When you count your assets

When you count your assets

While professional achievements and monetary status might give you that sense of pride, it's the simple things in life that make you the person you become tomorrow, contends Reethika Azariah Kuruvilla.

Bappi Lahiri has taught us many things. He has taught an entire generation of the 1980s the importance of swaying their hips to Zooby Zooby Zooby or Dance Dance to make sure they are the ultimate Disco Dancer; not too long ago, he made the nation go Ooh la la. His declaration of assets, while contesting the Lok Sabha elections this year, most certainly gave the Indian society something to talk about. Of course, the state of the union does not change even if his wife - as his declaration states - owns considerably more gold, silver and diamond jewellery as compared to him. 

Anyway, what Bappi Da got me thinking about was what my asset list would consist of, if I ever had to declare it...The solemn declaration of assets sometimes boils down to a straightforward list. For Amit, on his first job, his smart phone is his greatest possession.

 For Tina, the Jimmy Choos occupying her shoe rack are her greatest possessions. For another friend, the trail of apartments that he owns in every major metro across the globe are his biggest assets. Yet another friend believes that the fact that he jet sets around the planet is his most prized fortune. 

While it’s natural to take stock of one’s life, after a major disaster or some life-changing decision, one needn’t wait for such an occasion. Yes, making a list of life’s most important things is not something that stays constant through the years. Priorities change, aspirations evolve. While professional achievements and monetary status might give you that sense of pride, it's the simple things in life that make you the person you become tomorrow.

Eventually, when it comes to your last moments, the thoughts that would most likely cross your mind, are of people who have touched your life (if you’re lucky to have them) and how much you love them. How well you have done financially or whether you still look two decades younger or are the youngest CEO your company has ever had will hardly matter then. 

Ric Elias, who had a front-row seat on Flight 1549 (that famously landed safely on the Hudson River back in January 2009), talked at TED of what went through his mind during those moments of sheer panic when it was certain the plane had to crash land:“I learned that it all changes in an instant. We have this bucket list, we have these things we want to do in life, and I thought about all the people I wanted to reach out to that I didn’t, all the fences I wanted to mend, all the experiences I wanted to have and I never did...I no longer want to postpone anything in life. And that urgency, that purpose, has really changed my life. I decided to eliminate negative energy from my life. I no longer try to be right; I choose to be happy...I only wish I could see my kids grow up. I realised that the only thing that matters in my life is being a great dad...I was given the gift of not dying that day, and to see into the future and to come back and live differently."

There's a lot to be learned from the universe, outside of your education, wealth, good-looks or their lack thereof. It's essentially the satisfaction with your life - over and above everything else - that tells you what you have truly gained from your years spent living.

In our universal instant-gratification culture, more often than not, it is easy to forget that personal change does not occur all of a sudden in one event, but rather over time, through circumstances and people who help us evolve. It's only when we stop, decades later, to pause for a breath, that we realise how much we have grown,what truly matters to us, and what we really hold dear in our lives.

Has this got you thinking about your asset list? Don’t know where to start? Here are few ideas that may help you figure out what your asset list could possibly include:

Start with home

Family ties truly bind - also gag quite often - and last forever, no matter what. Blood runs thicker than water, and there's nobody who would understand you better than your own. They can be annoying, interfering, preachy; but they can be your most valuable assets. So, now’s a good time to start valuing them. 

Get out of office

There is a life outside the office. As prudent as it may seem to spend your life at work, it's often the friends outside who keep you sane.

Dustin Moskovitz (Mark Zuckerberg's college roommate and fellow Facebook founder) was once asked what it felt like to be a part of Facebook's overnight success and he answered, "If by ‘overnight success’ you mean staying up and coding all night, every night for six years straight, then it felt very tiring and stressful."
 Travel light

Say there was an earthquake alert and you had to leave your home, what would you take? Once you've managed to get the family and pets out, other than your childhood album and phone with contact details, chances are the house is generally filled with replaceable stuff.

Last words

Contemplate your own obituary. 

Understandably, there's nobody who can pull off a Kushwant Singh: "Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun/Thank the Lord he's dead, this son of a gun."

But there's always hope that your memorial service would be filled with people whose lives you have touched and changed in some wonderful way or the other, no matter how small.

Live it up

Much like having somebody go through your wardrobe in your absence and seeing your clothes piled over all messy, imagine somebody were to sit down and write your biography and make a movie on it.

Live through the parts you'd like highlighted. Listen to your heart and make sure it's the right things that matter.

The little things

It’s not just about apartments, shares, precious jewellery and works of art. The little things matter, too. Life has never come with an instruction manual, so live it your way. Finish reading that novel you have been putting off for months, and tick off an item from your bucket list, as you backpack through Kedarnath in search of the origin of the Ganges, or something to that effect... 

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