13 November 2008

Life Recharges at 40

Running alongside stress there is often his stable-mate, depression. You begin to have doubts about your capabilities, become forgetful at work, and hesistant. And you begin to feel you have missed your chances in life. Get rid of that idea.

There is much you can do in the years before you. Women, like wine, mature with age. They are often more interesting to men after 39. And the same can be said for men. Broaden your range of interests. Mixing with younger people can help. And take your stride. They are useful as a day for taking stock in your life; for thinking about what you have done and where you are going. Break new ground. Get enthusiastic for new venture if you can. It will prevent the years from catching up with you too soon.

Leading a full life certainly helps. In her 40s Helene Rubenstein built up a beauty business and at 90 wrote in her memoirs: "Work has been my beauty treatment. It keeps wrinkles out of the mind and the spirit. It helps to keep a woman young." Sophia Loren, one of the world's most beautiful women, came to her 50th birthday with a feeling of surprise. Rich and famous. she need never work again, but that is not what she has in mind at all. She wants new roles, fresh challenges. "My ambition," she says, "is to keep alive the same drive that has allowed me to achieve most of the goals of my life. At my age I still expect bigger opportunities than the ones I've had."

Work can keep us young. But work can also kill. Today more and more people in their 20s and 30s and 40s are realizing the real cost of getting to the top in this highly competitive world. "The cost of anything is the amount of what I call life, which is required to be exchanged for it immediately or in the long run, " was how Dale Carnegie once put in. Or to put it another way, we are fools to pay more for a thing in terms of what it takes out to our lives and our health than it is really worth.

Some people can get all wrapped up in a job and are convinced that their work is the most interesting thing in the world. Fair enough. It will be good for them. But others seem to be driven on without heeding the cost. For them, work is not a labor of love but a worrisome ordeal, day after day as ambition pushes them onwards towards the celestial city called " Success" without allowing them time to ponder the question: "Is it worthwhile?" they risk ulcers, mental breakdown, heart failure. Yet the goal of ambition urges them on, often to disaster.

So, at 40, we are faced with the dilemma that work can keep us young and yet that it can kill us. What are we to do?

We must pause. At 39 we have reached the halfway stage of life. The years ahead are precious. It would be a pity to waste them. There is only one thing we can do. Take a long look at all the possibilities. Strip off the blinkers and look at what we might be missing. And if we find that work is becoming a health hazard decide it is time to put a sign on the door: "GONE FISHING"

It's all a matter of choice: yours! In the years ahead whether you stay young or not will depend on what you decide. It will mean balancing work with play, activity with relaxation, exercise with rest, and stress with serenity.

This is your life: play it your way. it is no dress rehearsal. One day, when you reach a great age, the oft-repeated question might be put to you: "What would you do if you had it all to do again?" What will you say then? Will you be echoing Colette's words: "What a wonderful like I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Or maybe the ironic wit of Eubie Blake, the ragtime pianist who, on his 100th birthday said: "If I'd known I was going to live this long I'd have taken better care of myself."

It's up to you. Good luck!




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