Did the moment of truth ever strike you?
If your answer is yes, congratulations, you are a typical human.
There are three stages when this moment of truth will surprise you.
At the first stage, your encounter is at Quarter life crises. When you have just finished your education and academic practice. You are energetic, curious and hopeful. Love is in the air. The law of attraction is at its best for you. The entire world is a sea of possibility. You are all set to plunge in, surf and have a lot of fun and freedom. Hanging out with friends, waking up at night and sleeping during the the the day makes all the more sense. You feel strong and rebellious enough to go against nature and challenge the norms. You think you are the most clever person on a planet while the rest have serious social and mental issues.
Every time you feel most competent in life the moment of truth will arrive with a call of checkmate. The practical world is not the world you had been reading in books, it will dawn. The world is full of tactical, clever and selfish people. You need to be extra smart to make every new move. In the clouds of uncertainty and confusion, this is the first lightening. It brightens the achievements of all your friends. The grass will look a lot greener on their side of the wall. Achievement, relations and possibilities availed by your friends will push you to be more serious. The pressure to be someone, to be financially independent and find an ideal life partner may paramount.
This lightening will energise you, you will run in the race of life. You need to get into the system, survive and gain experience. You may or may not decide to have a family life at this point.
Time is one of the most intriguing, mysterious and compelling forces of this universe. It has a facility to fast forward your journey. It will transfer you into future, two decades later in the blink of an eye.
It is here that the moment of truth will again jolt you. At the onset of forty years, a discrepancy between expectations and reality will weigh you down. You have a career, experience and likely a family at your back. Yet you feel a sudden void within you.
Time is running out and so is your physical strength. You will need to stop running immediately. It is a time to reflect, to analyse what was lost and won.
You will feel an uncalled duty to impart some values to your next generation. It is at this stage when many parents start sharing secrets of the trade and give practical tips on how to survive to their young ones.
It is a time to investigate the past, to learn from mistakes, to get inspiration from an older generation and plan for a future. It feels awfully boring writing it down. Well done for reading it so far. Good news is you survived. So let’s get serious for a bit longer. Mid age crises are a test of patience and so is reading about them. You will come out of it happy and wise, that is a promise!
Mid age will be a time to re-assess and re-align realistic goals this time. A time to answer the question of what now and what next?
Whether or not you have meaningful achievements, it is a time when you will feel you have not accomplished enough. What is missing? Where is the broken link? Why do You feel empty, shallow and stuck??
Love or hate Life will put forward a compulsory question paper for you.
The same question paper, a second attempt. With maturity and experience at hand, your answers will be completely different this time.
What makes you happy will come in focus. This is a make or break time of your life. You need to plant new seeds of motivation and take all the shrubs and weeds out. Weeds of false hopes and pretence. It is a time of metamorphosis. A suffocating, slow, tiresome time.
You will now look into your childhood. Who were you? Who were you meant to be? What were your inspirations? What had been your passion? What has time made you instead? What had been your inner voice? What will be your next move?
Midlife is a time to lit the flame of passion, to bring fuel of desire, to gather sticks of discarded opportunities and fan the curiosity. It is here that your creative expression will set fire to all your dead genius. It is a time for you to stop asking questions and start giving answers.
Just as the temperature of the body rises in a fever to wake up the sleeping white blood cells of the defence system. Your midlife crises have a lot of self-awakening to deal with.
To warn you to assess how much you have wronged yourself. To tell you to be less excited and more serious. To find your purpose and your role. To make a few changes in order to adapt to the next onset of old age.
You will be lucky to make a few changes beforehand, before the uninvited reality of a very old age. You will be very lucky to make so far.
The third time lightening of truth strikes at this stage. Will it be more brutal or your physical body will be worn out to stand, you will not even know. It will be an onset of wisdom. You will see a bigger picture with a vast experience and several lessons learnt. Yet who will you inspire? Who will want to listen to the stories of strength, valour and heroism from a weak and frail body? You will have to be funny, quick and versatile. There you go, time to learn from the younger generation, before imparting your wisdom.
Learning from younger ones will be a lot of fun. They surely will know how to live happy as it will be their times. Friendships, selfies, board games and social media, you can do so much more with them while giving them very small doses of wisdom without them realising it. Some teachers work undercover, with white hair, lost teeth and shaking hands too.
It is at this stage in particular that you will see many people hold on to their faith stronger than before. Ambitions and goals were a slippery investment… a dream. Some good children will be a source of joy, while others cause pain. This had been your main investment of life, given at the prime of youth for a reason, it will incur. Your children will be a tree you had planted for future. You will wish it grows big, gives shade and fruit. You want to leave the world to caring hands.
Retirement will be a very different time. Reading books, gardening and spiritual connection will get you going, after losing many friends and loved ones along the way.
‘What do you get from your prayers apart from a bigger spiritual connection’, You may ask some old people.
‘At a mature age, after running behind all our physical needs we realised the presence of a soul. It did call out for help when we were restless, unhappy, feeling shallow and angry but we were too busy to pay heed to someone we could not see. It was only when our physical body, our outer shell failed that we witnessed the life, the essence, the energy within. We are trying to give food to this ailing soul with discipline, it gives us happiness’.
‘What strength do you get by reading in numbers on your rosary’, your curious self may know no bounds.
‘Brain is an organ it needs exercise. Without stimulation, the connection of brain and neurons shrink. We try to use it for reminding ourselves about the happiest times of our lives. Our emotions of laughter, love, pride, our old faint memories, it brings back all that joy’.
‘Besides we feel grateful and humble, we want to use this dying candle, the wax of decaying organs and flames of time, for remembrance of God in gratitude and give testimony as we fight to break free’. They may add.
So where was the wisdom? You may want to ask?
Now how I feel an urge to pretend I am not too old yet, to impart this high dose of wisdom.
Yet, in my little understanding, every time, the moment of truth knocks the outer shell of our eggs, it is to make us feel the yoke. It is to shake/wake us up so that we stop being preoccupied about our shells and try to evolve.
Our identity is not merely our degrees, our resume, our outer image or our jobs but who we are and what we are capable of. The shells are often a mere packaging.
‘When an egg is broken from an inside force, life begins. Great things always start from the inside’.
At the end of life,e the realisation is how everything was connected to teach, to help us learn, to allow us to accept the change and to evolve. To perform and deliver despite limitations.
The difference: a good or bad impact you make, is entirely your choice and your answer sheet.
I wish we choose what is best and right, each and every time!