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Old 16th April 2016, 00:44   #1
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Question Life in your 40s

Hello there....first, a little introduction.

I'm a 21 year old guy, just graduated last year with a degree in management. I work as a digital marketing specialist with an IT firm. Great chilled-out workplace, amazing crowd, and just a short drive away from home, almost no traffic. Also developing my baking skills (very passionate about it), and looking forward to start my own bakery venture in the near future, initially part-time and eventually quit my job and get into my venture full-time. Life's going great!

However, I often wonder about the later years of an individual. Whenever I see a middle-aged person, my mind goes into thinking-mode about life in our 40s. I see the 40s as a stage in life where one has achieved reasonable success in his/her chosen field, can afford to live a comfortable life and not worry too much about careers/success etc. One can spend more time with family, travelling etc.

But then again, I'm just a naive 21 year old and have no idea what the 40s are really like. Hence, I wish to use this post to call out to all our members in their 40s. If you could kindly share your experiences of life, it would be of great help to curious young people like me. Anything that you think is significant...lessons that you've learnt about life, love, your achievements, regrets, your outlook towards life at this significant stage, any advice you would like to give to younger people...please share it here. It would be of great help and greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot
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Old 16th April 2016, 05:27   #2
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Originally Posted by RonXRi94 View Post
Hello there....first, a little introduction.

I'm a 21 year old guy, just graduated last year with a degree in management. I work as a digital marketing specialist with an IT firm. Great chilled-out workplace, amazing crowd, and just a short drive away from home, almost no traffic. Also developing my baking skills (very passionate about it), and looking forward to start my own bakery venture in the near future, initially part-time and eventually quit my job and get into my venture full-time. Life's going great!

However, I often wonder about the later years of an individual. Whenever I see a middle-aged person, my mind goes into thinking-mode about life in our 40s. I see the 40s as a stage in life where one has achieved reasonable success in his/her chosen field, can afford to live a comfortable life and not worry too much about careers/success etc. One can spend more time with family, travelling etc.

But then again, I'm just a naive 21 year old and have no idea what the 40s are really like. Hence, I wish to use this post to call out to all our members in their 40s. If you could kindly share your experiences of life, it would be of great help to curious young people like me. Anything that you think is significant...lessons that you've learnt about life, love, your achievements, regrets, your outlook towards life at this significant stage, any advice you would like to give to younger people...please share it here. It would be of great help and greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot

Well Buddy, Im in the mid 40's. Only Reasonably/ Moderately successful (if and when compared to many of my circle). But having found a sort of contentment in life, I'm generally happy. Love my work. Love my home life. While there are a lot of responsibilities, there is equally a lot to enjoy around us, including simple things like our pets, good books, movies, travel and experiences, etc.

And I can only say one or two things.

Not much changes. One is still subject to various "wants" and "needs". Its just that the "want" state and "need" state are slightly more convergent than they may have been in one's "20's". In my "20's" which happened in the "90's", India was just opening up and liberalising. Things were very different then than they are now. Career choices and financial considerations were way more limited and avenues to create success were relatively limited. Saying that, most of us made the best that we could, of the circumstances!

The only piece of advice or shall we say, suggestion, that I want to share here is that you should love what you do, live every day in a proper manner, make time for "life" and those that you hold dear and try your best to achieve your dreams, by making an effort on discipline and thus, achievement. Enjoy the experiences that come your way and live your life as best as you can. Try not to compare with others who may according to you, be more successful than you are. Your time will come too.

In short, make time for "Life" - there is no one single formula for contentment or success. As water finds its own level, so should you find yours and have fun while you're about it. Try and travel and experience things while you're fit and healthy and have the capacity to do things that might be challenging as you get older. Experiences are the greatest teachers in life.

Money? Success? - Important yes. But only insofar as it makes YOU content. No point comparing to others because on the "relative scale" there will always be many people ahead of you and so will there be many behind you. Don't forsake your happiness in search of the above two elusive things, and subsume yourself to them in that way. Try not to become a slave to blind acquisition. After all, you can't take it way with you when it is time to go - try and create enjoyment every day instead because "Life is for the Living!"

After all, you only live once. May as well make the best of it and try and leave a lasting impression (in a good way) around you. Make your own pace!

You're young. You must enjoy your life ahead without worrying too much!

Last edited by shankar.balan : 16th April 2016 at 05:42.
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Old 16th April 2016, 09:11   #3
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

Well, the struggles still go on, but in the 40s you have a better understanding of what Maslow wanted to say. He too was probably in his 40s when he made the pyramid of human needs.

You have a better idea where you are and where you will reach. In short in your 40s, you will understand better how you will be in your 60s, than understanding in your 20s how you will do in your 40s. Hope it is not too confusing.

Last edited by GTO : 19th April 2016 at 17:47. Reason: Typo
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Old 16th April 2016, 09:47   #4
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No doubt this is an interesting thread and I was curious to see what others would say, but since hardly anyone has posted, I guess I will plunge right in.

I am in my mid-40s and I would describe myself as reasonably successful by your definition of success. I was fortunate to have earned enough by my early 30s to buy prime property in Bangalore for a fraction of what it costs today. I built my house on it a few years later. My running expenses are low and I have enough of a nest egg that I won't plunge into poverty for a decade or two, maybe more. My lifestyle is reasonably good with two cars, domestic help, fish and meat twice or thrice a week, local outings on weekends, etc. When I think about it now, I am quite impressed by the distance I have come -- When I did my engineering, I would go hungry for days and had to rely on the college library to get books.

Yet I find myself in a midlife crisis. The corporate world has left me jaded and psychologically insecure. Earlier worries about myself have now been replaced by worries about my son. I long for the carefree life I had in my 20s when I was naive and saw the world through rose-tinted glasses.

If I could go back to my 20s, some things I would change are:
  • Lead a healthier lifestyle. I really wish I had taken better care of myself considering the various ailments I have now.
  • Not buy stupid gizmos for those fleeting moments of joy. When I was single, saving up for a big-ticket item seemed like a far fetched idea, so for a long time I blew up my salary on all sorts of junk.
  • In hindsight, I should have locked my money in mutual funds and forgotten all about it until I needed it. The latter part is especially important in my case as I was quite generous distributing money to relatives who claimed to be in hardship.
  • Sell my 6 month old Maruti 800 when I moved to the US. Took me around 5 years to pay off the EMIs when it was lying unused. I really don't know why I kept it, and it is still here.
  • Be better prepared with the realization that marriage and having a child changes everything.

Last edited by nowwhat? : 16th April 2016 at 09:51.
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Old 16th April 2016, 12:48   #5
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Originally Posted by nowwhat? View Post
I am in my mid-40s and I would describe myself as reasonably successful by your definition of success.

If I could go back to my 20s, some things I would change are:
  • Not buy stupid gizmos for those fleeting moments of joy. When I was single, saving up for a big-ticket item seemed like a far fetched idea, so for a long time I blew up my salary on all sorts of junk.
  • In hindsight, I should have locked my money in mutual funds and forgotten all about it until I needed it. The latter part is especially important in my case as I was quite generous distributing money to relatives who claimed to be in hardship.
If you are successful now, why worry about the little things that gave you pleasure when you were young? Would your life had been much different if you had made those sacrifices?

PS: In my early thirties, single and blowing money on gizmos
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Old 16th April 2016, 23:13   #6
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

I planned to retire at 40, and I am pretty much retired. It is the late 20s and the thirties you should focus on. Family and responsibilities and one's own career growth will eat you away when you are 25 to 40.

You start greying (that is not dependent on age).

For me, it was rebirth, discovering the joys forgotten after 25. I have done 18k long distance on my bike.
As long as you get enough physical activity apart from the grey hair, everything else works well.

Life is good post 40. All alone or with a group.

You must focus more on 25 to 35.

I had this same thought at 19 so planned. great question.

Last edited by GTO : 19th April 2016 at 17:48. Reason: Formatting
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Old 16th April 2016, 23:39   #7
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It's interesting for someone to ask this question in their early 20's.

I would say that the Indian economy has moved along a lot for the younger generation to take it a little easy.

So enjoy a little bit while setting some goals. Marry early and have kids (also early) if you plan to, that is. You'll be a lot freer in your 40's. (I can can say that with hindsight). You'll be able to enjoy your mid life a lot more. I know I do!

Take care of your health. A little bit of physical activity is all it takes. Eat frugally. Eat real food, no matter what. Mostly vegetarian.

Above all find something that you enjoy, particularly the work you do.
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Old 17th April 2016, 00:26   #8
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Default Re: Life in your 40s

You've already got some good advice and other 40-something youngsters will pitch in with more, I'd leave you with one simple bit of advice I got when starting out in life:

Think and decide what YOU want to be, what success means to you, what will make you happy, and what & how much will be enough for you. The ONLY thing that has the capacity to really ruin your life, is COMPARISON. Don't live by others' standards, don't measure yourself by others' success, don't limit yourself by others' failure. Make your own success, make your own failures, make your own life. Then whichever way it ends, you at least won't regret not doing it your way.

I've never lost sight of that message, and though I have my own regrets and sorrows, I have my joys and successes too, and I'd rather have mine that someone else's.

P.S. Money's a great enabler (that's just fact), but there's plenty of things it can't pay for. Make your money, but don't forget to CREATE your own priceless stuff along the way.

P.P.S. You're still in your 20s, so don't spend too much of your brains thinking. You'll still need it in your 40s and beyond

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 17th April 2016 at 00:27.
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Old 17th April 2016, 13:38   #9
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Money? Success? - Important yes. But only insofar as it makes YOU content. No point comparing to others because on the "relative scale" there will always be many people ahead of you and so will there be many behind you. Don't forsake your happiness in search of the above two elusive things, and subsume yourself to them in that way. Try not to become a slave to blind acquisition. After all, you can't take it way with you when it is time to go - try and create enjoyment every day instead because "Life is for the Living!"
Yup, I guess being content with what you've achieved is more important than what the world views you as. The 40s would be a good time for retrospection and a walk down memory lane, and one must have some good memories for that walk.

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Well, the struggles still go on, but in the 40s you have a better understanding of what Maslow wanted to say. He too was probably in his 40s whwn he made the pyramid of human needs.

You have a better idea where you are and where you will reach. In short in your 40s, you will understand better how you will be in your 60s, than understanding in your 20s how you will do in your 40s. Hope it is not too confusing.
Not confusing at all. One never stops learning, and I suppose our wants and needs keep changing over time.

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No doubt this is an interesting thread and I was curious to see what others would say, but since hardly anyone has posted, I guess I will plunge right in.
I'm glad to hear you're pretty much successful. Looking at the lifestyle changes between your engineering and now, let me congratulate you. You've come a long way indeed.

Ah yes, the soul-sucking corporate world. Drains you of your time, energy, general well-being and puts a few greens in your pockets in return. Sadly, it is a part of life that we need to accept.

We really don't care about our health until it's too late and the health issues crop up. There's a yoga place near home, where I used to go regularly for around 10 months or so a couple of years ago. Lost my ugly kilos of extra fat, got in good shape and was feeling healthy and active in general. I stopped going after I got into good shape. I've now resolved to continue yoga for the rest of my life, although I have trouble staying motivated after a week :(

About finances, well, its human nature to blow everything you earn, especially when you just start to work. Inspite of enjoying all the gizmos when you were young, you're still decently successful right now. So that's perfectly fine.

And about mutual funds, they're linked to the stock markets. Market takes a hit, so do your MF investments. And just in case the market goes down, it's better to spend your money on pleasureable items than lose it in the market, isn't it?

Me? I have a personal bank account apart from my salary account. On payday, I transfer 25% of my salary to my personal account for blowing off throughout the month, and the 75% is safely kept aside for starting my business, which I intend to do this time next year. I've also had the good fortune to come across Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad at an early age, and I can safely say its changed my mindset about money.

The M800 was a cute little car. Hard to let go of it. You keeping it around was just a case of emotional attachment.

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Originally Posted by YaeJay View Post
I planned to retire at 40, and i am pretty much retired. it is the late 20z and the thirties you should focus on. Family and responsibilities and ones own career growth will eat you away when you are 25 to 40.

Life is good post 40. all alone or with a group.

you must focus more on 25 to 35.
Thanks for the precious advice. Yes, rebirth is the exact word. A long solo bike ride to the mountains in my 40s is something that I've already planned. That's when I want to reflect back on my life, look at what I've achieved, what I've not, and what is my plan for life ahead. Good to know you're enjoying on your bike.

Thanks to hereditary genetic disorders, I've been greying since age 10. So no greying worries


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Originally Posted by LithiumSunset View Post
It's interesting for someone to ask this question in their early 20's.

Take care of your health. A little bit of physical activity is all it takes. Eat frugally. Eat real food, no matter what. Mostly vegetarian.

Above all find something that you enjoy, particularly the work you do.
Yes, a proper lifestyle, health, and being content with your work is very important indeed. Glad to know you're enjoying your middle age. Keep it up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post

Think and decide what YOU want to be, what success means to you, what will make you happy, and what & how much will be enough for you. The ONLY thing that has the capacity to really ruin your life, is COMPARISON. Don't live by others' standards, don't measure yourself by others' success, don't limit yourself by others' failure. Make your own success, make your own failures, make your own life. Then whichever way it ends, you at least won't regret not doing it your way.
You're completely right about the comparison part. The only person you should compare yourself to, is the person you were yesterday. As you said, it's important to create your own path and not go by someone else's path. It's good to know you've never lost sight of that message.

A big thanks to everyone who has given their precious views here.

Last edited by Technocrat : 18th April 2016 at 22:27. Reason: Please quote selectively as a large quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 17th April 2016, 13:50   #10
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The current generation who are in the 40s, are an unique generation. These are people who were born roughly between 1967-1975. I will give some background on why they are unique. I see shankar.balan did touch on the idea, but let me elaborate.

India underwent a watershed moment in 1991, we had the financial reforms and by 1992 we could see the affect of it on practically everything. We went from being a socialist country to capitalist country within a year. It unlocked enormous amount of untapped potential and literally changed our society.

The current 40s generation grew up in the pre-reforms era and made their career plans based on pre-reforms reality. What was the pre-reforms reality? Upward mobility was very limited. Financial success was limited to people who had established family business, high academic success or high ambition. The examples are kids of business magnets, kids who made it to IIT/IIM, and kids who wrote GRE/TOEFL and migrated to USA, respectively. Even lucrative careers in Medicine required rich parents or very high academics. Now you know the category Satya Nadella or Sundar Pichai fall into. But the majority who were in the middle class didn’t dream of such success and has little ambition. They didn’t expect any more success than their parents, and just hoped to get a job to make a living. I fell into this category, by having middle class parents, and average academics from an average college.

Getting a job was not easy then. We needed to struggle first 2-3 years, sometimes more until we get enough experience to secure a good position. I worked without salary for almost a year. Often influence was required to even get an interview call from reputed companies. Therefore when the post-reforms economy drastically changed the status quo, the people of this category were at the right time to receive the benefits of sudden boom in jobs. We expected little, but received a bounty. At age 38, my dad bought his first scooter (the only vehicle he ever owned), and I bought my 9th car at the same age. This generation therefore gets to claim the maximum number for rags-to-riches stories that ever happened in India. We were lucky that way.

Therefore, when we look back at our aspirations and goals before 90s and then see where we are now, it is quite mindboggling. The newer generations did not and will not undergo this kind of unique experience because there hasn’t been such watershed moments since then.

I’ll post about other things later, but I wanted the above idea sink in for now...

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Old 17th April 2016, 16:35   #11
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If you are successful now, why worry about the little things that gave you pleasure when you were young?
One of the benefits of being in your mid-30s and later is that it gives some perspective to mull on the things one could have done differently. Not to say that one can't do it in their 20s, it is just that by then there is some volume of data about yourself and you also have a better understanding about how you work and what works for you.

Please don't misunderstand me -- I still love gizmos. But I feel stupid at the thought that I once spent over $1,000 on that clunky Philips DVD player when it came out, or the equivalent amount I spent on building a DVD collection back then. Or the Palm Pilot, Handspring Treo and all sorts of other things of which I have no clue where they ended up.

By the way, I do not consider myself successful. Success is a relativistic term and everyone has their own definition of success. I am envious of those who are content with their lives and I wish I could be them, but somehow I feel that my life is going to see many more ups and downs.
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Old 17th April 2016, 17:19   #12
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Please don't misunderstand me -- I still love gizmos. But I feel stupid at the thought that I once spent over $1,000 on that clunky Philips DVD player when it came out, or the equivalent amount I spent on building a DVD collection back then. Or the Palm Pilot, Handspring Treo and all sorts of other things of which I have no clue where they ended up.
I understand what you are saying. Have been through that. What hurts more is when you think about what all you could have otherwise done with that money.
Case of wisdom vs knowledge. Thankfully have totally stopped spending now even though, like you, I love gizmos.

Also I was curious to know, from those who were frustrated in their jobs in 20s-30s, how much of the zeal to do something different (like starting something on your own), a feeling that mostly dominates then, persists when you are mid 40..
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Old 17th April 2016, 17:55   #13
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Originally Posted by RonXRi94 View Post
call out to all our members in their 40s. If you could kindly share your experiences of life -lessons that you've learnt
Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I'm generally happy. Love my work. Love my home life.

Career choices and financial considerations were way more limited ; most of us made the best that we could, of the circumstances!

After all, you only live once. May as well make the best of it
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Getting a job was not easy then. We needed to struggle first 2-3 years, sometimes more until we get enough experience to secure a good position. I worked without salary for almost a year.At age 38, my dad bought his first scooter (the only vehicle he ever owned), and I bought my 9th car at the same age. This generation therefore gets to claim the maximum number for rags-to-riches stories that ever happened in India. We were lucky that way.
To add to what SB and Samurai have said ,

1.life is like limited overs cricket - your score in your first few overs generally determines how comfortably your life progresses.I saved like crazy in my first few years and am fiscally good now.

2.Live life within your means - your wants should be small and reasonable as you progress.No point burdening yourself with say an XUV500 at 25 when you can be fine with a KUV100. Even today , I have no qualms about travelling by city bus/non a.c. intercity buses.

3.Keep upskilling OR be in an area where you are employable for life - e.g..healthcare

4.Help people in need - through efforts/time , not cash.

5.Don't compare yourself with others - you should be proud of being a unique yourself .

Last edited by Technocrat : 18th April 2016 at 22:27. Reason: Please quote selectively as a large quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 17th April 2016, 19:16   #14
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5.Don't compare yourself with others - you should be proud of being a unique yourself .
What makes you different, makes you Unique and Special!

As Samurai said, our lives in the early '90's was not as easy and nor did we have so many expectations. I started my working life on a salary of Rs 5000 per month. I lived away from my parents and had to pay all my bills. Yes, because I was privileged to go to boarding school as a kid, I had already learned independence, but it still wasn't easy when those of my pals who still lived with their parents, had more spending money than I did.

There was a time I wondered whether I would EVER have enough to buy a car for myself or whether I would ever be able to afford a Foreign Holiday and whether I would ever be able to play some Golf and have a few pet dogs and so on.

While I managed buying a car on my own steam in my mid twenties, all the rest of the stuff, I had to slowly earn and build.

Basically my reference points while growing up were my parents and their friends, whom I looked up to and wanted to emulate, in terms of lifestyle. Growing up in the Tea Estates, we were privileged to have a great lifestyle and be at one with Nature etc. We lived Rich though we weren't very Rich per se! I wanted that Quality of Life very badly in my working life, but didn't get it immediately because I moved to a city to work. I finally managed to achieve the "lifestyle" aspect only in my early '30's.

No regrets though with these learnings, because as the Economy opened up, so did opportunities as well and I was lucky to be able to "seize the day!".

Looking back, probably the only thing I would do differently given a second chance, is that I would have studied a bit harder and gone to study/work abroad on a Teaching Assistantship - I had that opportunity but didn't do it properly at the time. I was only able to afford my first property investment in my mid '30's. Life wasn't that easy and nor were loans that easily available in my '20's. But as I said, no regrets.

Marriage came late and for love, not for social circumstance. I was afraid earlier that I wouldn't be able to manage a good life for the Wife! But that worked out too, with some sensible efforts and a bit of savings and the greatest thing of all, the efforts made together!

Travel as I said, was a distant dream, but that came too, both official and personal and for that, I am happy.

My all consuming passion was animals and in my late twenties the moment I was able to afford "help", I immediately adopted a couple of 4 legged family members and reigned over a bachelor establishment with a Butler and a couple of doggies! Then came marriage and a whole new Chapter, thankfully, still with the Butler and the Doggies as part of our lives! No children by choice. All our affection is for the pets and other stray animals around.

Each of these milestones, were, for me, just that, milestones of happiness and achievement on the long hard road of life!

There is no One Size Fits All formula in Life. One has to always remember and try to follow the Latin Proverb - Quantum in me Fuit. I did the Best I Could!

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Old 17th April 2016, 20:54   #15
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Well. Let me add my 2 cents here.

I too like many others here am in my Mid 40s. late teens and early 20s were the time which I focused on getting right education. with a post graduate degree and a job in one of the top industrial houses, I thought I could now focus on climbing up the corporate ladder. I soon realized that field in which I was didn't enthuse me much. I was not made for brick and mortar engineering work. I switched my field to IT in my late 20s. It was the time when IT boom had started in India and I was those fortunate few who moved in early. It has been a long, exhausting and highly contended journey till my mid forties. Suddenly I did feel that I will not be able to continue with IT any longer. It really was not my passion but did give me both job satisfaction and money. Now that all the Maslows needs being satisfied I thought of quitting IT field completely and jump into something new. Now I am trying to establish my consulting practice in investment banking. Let us see how far that goes.

I have done all what I planned to achieve by late 50s in mid 40s itself. Have seen places (visited more than 30 countries), have worked abroad (Primarily in US but also in Europe), built enough and more wealth. now I am also getting the pleasure of seeing it grow.

Now I have drawn up my bucket list and will start ticking of one at a time. I was a good sportsman in my collage days but had neglected my body till recently. Now I have started focusing on keeping myself lean/trim and fit for last 2 years (which was ton op of my bucket list). Next in my list was to develop the relationship with distant relatives and friends with whom I couldn't keep in touch earlier, which I am progressing fairly well now. I am also managing to spend more time with my parents and take care of them. Now I feel that they need me much more than earlier. My father had an operation and I was with him for 3 weeks full time. This was unthinking just a year or so back.

To summarize the 40s have been the stage of reflection, an era of doing what you think needs to be done and living the life you want to live. I want to quote Bryan Dyson here - Life is a game of juggling 5 balls - Work, Family, Health, friends and spirit. Work is a rubber ball. Even if you drop it, it will bounce back. While the other 4 are balls are made of glass. If you drop any one of them they are irrevocably damaged. Please understand this and strive to NOT DROP the glass balls. I understood this a bit late in my 40s. Better late than never. guys who are in 20s and 30s please do bear this in mind and strive to balance all the above 5 aspects so that you don't repent later.

Last edited by DieselFan : 17th April 2016 at 20:57.
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