Some months back, few of our college mates (all in the mid 40s) exchanged posts and experience about what it it to experience mid life. I thought it was pretty insightful and wanted to share with a much wider audience. This is just a compilation and not in any particular order.
It is when you gaze at those people who have tranquillity written on their face and you start wondering where the secret lies.
You start feeling insecure about the financial security you have garnered and wonder if all that was worth it.
You start realizing that people basically want to be loved, liked and admired. Those people who admired you when you were nobody are the one who are close to you.
You look at your career. It has given you more than you have asked for. Now is the time, to help build those aspiring young minds that have spark in their eyes and resolve in their commitments.
You watch college kids and wonder how matured and knowledgeable are they compared to what you were at that age.
You are beginning to understand yourself and take pride in your ethos without societal pressures and expectations.
Your opinions have mellowed down. You see what others are doing and find yourself seeing the nuances which otherwise were blinded .You realize that your boundaries and barriers are breaking in your life and adding things which hitherto never existed. You feel contented watching success of others.
You laugh with others and cry alone.
You realize the meaning Osho’s paradigm of ” be alone but not lonely ”
Suddenly change is your best companion. You try to savour nostalgic moments but race ahead to grapple with changing situation. You wish you were a bit younger in your knees.
You wonder how just being a good human being fetches you all the love that has eluded you in twenties.
You realize love, marriage, sex may not same side of a coin and treat each one on its own identity.
You go through emotions and questions over and over and decipher the answers not only in learned and wiser souls but teenage people who have probing mind.
You worry about your country, poor people and wonder what it takes to make their fortune change.
You realize that you are fortunate to see extremes of abundance and scarcity and trying to figure our if life was contented in either.
You also tend to be pragmatic about issues. I always believed that if you weren’t idealistic at 20, something is wrong with you. And if you are not pragmatic at mid 40s, something again is wrong. Some people do tend to become cynical or even bitter about life based on what happened to them.
Good friends seem rare as one gets older. It is difficult to find people who like you back for good reasons.
Some people grow old without growing up. Suddenly they realise that they are just over- sized kids. And have forgotton to learn adult behavior. The problem is very few schools teach that subject.
You also realise that compassion is more important than raw passion. Sometimes you get the feeling that life just whizzed past when you were busyworking and earning a living.
There is just another element that charachterises middle age. And that’s the amount of mental energy and time talking about the past (nostalgia) and plans / dreams (for the future). While nostalgia isn’t bad, if there’s a continous indulgence in it, we often become more irrelevant for the present and the future. One clear indication that we are still young at heart is to keep dreaming / planning about the future, even if it is retirement.
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