Monday, October 18, 2004

The Winds of Providence

The Winds of Providence

Many of my middle-aged friends face what is popularly known as mid-life crisis. According to this article, people encounter a crisis as they realize their own mortality and they start experiencing a change in perspective from "time since birth" to "time left to live".

The article goes on to say that, "mid-life crisis is often thought to include: worries about the future, inability to enjoy leisure time, a feeling that health is deteriorating, a negative evaluation of the marital relationship, a negative evaluation of work life, and stress arising from taking care of the elderly."

When you are in your early twenties, with all the time in the world, and you've just got a job that pays a decent four-figure salary, you simply have no idea what mid-life crisis is all about. Then when you enter your thirties, you suddenly realise that your lifetime is depleting very fast, and you don't have anymore time to waste.

In a way, no one can be prepared for it. Somehow God architected things in such a way that you always need to learn your lessons in life through the recklessness of youth before you can gain the maturity of middle-age. A lot of the lessons in life have to be learnt the hard way.

Pain is a good teacher. Through pain and suffering, you chisel your soul into perfection. All pebbles on the riverbed were once sharp and jagged; but the river of time chips away at all the rough edges and make them as smooth as a baby's bottom.

When you are young, you hurl yourself headlong into idealistic pursuits, wild love affairs and reckless adventurism. You would often come to a certain threshold of pain before you realise that it's not worth pursuing anymore--the price you are paying is simply too high. You can call it disillusionment; or to look at it positively: you've finally acquired maturity.

Middle-age need not be a time of regret and reflection on how things might have been. It is actually a good age to start anew. I am always perplexed as to why people wait until New Year's Eve or their birthday to make fresh vows and new resolutions. Each day is as good as any other. Why shouldn't we celebrate each new day like it's our birthday? Everyday, every moment is a fresh start.

During the Asian Financial Crisis, one of the cliches you often hear is that the Chinese word for crisis is made up of two characters which mean "danger" and "opportunity". The time of crisis is also a time of opportunity.

Well I suppose you can choose to see mid-life as a time of opportunity too. You've already weathered the storm of youth. The ship has been proven to be sea-worthy. There are vast oceans out there with the promise of new lands to be explored. Time to unfurl your sails and catch the mighty winds of Providence!

No comments: