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Are You Phobic About Turning 40? Here's Some Reassurance

18/12/2016 11:30 PM IST | Updated 28/12/2016 3:23 PM IST
mattjeacock

What's with people about to hit the mark of 40 years acting as if they are going over the hill? That leaves us, in the middle of our 40s, bang in their graves. It's annoying since they seem to be totally unmindful of the way they are rubbing it in, especially since some of us are not feeling the heat yet, or at least trying to be cool about it.

The first few times I heard people lament the big 4-0, it freaked me out because I felt I had missed the anxiety bus which that might have prompted me to take some action against the impending doom. Being smug never helped anyone—you need to worry a bit to fight it. That probably was the strategy of these young people stressing themselves about getting older. While some had started on anti-ageing programmes and special exercise regimes early in their life, I had sleep walked into middle age without arming myself with the requisite arsenal.

I realised I had very little to lose after traipsing into my 40s. Both the body and the mind had already taken enough beating.

I had skimmed through the skin- and hair-care routines magazines dished out for those on the anvil of 40s as if they were for someone else—like you do when you come across precautions against some deathly ailment. Gauging from the reaction of my younger counterparts, it seemed ageing was a dreaded disease I was not aware of.

Obviously, I was caught in a time warp. Juggling two children, home, a bit of work and a few hobbies, I had not realised when I had slipped into the deadly zone. Until the numerals spelled it loud and clear.

But it's never too late to check if the clock can be reversed a bit, right? So, I decided to take a hard look at factors that implied age.

Grey hair

Owing to a genetic blessing, that didn't seem like a big problem, though at the rate my hair had been falling, it looked like soon there wouldn't be any left to turn grey. Premature greying or hair fall are now a universal problem cutting across age and I think soon we should have a hair transplant scheme along the lines of a pension fund. Unless, we become bold enough to think bald is beautiful.

Fine lines

My facial skin is so riddled with craters left behind by a teenage (and beyond) pimple problem that so far the wrinkles are almost hidden. In fact, it's only in the 40s that the pimples ceased to bother me. So, it appears, sometimes things get better with age.

Weight gain

It's no longer an age-related issue, just a lifestyle one. So, a few inches here and there don't add up to the number. As someone living with migraine, I was forced to adopt healthy eating habits which keep me in good stead where weight is concerned. So, I philosophise, a bigger problem can sometimes mitigate the effects of a smaller one.

Faltering memory

In this digital era, it seems only the gadgets have memory. In any case, memory too doesn't seem to be an old-age problem. When I ask my kids why they haven't done a certain task assigned to them, they come up with, ''Oh, I forgot!" Worse still, when I tell the daughter to remember a phone number for me, she has the audacity to shoot back, "I'm not your memory card, Amma!" In a similar situation, her copy-cat younger brother put us in splits with this remark: "I'm not your 'remembery' card!"

Joint pain

The 40s may be a bit too early for this, but I developed a knee problem as early as my 30s when I put my infant daughter in the pram and took walks to knock off the pregnancy pounds. It put a strain on the knee cap as I was not taking enough calcium.

In the final analysis, being older only means you have lived more, loved more and have been loved more.

So I realised I had very little to lose after traipsing into my 40s. Both the body and the mind had already taken enough beating. Fact was, having tasted success early in life, my younger counterparts had everything going for them. The only setback was "age" looming large over their bright horizon.

I'm not the type to offer unsolicited advice, but at this stage in life, there's an urge to share my experience— an indication, perhaps, that I'm indeed growing older. I want to say that it's not all that bad. Just make sure you're surrounded by kids or pets. In the final analysis, being older only means you have lived more, loved more and have been loved more.

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