Mid-Life Cri­sis?

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

THERE IS some­thing to be said about mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism. For one thing, it al­lows me to cel­e­brate New Year thrice ev­ery year. There’s the reg­u­lar New Year on the 1st of Jan­uary, when I party along with the rest of the world. There’s the Baisakhi New Year in April that I get to en­joy be­cause I was born into a Pun­jabi family. And now, there’s also Di­wali, which is cel­e­brated as New Year by Gu­jaratis, a com­mu­nity I be­long to by mar­riage.

This Di­wali, though, as I did my puja, pray­ing to Ma Lak­shmi for pros­per­ity, I re­alised with a start that I have more New Years be­hind me than I have New Years to look for­ward to. With­out even re­al­is­ing it, I have tipped be­yond the half­way point in my life. And from now on, I’m go­ing to be count­ing down rather than adding up.

No, it’s not that bad; but this may be the time to ring in some changes

and the beaches of Croa­tia when I need to stop and catch my breath ev­ery 10 min­utes.

Sit right down on my desk and write that book. No more pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. No more end­less re­vi­sion of chap­ters that I have writ­ten al­ready. No more dis­place­ment ac­tiv­ity mas­querad­ing as ‘re­search’. No more end­less trawl­ing of the In­ter­net. No more ex­cuses about lack of time or mind-space. It is time to sprint to the fin­ish line. And when I’m done with the book I’m cur­rently work­ing on, it will be time to pick right up where I left off the novel I aban­doned three quar­ters of the way through.

Prune that read­ing list. Reluc­tantly, I have come to the con­clu­sion that I no longer have the time to waste on air­port best­sellers and other junk reads. From now on, I will only in­vest time in au­thors whom I love and books that show po­ten­tial. And no more feel­ing like a fail­ure be­cause I can’t fin­ish a book – if that is a fail­ing, then it is the au­thor’s, not mine. (Also, if I in­tend to re-read the clas­sics that I last stud­ied in col­lege – just to see if they speak dif­fer­ently to me – then I need to get on with it. M id­dle­march awaits…)

No to end­less so­cial­is­ing with peo­ple I don’t even par­tic­u­larly care for. No to large par­ties where no con­ver­sa­tion is pos­si­ble (mostly be­cause you have noth­ing to say to fel­low guests). Yes to small din­ner par­ties with friends and prospec­tive friends, where we can ac­tu­ally hear our­selves talk and lis­ten to those speaking to us.

De­clut­ter my life – not just of things that no longer bring me joy but also of peo­ple who only bring me down. A ruth­less cull is in or­der, so that I can both sim­plify and sani­tise my life. By the end, I hope to be left with a pared-down ex­is­tence that al­lows me to ap­pre­ci­ate what I have rather than be­moan what I don’t.

No more tak­ing health and fit­ness for granted. From now on, sadly, it will be a slip­pery slope down­hill. And the only way to make a con­trolled glide down is to in­vest time and en­ergy in eat­ing well and ex­er­cis­ing right.

Ah no, you mis­un­der­stand. That doesn’t mean I am go­ing to sur­vive on sal­ads and soups and turn away from dessert. Life is too short to eat rab­bit food. Or to drink water rather than wine. But it will get shorter if I for­get that magic word: mod­er­a­tion. So, I’m go­ing to keep re­peat­ing it to my­self in the hope that it sticks even when that pesky mem­ory loss kicks in.

So, that is my magic for­mula for get­ting through the rest of my days. Read, write, travel, play. And yes, eat, drink and be merry…Well, you know how that one goes.

And a belated (or early) Happy New Year to you all, which­ever one you choose to cel­e­brate.

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