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Life after forty

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Vaibhav Datar suggests some ways to move from mid-life crisis to happiness

Strange things happen when you enter your 40s. It is your birthday today and you should be seemingly happy. But you look sad and grim. You look back and see your 40 years just passed by. Your youthful energy, your enthusiasm, your adrenalin rush have disappeared. You feel like you have not achieved much in life.

Suddenly, you have graduated to the senior space. You have started getting gray hair, your skin does not look that lively and all the grooming products start making sense. You are losing your peace every day. You are restless and impatient. There is so much to do and so little time. You feel drained. Welcome to the mid-life crisis.

Well, things are not over yet. You have so much to do with your finances. You want to be financially secure, have ailing parents to take care of, school-going children and a spouse demanding your time, office pressures and you feel completely lost—like ‘why am I doing what I am doing? Is this what I always wanted to do?’ A  feeling of  ‘I want to be happy’ arises within you.

Receiving happiness is a step-by-step process. You have to put the right efforts to be happy daily.

Let’s look at the five stages one moves from during a mid-life crisis

Denial

The first is when you deny being in mid-life crisis. There are things happening around you which you cannot control and you keep denying them. You cannot run 10 miles or move up the stairs without panting. Your youthful energy is being replaced with slowness. Your visits to the dentist or salon have increased and you still keep hiding it from your friends.

You know you are not feeling as strong as you did earlier. But you don't want to face that. You are in a constant state of denial.Unfortunately, you cannot keep your eyes closed and walk. You look around and see your friends ageing as well. Maybe, you act by going in for some new things which demonstrate youthfulness to the outer world. It’s a struggle, an uphill task.

Anger

A little anger is getting built up. You want to be young forever. You want to earn more money, find a new job, but no opportunities are available for your age. You start blaming the outside world for everything. You lash out or get mad at your spouse, kids, parents and friends. Anger happens because things are not under your control, whereas it is your ageing that's not under your control.

The eternal truth starts settling in. It’s a natural law. What comes into existence has to die one day. But you are not ready to accept the truth. So you fight with it. You try to control, what is seemingly not under your control. Every breath you take, you are slowly moving towards death.

Bargaining

When anger does not work, you get into bargaining mode and choose to bargain with nature. You convince yourself that if you just do this or that thing, you may feel youthful. So you start doing new things in the hope that it will revive your youth. You start having an affair or date people younger than yourself. You start speaking the language of youth. You drive crazily just to feel youthful. These things may just soften the truth, but the journey has already begun and there is no way you can stop it.

Depression

You have a feeling of failure. Nothing seems to work. Nature has its own ways of ways and you feel you are being pushed to old age. You start having little regrets in life. ‘Oh, only if I could have done that when I was 16!’ Regrets of not having spent time with family. Regrets of not following what you loved. And these regrets ultimately lead you into a depression. If things are not checked in time, you get into serious trouble by not being able to handle your emotions.

Acceptance

When you can't fight, you come to terms with it. You accept this bitter truth of life and slowly move into peace. You enter into the state of acceptance, where you accept things as they are. You accept your mid-life crisis. That's when things start to change. You start rebuilding yourself. You get to a fresh start. You find something new about yourself.

You no longer care about your grey hair. You no longer worry about your ageing. You see life through new eyes. You help yourself through this life-transforming time. Eventually you figure out that there are still lots of cool things about being alive. You start to embrace a new picture of yourself, start to find new ways of relating. You begin to see you still have a lot of choices, despite the fact that you’ll continue to age

The earlier you realise that you are in mid-life crisis, the better it is. The faster you move through the stages, the better it is. That is when a life coach comes in handy. He has the right expertise and experience to help you move from crisis to happiness.

Vaibhav Datar is a mid-life coach and an author of Simplify your Life.

Short takes

When people get to their 40s, they often suffer from a mid-life crisis and start seeking ways to be happy.

However, receiving happiness is a step-by-step process. You have to put the right efforts to be happy daily.

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