Monday, June 2, 2014

Put life back into your years

When the years slip out of your life, it's time to put life back into your years, by making the best and the most of what is left. And the only way to make your remaining years truly count is to start living now. In other words, as has been famously said, live today as if there is going to be no tomorrow. Forty is the middle ground and a good benchmark to shed the old you and start anew.

If you are not forty yet, chances are you won’t notice the years breezing past. If you are over forty, chances are you will be reasonably obsessed with your balance years. This is why it is probably said life begins at forty. It is that mid-stage of life when you suddenly become aware of lost years, of time gone by, of growing old, and of the fact that there is no turning the clock back. You look over your shoulder and wonder where, at least, the last twenty years went and what you did with them. What have I been doing all these years? Did I waste all that time? Did I achieve anything significant? Where can I go from here? In fact, self-inquiry will be your starting point as you enter the fourth and the most decisive decade of your life.

Once you are forty and over you will also develop a philosophical view of life from which will spring your desire to start living your life as you were really meant to live it. There will be little place for frivolities.

What can you do to enrich your life and accomplish more than you ever have in the past? Plenty. However, before you get down to the nitty-gritty of living wisely, meaningfully, and productively, you need to do something else first—go back to the basics. You need to recondition your negative personality—your thoughts, energies, feelings, and emotions—into positive ones. Start with a clear conscience. Make a clean break from your self-centered past. For, without some form of inner cleansing, you will achieve little.

First and foremost, get over your past. Let go of the bad times, the barriers, and the bitterness. Cherish only the happy moments and memories. You’ll be surprised how many there have been.

Have no regrets over yours or someone else’s past actions and mistakes. What is done is done. The more you brood over it, the more you alone will be unhappy. You cannot put spilt milk back into the pitcher; all you can do is wipe the floor clean and have a fresh glass of milk.

Your past and your regrets are like excess baggage. There should be no room for them in your life. Offload them before they weigh you down more than they already have. Imagine what would happen if airlines did not restrict passengers to a maximum of 15 to 20 kg of luggage—planes might never take off. Neither will you.

Learn to forgive those who have harmed you. As Gandhi said, “Forgiveness is not the attribute of the weak. It is the attribute of the strong and the brave.” It takes a great deal of courage and compassion to forgive someone. It is also one of life’s great ironies that your own peace and happiness lies in your capacity to forgive others.

Life would be stale without laughter in our lives. Whoever said, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; cry, and you cry alone,” was a wise person, speaking no doubt from personal experience. As was Charlie Chaplin when he observed, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Doctors admit that laughter has potential health benefits and nowhere more so than in our mental well-being. When you laugh it puts you and everyone around you in a good mood, which conversely, makes you and everyone else laugh more. It’s also a prescription-less antidote for our fears, worries, and anxieties.

Finally, the one thing that will help you make a smooth and peaceful transition through the second half of your life is an abundance of faith and prayer, which is the sum total of all the reconditioning you put yourself through. If you haven’t taken recourse to it, then it’s imperative that you do. When everything else fails, it’s only your faith and prayer that will see you through your trials and tribulations. Wear this life jacket and you will be able to swim through the most turbulent sea without fear of drowning.

To recap, the five key things that will enable you to live your life to the fullest, in your forties and beyond, are: one, getting over your past and not worrying too much about the future, which essentially means living in the present; two, having no regrets or recriminations and starting with a clean slate; three, a capacity to forgive, and forget if possible, and letting bygones be bygones; four, laughing more and weeping less; and five, an abiding faith in the power of prayer. Do this and the good life will be your biggest reward ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment