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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Midlife Enlivens Life!

In younger years one leads a life as good as his parents can give him. In old age one lives as comfortable a life as his children contribute to it. But it is the middle age that one makes or breaks by himself. For most men, midlife is a time of achievement and satisfaction. For many others, however, the passage is not at all smooth - children leaving home, caring for both parents and children. Middle age is that point in our life when we shift from seeing the future in terms of our potential and begin to see it in terms of our limitations. It's a shift that's so slow, so incremental, that we don't even notice it on a day-to-day basis. But we start at one end and end up at the other. It doesn't happen overnight.

Middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. This is usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 40 and 60. This is a period of dramatic self-doubt that is felt by some individuals as a result of sensing the passing of their own youth and the imminence of their old age. Sometimes, a crisis can be triggered by transitions experienced in these years, such as the death of parents or other causes of grief, realizing that a job or career is hated but not knowing how else to earn an equivalent living, or children leaving home. The result may be a desire to make significant changes in core aspects of day-to-day life or situation, such as in career, work-life balance or physical appearance. Some studies indicate that some cultures may be more sensitive to this phenomenon than others. One study found that there is little evidence that people undergo midlife crises in Japanese and Indian cultures, primarily because of parental or family backing during the period of difficulties. Sincere and strong spousal support makes it much easier to overcome any midlife crisis. Here I must thank God for being one who had it in abundance from my wonderful wife.

Career change is the most common concern that may trigger midlife crisis. Often it's not choosing the specific new career that's the real problem; it's how to approach it when you're middle-aged with limited time and money. No one likes to make an expensive mistake. It could relate to someone who feels "burnt out" or "stuck" in his or her career, isn't interested in starting a business, but wants to find a different career. It can be a very challenging time. What we thought we knew, we no longer know. What we thought was important no longer seems to be. It can be a tumultuous and confusing time! You think back and consider your experiences over the years. Thinking of old skills, I wonder if I can write a memo without a word processor, or do arithmetic without a calculator, or find a location on a map without a mapping program? Can I deliver capabilities ensuring quality results without these gadgets which were not yet invented in our younger years. If you started out doing things the old ways and managed to learn the new ways, you’re equipped to make more changes that will enable you to map your future career path. If you’re middle-aged, you should recognize quality is not a destination but a step along the road. Be prepared for your career to be in transition. Consider moving up or moving out. If your first 15 to 20 years of work provided learning opportunities, it may be time to consider your options. It might be time for you to move into marketing, teaching, accounting, knowledge and asset management, or even executive leadership. Successful quality specialists frequently move to positions running operations and making key decisions. You are in a position to build alternative futures based on knowledge of what works. Assess your current position and career history. Your life experiences stretch your knowledge base beyond current employment. Focus your thinking on yourself and your capabilities, interests and desires.

The attitudes of the middle-aged are important when you consider that the people of this age group are most often found in positions of influence and decision making. The middle generation of adults tends to carry the burden of concern for the policies, programs and progress. In addition, the middle-aged wield a great deal of influence as the norm-bearers who help form the attitudes of the young. Midlife is far more than a handful of experiences and physical changes. It often brings a re-ordering of priorities, a change in values, deep soul-searching about the meaning of life, and facing of our own mortality. Every man, roughly between ages forty and sixty, begins to notice both physical and psychological changes. Some adapt to the changes reasonably well, and accept them as part of aging. Others find the changes very distressing.

"Midway on our life's journey, I found myself
In a dark woods, the right road lost. To tell
About those woods is hard - so tangled and rough..."
- Dante - The Inferno

"Wholly unprepared, we embark upon the second half of life... we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve as before. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life's morning - for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie."
Carl Jung

At midlife, many people try to “make right” what they perceive to be wrong in their lives. It is the time of “correction” before they’re too old to have a choice, too old to care. It is a journey sometimes called a “midlife transition” but more often incorrectly referred to as a “midlife crisis. In a nutshell, a normal development in life span that is essentially positive, midlife enlivens life.