More and more women in their 40s are keen on learning new skills to break the monotony in their lives, especially after their children have grown up. Anandi Rao, mother of two teenaged boys, felt she had nothing much to do at home after 11 am.
So she spent the day watching television, calling up friends or surfing on the Internet. Bored with this lifestyle, she learnt to make handicrafts.
She says, “I was always interested in craft and needlework but didn’t have the time when my sons were little. I got
together like-minded women in my society. Now I hold classes.”
Ila Trivedi was interested in yoga but couldn’t pursue it because of time constraints. Her children are independent now. So at 42, she enrolled for a diploma in yogic education and became a yoga teacher. Now 10 years later, she’s happy with her decision. “I have plenty of time on my hands. Being involved with yoga feels good. I feel healthy physically and mentally. I also get the opportunity meet people,” she adds.
Sunita Ghosh, a painter, realised that she wasn’t doing much with her life. She zeroed in on a part-time course in early childhood education.
She states, “I wanted a regular routine. Although I was busy with my painting, I did it only when I could. So I enrolled for afternoon classes. I finish my housework in the morning after which I attend my classes. I paint in the evenings or at night. I find this very relaxing.”
For all these women, it has been exciting to learn something new at 40. It has instilled a sense of confidence and given a new direction to their lives. Anandi Rao adds, “Once the children complete their education and become independent, our role at home is limited. So it’s better to utilise our free time effectively.” Ila feels it has nothing to do with monetary gains. One just wants to be mentally occupied.
Clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany advises, “It is important for a woman to be busy when she approaches menopause. This is the best way to get rid of negative thoughts. One doesn’t have to learn a new skill only with the aim of earning money. It could be just another hobby or occupation.”
Hingorrany feels it’s wonderful for women to pursue a new career at 40. But those who cannot do so for lack of funds or otherwise, should chalk out their own programme every day.
If one is apprehensive about enrolling for a new course because of age, and harbour doubts like, “I’m too old.. I feel out of place,” she reminds them of the adage — age is just a state of the mind.