the ketogenic diet and how its benefits went beyond weight loss. This led me down the path of nutrition science (I know that a lot of it is very personal, but I do think there are some generalizable rules such as sugar being toxic or cruciferous vegetables having anti-inflammatory benefits). Anyway, one thing led to the other and I found myself geeking out on longevity and aging science, which more recently has advanced to longevity biotech too.
I love writing about longevity science and my goal is to write about it in the simplest manner possible such that even a child can understand it. I really want to spread the word on it because I strongly believe that understanding some of the science-backed benefits will help people take better care of their health and realize how some of their actions may lead to onset of age-related diseases such as cancer. As such, I write about longevity science and practical tips to slow aging in the form of conversations, stories and graphics / comics. If you wish to take better charge of your health and learn a bit about longevity science, my newsletter Live Longer World is the place for you! You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter where I post quick tips on optimizing health and slowing aging.
I did my first 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat in the summer of 2019 and it had a profound impact on me. My first retreat was therapeutic and coming out of the retreat I felt a lot calmer and happier. I had always been one to introspect but it probed me to observe my mind further. Hands down, it was one of the most difficult experiences. Following the retreat, I continued my practice of meditating on a fairly regular basis and it helped me a ton in understanding myself better. I did a 2nd retreat in December 2020. The 2nd time was a lot different – instead of my mind constantly going to my past, I was more in the present. Since then, I actually haven’t been great with my practice partially because I haven’t made time for it, partially because I sometimes just don’t feel like it, and partially because all my hiking adventures (which I’ve been doing quite a fair bit – see below) are meditative in themselves.
Finance to Startup world
I worked in Investing for 3.5 years post my undergrad in Finance. While I did enjoy parts of it, over time I started to realize I didn’t really love it and my work (and life) philosophy is borrowed from Richard Feynman who was a huge proponent of people working on something they love. I was constantly starting side projects and coming up with new startup ideas, so I knew I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial. Earlier this year, I finally made the leap. I now work at a Series A startup called SafetyWing and it’s a lot more aligned with what I enjoy doing!
I have to say that culture, work styles, and ways of thinking and making decisions is very different in the Finance vs. Startup world and it’s been quite interesting to make note of that and also learn new startup-y ways of doing things.
NYC to Nomadic life
Living in a big city is very different from living a nomadic life and camping at national parks! I lived in New York city for 3.5 years before I decided to move out in the summer of 2020 (during COVID). At first, it was supposed to be a month-long trip on the West coast and at national parks. But that one month turned into over a year! In the past year, I’ve camped at 10-12 national parks and forests in the U.S., been home to India for a bit, visited quite a few different cities in the U.S., and even spent over a month in Europe! It’s been quite an adventure and I love camping, hiking and jumping in lakes and waterfalls! I’ll probably be settling in Miami for a bit come the end of the year.
Weightlifting is probably my first love! Or maybe second only to writing. I started lifting in 2017 and still remember how sore I was after my first session. I’ve definitely come a long way since then and have loved every bit of it. I can’t stop raving about all its benefits and I’m a huge advocate for getting more women to lift at the gym. Beyond making you stronger, it has tremendous cognitive benefits too. Further, as we age, it’s easy to lose muscle mass which further adds to the frailty of getting old. Lifting can prevent that. Please start lifting – it has the potential to change your life! In general, exercise is literally one of the best ways to spend your time and I’ve written a controversial opinion on how it should be made mandatory.
I started learning to play tennis earlier this year in April 2021 and I’ve fallen in love with the sport! (It seems like I have too many love interests…well I do enjoy filling my day with things I love) Growing up I played Basketball for my State in India, attained my Black Belt in Karate, and in general was quite athletic, so I’d been missing the fun of playing a sport once again. Doug has been my partner-in-crime in Tennis and it’s been so fun. I’m in the zone each time I’m playing and always trying to improve.
There is more on the list but I think those are the major ones. Some of the other ones include reading new book genres, interviewing startup leaders, learning from new cultures including an egalitarian society Twin Oaks (I spent 3 weeks there), cooking (I actually do not enjoy it), and trying psychedelic drugs!
What’s to Come?
I’m trying to teach myself some drawing / comic sketching so I can do a better job with my longevity comics plus I just want to learn. If anyone has any recommendations on how to get started or beginner tips, I’m all ears! Please message me.
I’m always learning a ton about longevity and longevity biotech. I’m also always trying to experiment with different writing styles and get better at it. And what else? I don’t know! Nothing else planned but we’ll see what I stumble into :). My curiosity is my guiding force. I’ll probably update this post when I think it’s worth adding something else to the list.
People are not single-dimensional
I strongly believe that people have varied interests and shouldn’t bucket themselves into a specific type of person based on their career or particular interest. Lastly, I hope you will follow your curiosities and enrich your life by learning something new.
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I’ll be writing a Part 2 to this post on some of my reflections from learning and starting something new, so you don’t want to miss out on that