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The pre mid-life crisis

entertainment Updated: Dec 24, 2010 16:08 IST

Hindustan Times
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Gul Panag
It seems to be the single most dreaded birthday for all the women in the world. The clock turns 12, it is midnight, and just like that, you think you’re now officially old. It will be time to bring out the anti-wrinkle creams, save money for botox and worry about your soon-to-be-out-of-production eggs.

The 20-year-old version of me had a really warped version of life. I also used phrases like ‘life on the other side’. Truth being, there is no other side. Or, if there is, I’ve crossed over and am pleasantly surprised.

gul panagI love everything about my life. My car, my bike, SuperMilo (my dog), my apartment and the people who matter. Riding bikes. Tweeting. Rally driving. Adventure. Acting in films. Voicing my opinion. Living it up. I’ve crossed the 30 benchmark and I’m happy to be me.

Women have it easier than men sometimes. A nod and a smile are all it takes to get them to change your flat tyre, give you that discount, or even a drink on the house. Did I know how to use my charm as well when I was 22? I don’t know.

So what’s different now? I think I’m more aware of my power as a woman. And that can be a lot of fun. At 30 women know what they want and know how to get it. More importantly, we’ve learnt how to say ‘No’. Try a lame pick up line on a 30 something and a 22-year-old. You’ll know the difference.

It’s great when you know how to handle your men as well as your martinis.Being 30 means that you’re past having to bring people coffee and call it a career. Being 30 means becoming financially independent. I can pay for an impromptu vacation to Spain or Thailand or Vietnam. It also means being equipped to handle all the curveballs that life throws my way. There’s no more breaking down and anguishing over the unfairness of life. I’m not a robot, but I’m no longer a dazed and confused 20 something. I’ve been there and done that and now it takes a lot more to faze me.

So to all those dreading the big 3-0, I’ll say you have nothing to worry about. You’re going to get sexier, and the sex is going to get better. You’ll be able to sift the boys from the men, and be able to take your pick. You’ll be able to call a spade a spade, a jerk a jerk and tell when you’re with the complete man. At that point you will have the courage to settle for nothing less.

Purab Kohli
What am I doing with my life? How much money do I earn? Is it enough? Am I doing things to please people or myself? Am I in the right city? Am I in the right career? Do I have best friends? Am I a good friend? Am I getting too old? Am I living my life to the fullest? Am I doing what I really want to do? Am I saying what I really want to say? What do I want to do?

I think 30 is just a rounded figure given to a period in one’s life where you have a million questions that pop into your head all at the same time and they are all about growing older. Some people call it a pre-mid life crisis. That is when you become too obsessed with yourself.

purab kohliThe self-obsession happened to me a lot earlier. I was 25. I was questioning everything around me. I took a sabbatical for six months to find what I really wanted to do with myself and ended up spending most of that time going on holidays. Eventually I found myself broke and had to end up doing jobs I really didn’t want to do. By 27, I felt burnt out and frustrated! I had no choice, but to give in.

And then it started turning around. By giving in, I was finally accepting myself for who I truly was. There is a great joy when you settle in to your own shoes. Not trying to be the person people want you to be or what you feel you are supposed to be, but by just being yourself!

I guess it is like a hurdle on a racetrack. Life throws hurdles your way and how you leap over them defines the track ahead. I've found many things that work for me, that help me feel that I’m living my life to its fullest. I will not share those with you. I guess you need to find your own. I was asked to write what it means to be turning 30 as a man.

But I write only for myself, because I feel we are all unique and all of us have our own experiences that define us. The only constants are the speed breakers. You have to ride them!