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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Life begins at fifty

Arvinder Singh Nagpal , Hindustan Times   January 31, 2013
First Published: 10:52 IST(31/1/2013) | Last Updated: 10:54 IST(31/1/2013)

A common saying in the last century was 'Life begins at forty'. Walter Pitkin had also written a book on the topic in 1932. However, nowadays due to changed circumstances in our country the saying has also changed. Now they say 'Life begins at fifty'.

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Why did they say life began at forty? Because it was at the age of 20 plus that men and women completed their education, got married and had children. When they reached forty, their children went to college. At this age, most people were in good jobs, owned decent houses, were comparatively free and could sit back, relax and enjoy life. They said a new chapter in their life had begun.

Now that education and career take more time, marriages are delayed. Hence when children go to college, parents have already crossed fifty. So nowadays a new chapter in our life starts at fifty. We are comparatively free. Earlier I had to think about children's schools, studies, their shopping and career choices. My wife had to look after their emotional needs. Now when we get up in the morning, we are alone, not having to worry for children, with the entire day to ourselves.

Victor Hugo said, "Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age."

Maturity, experience and wisdom are our new tools at the age of fifty. We are trying to adapt to the new situation in life. We had never gone for vacations without children accompanying us, except our honeymoon. Now for our silver jubilee marriage anniversary, we planned a quiet getaway to a hill station. We now have more time for each other.

With children almost settled, spending more time and energy at business to earn more is no more the motivation. We go to work just to spend some time and for a change.

When we reflect back on our lives we think why we could not spend more time with each other when we had the energy of youth and the means. Where did those 25 years fly?

Now we go on walks, shopping visits, family functions and club meetings together. Facing the hardships of life has taught us that your life partner is sometimes the only person you can bank upon and trust in the time of crisis.

You are suddenly getting the urge to dress well and look your best to conceal your age. You are redefining your personality, trying to rekindle your interest in hobbies that you pursued in your youth. People may say 'Buddhe nu chari jawani' but you don't bother.

So believe strongly in the saying that 'life begins at fifty' and try to enjoy life to the full. Convert the midlife crisis to midlife advantage.

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