Aradhya, my former colleague, celebrated her fortieth birthday yesterday. Very unlike her, she got very reflective around her birthday. She celebrates her birthday with an enthusiasm of a toddler. So, this time it was a somber affair with no parties.
She revisited her past and on what has happened, and regretted passing of another year. She lamented the fact that instead of an exotic adventure life has become a saga of unrealized dreams.
I am not saying that it’s too late, but one has to be realistic. At 40, half of life has already passed. Whether you are optimistic or pessimist, your glass will not turn full now. It will remain half, half empty or half full.
So stop reliving the time that has gone by. You may have committed all the mistakes during the spring of your youth. You may have to live the consequences of those mistakes. The aftermath may be difficult to handle, and you may be in a dark mess.
You can not add years to your life, but you can add life to your years.
Here is my take on five things that you should know if you don’t know them already, irrespective of your circumstances.
- Be independent by learning appropriate life skills. Learn to cook, wash laundry, change a bulb, repair a leaking tap, fix a hem, or change your car tire. Learn the basic life-saving skills. You will thank me someday me for it!
- As you approach 40’s, your metabolism starts slowing down gradually, and your muscle and bone density weakens. You may experience high-stress levels because of work or finances. Start preparing yourself for a more happier, healthier and energetic you in your later years. Making an annual visit to the gynecologist, dermatologist and dentist is a must. Breast examination, tests for diabetes and BP should be done regularly. Never skip your breakfast and take out at least 30 minutes thrice a week for regular exercise.
- You may be single, happily married, unhappily married or divorced. But by now, you should have complete grip over your finances. We should all understand basic finance. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds may look frightening. Most of the women like me run away from the money talk or feel intimidated by the language of finance. Today someone else might be taking care of your finances or paying your bills. But someday, you have to be in control. Understand how much you earn and how much you spend. If you don’t make money, try to understand where your husband has invested money. It will help you in case of any eventuality.
- We all crave for relationships and emotional connections. By this age, we have all made enough mistakes of getting entangled in messy, toxic and negative relationships. We all have had friends, relatives, boyfriends who have stifled our growth. We have suffocated enough in relationships where we had to hide ourselves to please others. They have destroyed our self-confidence and eroded our self-esteem. Now is the time to walk away from all the drama created by the toxic and dead-end relationships.
- Accept who you are and make peace with yourself. You may be different from others regarding your physical appearance, life goals or your sexual preference. Just embrace yourself, the way you are. Stop looking for acceptance in the external world. Don’t compare yourself to the others if you want long lasting and eternal happiness.