Phases and Stages in Life.
Life is a one-way journey, with no u-turns. As you go, the journey has different phases and stages. One can say that the phases are like childhood, teenage, adult, middle age and then old age. But you see, all the books and media mainly caters to babies, children, teens and adults, and wraps up the rest in one big bracket of ‘middle age’ or ‘old age’. Now, that’s not fair. How can you put the first thirty years as ‘life’ and the next two thirty year phases as middle or old?
Phases of childhood, teenage and becoming an adult are all completed in the first three decades of life. There is so much detailed information about these first thirty years. After that, its all about ‘how to stay young…’ as if it is wrong to be the age that you are after that.
Life after the late thirties is all about arthritis, varicose veins, heart problem, diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer.
Or, it is about spirituality only. As if one has turned into a saint, suddenly. ( After doing everything one could, and now one isn’t capable of anything, so you turn to spirituality.)
All I want to say is: ‘Get real!’ And I’d like to add ‘Get a life!’
It was in the US in 2009 that I heard the terminology from my uncle Nawaz “Life begins at Fifty!”
My first response was … “what? – how is that possible?”
But now I know, how true it is. One’s own life begins around that time. Especially in the East. Here, we are all trying to be good children of our parents. So, we live our lives according to our parent’s dreams and wishes. Most of us even get educated in fields of their interest. Actually, because they are footing the bill! That lasts till age 25 years or so. Then we are married, and for next 25 years we live according to our spouse and children’s needs, requirements, directions, advice etc.
So? Now, where are we? Yes, at age fifty!
This is where finally our own life begins. It sounds so cruel. But actually, it isn’t. By this age we are more reasonable, more passionate and clear about what we want in our life.
If you see a normal life span of seventy years; after age fifty, you still have twenty years left. These days, more people are living till a healthy age of 85 to 90 years. So, then, after fifty, you have 25 – 30 more years left.
I have interviewed Hugh Catchpole at age 87 years, while he was teaching in Abbottabad public school and he had a hip fracture, which he got during his trip to Dehradun, India. Recently I’ve known of Aisha, who is going all over the world meeting her friends and relatives, while traveling alone at age 81. She lives alone in London these days. I’ve known of a lady aged 93 living alone in her cottage, growing her own vegetables and cooking her own food in Australia.
In Pakistan, I’ve known of Mumtaz Mufti who wrote his last book ‘Talash’ at age eighty nine. My father at 89 has been driving his own car and has a good social life too. My mother at age 81 loves Pakistani dramas and her own favorite English films of her youth, like My Fair Lady . These days, Hamsafar beats all. Mashallah, both can hear and see well, and move around where ever they want to go. They have real opinions and love to meet old friends.
Friends. That is the best part. Time has filtered out the bad guys in one’s life, and now you only have the jewels. Whats App has done wonders here, and you see groups mushrooming of every kind. So, one has the college group, and the art group and the student’s group and friend’s different groups. So, now, distance is just a number, just like age is just a number.
I have Nigar Nazar, who is into so much, that its hard to keep up with all that she is doing. A Fulbright Scholarship holder, cartoonist and educationist along with her own NGO STEER. Through this NGO she and her wonderful husband Nazar Abbas are doing wonders in Pakistan, for promoting education through entertainment for children in lesser privileged back grounds.
This is the time to do all those things for which one had no time earlier. Hurry up and get going! How can you go about it?In today’s world, you can go back to school or study in a university, in a subject that you always wanted to study. Forget your hang-ups about not being a good student. I can tell you, you will love it. Complete with being a naughty student! You won’t be alone there either. Invariably, there are people nearer your age, or even the younger lot, who are great fun to be with. You are class fellowes, and learning new stuff together. What thrills you is the amount you can put into your classes due to your experiences in the fields that are being taught.
You are physically a bit on the plump side, otherwise, the best that you have ever been. Suddenly, you enjoy food as you never did before. The taste of everything is so good. You can sit back, enjoy the music of the past and the present – literally, and hypothetically.
I love to enjoy the new music, films, books, art, and meeting young people with fresh ideas. A lot of what they say and do makes a lot of more sense. Makes one realize, they’ve got a lot going right.
Some things, you have seen, don’t make sense. But they will, given some time.
You do not like the young one one’s obsession with themselves. So be it. It is their time now. Let them enjoy it. We had our time, we really enjoyed it. This is our time too. Let’s enjoy this too.
The most important thing is not be judgmental about anyone. We know, none of the oldies were angels either. (- Though many try to make out they were!)
We made a big mess of our country too. It is not what it is supposed to be now either. So, there was a lot lacking in both the previous and present generations. Let us sit back, and value what we have. Appreciate the wonderful things happening in today’s world, which weren’t happening previously.
There is need to appreciate the youth of our country: We’ve got to value and treasure them. No need to downplay the children and adults of Pakistan today!
What I’m trying to say is this: Let us stop interfering in other people’s business. It is time to get on with our own lives. Whatever age we are, we need to do whatever we can while we have the time. Do social work, start studying, manage assets competently and efficiently. If we are alive today, it is because Allah has some work for us to do.
Better get started now!
Stay blessed, my dear reader. – Whatever age you are!