Today, I turned fifty. It seems like a big number, and it seems like a milestone. I think it is more so because suddenly I am hit with a realization that more than half my life is over (If I presume a lifespan of 85 years, which is a more than reasonable assumption).
I have always believed that age doesn’t define you. In one of my books, a character says ‘You can be old at 24 or young at 62’ and it is a maxim I’ve lived by. Yet I cannot escape the undeniable physical signs of ageing—grey hair, actually being one of the better things about it because there are worse things, which I leave to your imagination!
For the past few months, (partly because I have completed the manuscript of my 14th book and sent it off to my publishers) I’ve been ruminating and thinking deeply about life. What does it mean to be a certain age? What does it mean to turn fifty? Is it watching one’s body slowly wither away? Is it growing stronger mentally? Is it accepting the ravages of time on everything you hold dear? Is it watching life slip by?
For me, it is taking stock of where you are at, at this point in your life, and deciding where you want to go from here onward. Though one can do it at any age, fifty makes it feel like a turning point. This is because by the time people are fifty, they’ve usually achieved most of the things that were driving them in their twenties and thirties, and perhaps forties too. For me too, it is the same.
One of the things I’m most grateful for, is that I’ve achieved all the goals I set for myself, and I’m living my dream life. Today, I feel blessed to have a beautiful home (that my husband and I worked very hard to create).
I feel blessed that I have raised two gorgeous human beings who are kind, sensitive and compassionate (I have a 24-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter).
As an author, I am happy with all I’ve accomplished---I am one of the highest selling authors in the country, I’ve won many awards, my books have won awards too. I’ve been interviewed by BBC (click here to watch) and Doordarshan (click here).
I’ve been invited as a speaker at almost every major international literary festivals, including Birmingham, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
My latest self-help book The Magic Mindset has been nominated by Amazon in the ‘Most popular self-help’ category. (Do click here to vote if you haven’t yet voted; It’s the only Indian book to be nominated in that category).
Most importantly, I feel very blessed to have readers like you, who buy my books, and see value in my work.
As an artist, I am very satisfied to be able to create portraits that bring me joy. (You can check out my work here).
As you go through your forties, you become more and more certain about things you want and do not want in your life which includes friendships. I find that I do not have time for fake, arrogant or rude people. I now have the wisdom and judgement to see through people, and I can spot insincerity a mile away. I am no longer surprised by how selfish most are. I step aside from the ones that drain me or want to use me. I wish them well, and I focus on what gives me joy.
Just before the pandemic started, one of the things that I’d decided was that I wanted to have a body, that I was proud of. In February 2020, I’d joined a gym. I started weight-training for the very first time. No sooner had I learnt the basics, we went into lockdown, in March, the same year. I decided to continue training at home. It was hard to procure the weights (it was out of stock everywhere!). So, I worked out with the dumbbells that I already had. After a few months of desperately trying, I was delighted when we did manage to get barbells and weight plates and a training bench too which my son and I assembled.
I pushed myself to work out at home, and stayed consistent even though it was very hard. I gave up alcohol completely because I felt my body didn’t need it. I tried to eat healthy most of the time. I now had a new goal---that I wanted to be the fittest I’ve ever been, by the time I turn fifty. I am proud (and happy) that I’ve achieved that as well:
These are pics after my workout yesterday.
The thing about life is that time doesn’t stop for anyone. We all age. We’re all growing older by the minute. But it is what you do every moment and every day that matters. The small moments all add up and make an hour; the hours make a day, the days turn into weeks and before you realize, the years have gone by!
At fifty, I’m grateful for many things—including my grey hair! I no longer care about ‘looking young’. I am simply grateful I’ve lived to see this day---a privilege denied to many.
Make today count. You might have heard this many times. But when you’re fifty, you know for a fact that this cliché is what makes life worth living.