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How Turning 35 is Teaching me to be More Grateful

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According to a Harvard study, being grateful makes you happier! This is going to be a stream-of-consciousness type blog, with very little editing and mostly unfiltered thoughts because today is my birthday and I feel like writing this. So, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy these little bits of my personal story. 

Having 3 children under 33

Being willfully unemployed at 27, raising a baby in a 800 sq,ft home, gave me so much pleasure that I became greedy and wanted more babies! I had a second baby within 20 months. Then a third baby soon after 🙂 I quickly realised not all babies are the same. Each one is unique, crash landing with their own qualms and charms. So naturally, each parenting technique had to be customised 😀 So even though parenting on my own was quite the joy ride, I’m grateful I had my babies like this. Being so close between ages they are fast friends now! They had each other’s delightful company all throughout the pandemic, and then some.

Starting India’s first curly hair store

With a credit card, all my wedding jewellery was pawned, and I borrowed INR 80,000 from my mother in law. I started my first business deep in debt. Being the first of its kind in the country at the time, it was so thrilling! However, I did not take anyone’s help on pricing and other matters. I followed my heart, and jumped at the first chance to be the curly hair savior in India. Two years of hustling and grinding, I missed my little children growing up. My relationship with my husband and family strained. For the lack of planning, I ended up paying taxes out of pocket. Growing more deeper in debt, sleeping 4 hrs a day, and working non-stop affected both my mental and physical health. I am grateful for this experience though because it taught me to love myself better, and value my family better.

Grateful for Putting family ahead of business 

Without proper mental and physical health, my cup was half empty. It was difficult to properly serve my customers, and my family. I found myself snapping without thinking, ruining relationships in seconds. While my presence in the curly hair market grew exponentially, my life was deteriorating right in front of me. So I prayed about this, and God said STOP. Closing my shop was equally the easiest and the hardest decision of my life. Easy because I was already aware about the negative impacts in my life. Hard because it was my only source of income at the time. But GOD! Scriptures say our hearts can be deceiving. So instead of “following my heart” this time I listened to God instead and guess what? I have a new business now, having zero investment, more time with my family, flexibility and safety and still saving curly heads one washday at a time! 

Opening India’s first curly salon & online curl consultations

See what I mean by zero investment? God put my passion for curly hair away from the product business and into curl education. So instead of swiping credit cards and packing boxes, I was connecting and teaching. I acquired so much curl knowledge over the years that it was easy to formulate customised education for each curly that walked (or typed :P) into my life. The online curl consultation was successful too from all that 18hrs a day working hours, managing multiple Telegram Curl Groups, responding to DMs with FREE curl advice, for years! I am so grateful for those gruelling years God gave me that I value each moment with my family now. I didn’t know this would happen at the time but now I can see where God was taking me. 

Grateful having Worked with small brands & home businesses

This is sort of a continuation of my previous point about not getting the right kind of help when I started the business. Another mistake I made was not charging brands for all of the content I was creating for them. My assumption at the time was that they were a small business that probably has expenses so it’s just nice to help them out for free. Problem was, I was also a small business that had expenses and my expenses weren’t being taken care of. It took me a while to realise that not being compensated for my work was foolish, and that I need to be charging for work in a way that is appropriate for the size of the business and the work I’m doing for them. But, at the same time, I am grateful for having worked with brands who failed to see my worth because now I know how to stand up for myself. I see my worth and set boundaries when required.

Setting Boundaries

I relapsed with my eating disorder, depression, and substance ab*se shortly after I started that first business. It was my way to cope with all the stress. But it only made me miserable and down and down I went into that pit again. Jesus saved me again! Because He sent me allies acting as therapists; who understood me and never judged me. Allowed me the space to sound board my thoughts. And so, it was easy to recognise bad habits and then set boundaries for mental health. We dedicated ’email days’ ‘, ‘boxing days’ for the shop; Sundays became off limits! Social media Bullies blocked immediately. Ruthless comments swiped and deleted without a second thought. Communication with brands dedicated via email only (not whatsapp!) Slowly but surely I regained control over my life once I recognised my role at home too.  

Choosing my role as a wife and homemaker

I hated doing house chores too. Why should I? I work hard, I earn more money, I will hire people to do all this. OH! But I was so wrong. Observing other women in my family I noticed the effect that their behaviour had on the home and their families. When the women of the house were in a bad mood, everyone suffered. During relaxed good times, the same women were relaxed too. There was a connection! Took me years but I finally chose to be the homemaker that I always struggled against being. Fired the house help and I clean and tidy my house, my salon, myself. Doing house chores is so meditative. It gives me so much more control over the details of my life. There’s instant gratification in serving my family and I am grateful to have recognised this now, sooner than later. 

Grateful for Saying NO to high-paying brands

I am not immune to envy. Envious of my fellow curl friend influencers getting paid 3x higher than me. It was in these darkest moments that one of them, Jackie, told me that when you put your head down and work you have no time to look up and around. My goal is to help women regain their confidence, get happy hair, and with it to conquer their lives successfully! So even when high-paying brands come my way I say no when our values don’t match. My purpose here comes with great responsibility and I am grateful to never have tarnished it by stumbling away from this path God gave me. 

Putting God first

I’ve felt especially grown up in this 35th year after putting God first in my life. I literally wake up around 5am to spend quiet time, study my bible, and pray. Some days I miss, but I always bounce back guilt-free to follow my yearly Bible Reading Plan. The bible verse I wrote on my wedding card 10 years ago makes so much more sense today – “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Mathew 6:33. My marriage is healing, my children are thriving, my businesses pay my bills on time, and I have access to warm water in my sink to wash my face daily. I am grateful to God for providing the good times and the worst, to teach me His ways and to become more like Him – in Jesus name. 

What are you grateful for this year? Leave me a comment

Thank you for watching & reading!

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10 thoughts on “How Turning 35 is Teaching me to be More Grateful”

  1. Meenakshi Somasundaram

    I feel you Liz, wishing you a very happy 35! I am grateful this year for having had a chance to get a curly cut from you and also to learn to prioritize self love.

  2. I am grateful and blessed to have got a chance to meet you in person…. You have been the only curl mentor who I have been following for more than a year now and honestly as I have commented earlier on your Instagram post, I think of a CGM problem one day and you post about the same the next day🥺🧿 Here’s to you finding your path through the years and us learning through you and finding our paths too!! More power, strength, love and hugs to you Liz ❤️

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