Thursday, February 5, 2009

Growing Old(er?)

Age should not be measured by how much time you have been here; it should be measured by how much you have lived.

I read this somewhere and I thought it was pretty cool.

2008 saw me turning 30. It also saw me freaking out about turning 30J. Age had never been a point of distress for me so I didn’t see the breakdown coming. I always thought that physical age does not limit how you feel about yourself. It is your attitude that decides how you enjoy life at every stage and age J

Well, all that was thrown out the window the moment I turned 30. I enjoyed my birthday, because I was very happy with life at the time. I had a great job, a beautiful family, luxurious lifestyle, what else could I ask for? It actually took a couple of weeks before I was hit with the realization that I had turned 30. I had heard friends talk about the big 30 but it never seemed to bother me. In my naïveté I assumed that I was immune to the affects of age on myself.

About 3-4 weeks after my 30th birthday, I suddenly realized that life had changed a lot. I started thinking about how I ‘celebrated’ my birthday and just the thought was enough to give me depression. The ‘grand’ celebration included a take-out dinner (from a favorite restaurant) and a movie. I enjoyed all of that at the moment but I was depressed by the fact that I had to wait for a birthday to do something so simple as a dinner and a movie. Having a child and friends who have children has changed the social scene of life and it suddenly hit me.

I was at a point where I started thinking that life didn’t have meaning anymore. Up until now it had always been about the next thing I needed to achieve. Good grades at school, college education, career, marriage, job, higher education, children and finally settling down (or something like that) in life by buying a house, having a stable job etc. I had enjoyed the ride so far, and even had a few adventures and my little unconventional indulgences like a sports car as my first car. But finally I realized that I had come to a stop. I didn’t know where to go from here. So far there had always been some goal in life that needed to be achieved. Something out there still incomplete but finally I had achieved all that conventional wisdom advocates.

So I found myself thinking about it a lot. The constant question in my mind was ‘what next’. I mean I still had small goals so to speak: promotion at work, another child etc. but nothing seemed big enough or exciting enough to look forward to. I started setting small goals for myself and in the process, I finally finished small projects around the house, got a lot of things from the family ‘TO DO’ list taken care of and actually started an exercise regimen. It still wasn’t enough. At the end of every goal achieved, I came back to the bigger question of what next?

I may be experiencing a classic mid-life crisis but I couldn’t toss the vacant unfulfilled sense of emptiness. Yeah I know big words coming from me but you get the idea. I guess everybody goes though this in life where you come to a point beyond which life hadn’t been defined yet!!!

I moped around, threw tantrums, fought with my husband and was miserable in general. In the end, I decided to try doing something I hadn’t really done so far, at least not to the extent that I wanted to anyway. I had been thinking about social work and working for an NGO or for charity etc. So basically I wanted to do something selfless. The answer came to me through Dance.

My dance teacher in Dallas has an NGO and I started helping her with the annual festival organized by the NGO. Believe it or not, I had found my jive. I enjoyed doing something selfless. A task that gave me nothing more than the satisfaction of being able to help. There was nothing to be gained, no goals, no agenda, just plain help. I enjoyed it immensely even though I had to spend a lot of time doing things I didn’t quite know how to do but I learnt them along the way and the end result was actually good. Another person I started helping was a dance teacher from India who needed some help with outing his NGO online. Well, 6 months down the line, they now have a blog which is updated regularly. I am getting more and more involved with this NGO and I am having fun doing this.

Maybe this is my way of dealing with my mid-life crisis ( I am wondering if you have a mid-life crisis at 30, will you die at 60?) I have found a purpose in life again (at least for nowJ). I will see how ling this continues. Meanwhile, I am my happy cheery self again and I am having fun. I am once again trying out new things and have formulated new goals for the rest of my life. I realized life isn’t over yet so why mope around thinking about the time when it will be.

Have fun and take life one crisis at a time…