No prizes for guessing what the main events in our lives are when it comes to turning points or key events in our lives. Almost all of us know that our career choices, decision about marriage and children and the way we view retirement decide the way life will progress. However, this post is not just to tell you that these are the key decisions that you need to make with care but some things that you may want to look out for.
With some grey hair on my head now, I feel the need to share this wisdom with others despite knowing that it will probably be ignored. I know I have! But if you can find it in yourself to heed this piece of advice and keep an open mind, I hope you come out feeling great!
Unless you have are born with a silver spoon, you are probably looking at a career choice that will lead you to making money and eventually growing in the field you are in. The largeness of your dreams is dependent on how big you allow yourself to dream. If you are born with a silver spoon and can do whatever you want to with the talents and passions you possess, I wish you well. I hope you use your passions well.
However, if you have the burden of making it in life on your own, don’t feel scared to follow your heart and do what you want to do. I often quote a dialogue in a famous Aamir Khan movie when I speak about this aspect of life. It went like this – ‘Badi gaadi mein nahin ghoomoonga par khush rahoonga’. This is a son basically trying to convince his dad saying, ‘I may not roam around in a big car, but I will be happy’. He says this trying to convince his dad to let him pursue his dream of becoming a wildlife photographer.
I am the wiser with regards to my own life as well. I chose to pursue education in a field that was safe and would ultimately lead me to become part of the corporate world, ditching my interest and passion in psychology and/or law. While I am not a fan of regrets, this is one that would come close!
Today, we live in a global world and there is opportunity everywhere. If you do what you love, you will find takers for it somewhere. The trick is not to worry about the takers when you are deciding what to learn or gain expertise in. Just do it! And then keep doing what you love – the rest will follow. If you can find it in yourself to keep doubt away and not worry about the monies, you will make the right decision in the long run!
While it is made out to be one of the most important goals in life, marriage does not have to be one of the threshold events in your life. Society may relentlessly tell you otherwise because it has an ulterior motive related to the advancement of humanity. Being with someone else does not define you. Don’t put a deadline to the event. If you do want to get married, go about doing it the right way. Even if you have found the one and are happy with married life, don’t undermine yourself at any stage.
A lot gets compromised under the umbrella of ‘love’. In fact, sometimes our fears to step out and do what we love can easily be camouflaged with this excuse. Watch out for what is holding you back when you are in a relationship. It is not your duty to give yourself up for the relationship at all. Such a relationship is not symbiotic in nature.
This does not mean compromises and adjustments may not be required. They will be. However, when you decide to marry, understand that it will be the first step to changing the basic fabric of your thinking process.
It is almost blasphemous in many societies for a woman to not want children. It is often assumed that those who decide not to have children probably ‘cannot’. I have often thought that there should be a qualifying exam for those who want to have children. When there are entrance exams to decide whether you are good enough to study a certain curriculum in a certain institution, how is it that everyone is allowed to raise children – a task that decides how future mankind will be!
Everyone is not designed to raise kids. This did not matter in the days when community living was far more prevalent. With nuclear families and double income households, however, this is an event in life that needs to be thought through.
Having children will change your priorities in ways that you can never imagine. Some will embrace those changes while others may regret them (even as they make those changes). It is almost impossible to decipher the way in which a child will change you and your circumstances since a new life does not come into yours with a user manual. How things take a turn will unfold as your child grows. Are you ready for that plunge and leap of faith?
So, you have had a great career, married and had kids and you are now definitely past your prime. How do you put up your arms and ready yourself for retirement? Look around you and you will see different people handling this stage in life very differently. While some refuse to let go of their working status, there are others that embrace it with open arms. If you define yourself by the work you do, you are likely to fall into the former category because you cannot see yourself as anything else but a busy bee! On the other hand, if you are a person of multiple passions and desires, you can choose to stop at the right time and take time to do the many things you have always wanted to and never had the time.
The catch here is that most people do not know when to stop. Even though there is a retirement age in most companies, there are extensions and then if you are a self-employed professional, there is really no age when you must stop. If you have a clientele, you can keep on working.
Think about this aspect of your life, sooner rather than later, because life is short, and it may not be the best of things to lament what you could have enjoyed when you had the ability!