I wonder who came up with the term mid-life crisis? Someone who kept revising goals all the way from the beginning, and about mid-point realises that he is not going to get anywhere! Or someone during the half time of his career, suddenly realised he isn’t going to make it after all!
For those who pretty much enjoyed the journey so far, mid-way or otherwise, notwithstanding success or failure over short, medium, and long term goals, lucky you — you landed, by design or by aligned stars, in the role meant for you.
For the Calvins (the other categories), I am your partner in crisis, Hobbes, with some nuggets of wisdom. After a long career, I decided that there ‘may’ be something else that could make a more fulfilling utilisation of my time and energy. Of course, I had no idea what this something else is! Now at this stage, I have had a fairly successful commercial, personal life, but I wasn’t feeling a sense of fulfilment anymore. You know the way we were for most parts of our early life — we had worthy goals, we won, we lost — but we always looked forward, life held promise and was inspiring, something exciting to look forward to, get up and try again. We were always mindful, be present in the moment. Now, somewhere along the way, this was missing and I was too busy to even notice that. And even if some of us did, what we had in our hands, going well for us, looked too delicate and valuable and socially role critical, to lose by getting distracted with philosophical trivialities. So, it wasn’t easy for a long time — till I realised there was no right time nor anyone else to own that call for me. A confluence of multiple events led me to the point a few months ago, where I thought I could safely jump off the plane — quit my cushy job, vaguely trusting the financial and family parachute. It is always a leap of faith, so beyond a point, it is paralysis by analysis if you keep pondering. And at this point, I only have the ideas I want to try out, Let’s see. Also at this point, going back to my early life’s moderate retirement goals when I was still in college regarding money and status, I think I have exceeded them, though not the more recent moving targets of corporate glory and millions!
I remember as a child, I once calculated the deposit interest earned by my dad and thought we could live with that forever, even with a house rent of ₹500. My younger brother was slightly more ambitious. He said once we build our own house, he’ll live happily ever after. I think I was eight or nine them. Now even after adjusting for inflation and simple-thinking childhood economic fallacies, we are far ahead.
Now, I am still figuring out my next steps, exploring ideas giving myself a long runway. But one thing we should only very rarely regret in life — if we wanted to do something, we should always gave it a try. Sometimes, sure there were mistakes, but more often than not, it would be worth the try. And I think ultimately, one has to have a diversity of experiences — remember your early life, we always kept seeking new toys, new friends, new places, new games, while of course carefully saving old souvenirs and trinkets that were close to our hearts. We never shied from trying out a new experience — and if you can afford a reset, take a clean break to check out what else is out there, preferably by mid-life latest, you’ll at least not live a regret later.
Understandably there could be a lost opportunity in your current role — but just looking at the those sitting onto those various positions, you know you could always get there, if you decide to go back and run the same trail again. But what if you found something else mid-life, what if you could go back to your happier younger mindful self? What if…?