It is my 50th birthday, and as I think back on my life up to this point, I am full of memories and feelings. Growing up, there was a lot of haziness and fear about where my life would go. I always had the belief that there was a way for me to be successful because I had the work ethic and commitment to create a better life than the one I was born into. But how, when, and what was unclear to me. I was also unsure what I would be able to create for others.

When I look at my life today, I am feeling thankful, blessed, and excited. Thankful to have had the life that I have had. Blessed to have the experience of love I have. And excited about the possibilities ahead.

Over the last five decades, I have learned many life lessons. It is impossible for me to distill all of what I have learned here. But there are four distinct areas I have found to be vital to a peaceful, happy, and joyful human being: finances, health, people, and purpose.

Financial Security and Freedom

Money is required to live. There is no way around it. From the moment you wake up, everything costs money. The bed you wake up in, the roof over your head, the clothes you wear, the way you get to work, the food you eat, everything requires money. And while money is not the reason to live, it is the fuel that powers life. I didn’t always have money. In fact, until I was about 24, I didn’t even know what it was like to make money. My first job was in 1996, making about $150 a month. It was the first time that I could contribute to my household. The money conversation shifted again for me in 1999 when I got my first job in America. This was the first time that I was able to improve and maintain the quality of life for my growing family. And when I started In Time Tec in 2009, I had five years’ worth of living expenses saved up so I could pursue my dreams. Now, at the age of 50, I have zero debt, enough in the bank to retire, and I am working for love, not for money.

There is a saying I have heard before: “Being born poor is a curse, dying poor is laziness.” And while everyone reading this will be at different points on their own journey to financial freedom, I have some advice for all of you to make money less of a burden:

  • Be mindful and thoughtful about your money. When I moved to America, I bought a small Honda Civic and lived in a small apartment even though my wife and I had two children. We did this because we knew that in order to create the life we wanted, we had to make intentional financial choices. 
  • No matter how much you are earning, you can save. Even if it is only a dollar a day. It might seem impossible some days when faced with so many money decisions. But every little bit counts. 
  • Be patient. Wealth is not created in a year. 
  • Do not underestimate the extent to which money runs your life. It can be evil or it can be a blessing. Be responsible about it. 

Health Inside and Out

My father passed away at an early age from heart problems so, when at the age of 29, I weighed 198 pounds and was experiencing chest pains and high cholesterol, I knew something had to change. I was painfully aware of what it was like to grow up without a father and I did not want to put my children in the same position. If I wanted to be around for my kids, I knew I had to focus on my health and fitness.

Twenty years later, I maintain a healthy weight and BMI, I have yearly checkups where my vitals are all in healthy ranges, and I eat well and work out regularly. I am not a health and fitness expert but I have learned a few things about staying healthy.

  • Don’t misuse your body. A few years ago, I had to have shoulder surgery because I had been pushing my body to do things that were harmful. I have since learned to listen to my body and respect its capabilities. 
  • Health is from the inside. It is the stats that doctors look at. Fitness is how you feel. Do you feel comfortable and confident? Are you unrestricted by your body to create the life you want?
  • Get your yearly checkups. Do not skip wellness exams. They are imperative to live a long, healthy, happy life. 
  • Do not be overly restrictive with your diet. Have fun and adapt to your lifestyle. 
  • Vary your workouts and be mindful of your body’s capacity to move. 
  • Make it a family affair! My family has a group gym membership and we go every Saturday together. We share our Apple Watch statistics and make It a point to close all of our rings together. 
  • Your body is your temple. It goes wherever you go. It dies, you die. Honor it. 

Without People, Life is Empty

There are people in this world who very obviously have an impact on others. And there are people whose impact might not be as obvious. But no matter what, life happens when other people are around. You cannot experience life with a chair or a tree. You experience life with other humans. For me, people are love. Every interaction, they give me their life. And for that, I am eternally grateful. It is because of this mindset that I am able to fully show up and love everyone I meet. I have learned that loving others is the rent I pay to live on this planet.

  • Find people to look up to. I look up to people who have given their life for others: Mother Teresa served with no agenda; Gandhi took a stand for his people; Lincoln gave people a chance to live together equally; Nelson Mandela took a human-first approach to life. 
  • Admire everyone’s journey. Understand that you do not know the entirety of someone’s life. 
  • Start with love. Every time you meet someone new, default to love instead of judgment, evaluation, indifference, or concern. 
  • If someone doesn’t like you, understand that they dislike what you are doing, not you. Never take it personally. 
  • Love people because they give you life. Living in a “you and me” world and me is only possible with you. 

Your Purpose, Your Calling -; Why Are You Here?

This is the question of life, isn’t it? Figuring out why you are on this planet. It can be a very daunting thought. But if you start simple, the answer can also be simple: What gives you peace, happiness, joy? What do you want to be known for? When I die, I want people to say that I was not selective in my love, that love was the foundation of my life. I want people to say that I was responsible and created things that allowed others to discover themselves to live a peaceful and loving life. Love is my purpose. Remember:

  • Every moment is a celebration. Live each moment as if that is all there is. 
  • You are here for a short period of time. Don’t stress if you haven’t found your purpose yet. It will come to you. 
  • If you haven’t found your purpose yet, make whatever you are doing your purpose and keep looking. 
  • Have patience and keep seeking. If you are doing something that doesn’t bring you joy and happiness, stop doing it! Have the courage to meaningfully reflect with yourself. 
  • Live with celebration and joy. 

At the age of 50, I wouldn’t change a single thing. If I got to redo it, I would do it all the same. All my actions and all my achievements and all my challenges made me who I am today. I did my best in every moment and I accepted every outcome. I commit to myself and everyone that your buddy Jeet is going to continue to live that way.

Here is to many more years of loving each other!