For someone on the threshold of the final decade of productive existence on this planet, it is time to reflect whether or not to perform a final waltz before fading away into the sunset.
What are the options for any sixty-year-old professional in possession of limited skills than his area of expertise?
- Capitalize on all the time and efforts put in these past few decades in reaching his position, take on a leadership role and mentor the younger generation.
- Take a step back, spend time with family & friends; travel and indulge in hobbies that one is passionate about, even while continuing with the chosen career.
- Take on a completely new and unchartered path, not knowing where it could lead to; but one that is full of excitement, promise and uncertainty.
The first naturally is the obvious one, especially for someone in the medical profession. Age and experience provides a degree of validity to professional opinion and judgement and irrespective of whether one is in sync or not with all the latest gadgets/developments, decades in the field are often cited (by others sometimes, by you often) to be of great value. You are no longer in the rat-race to succeed – you already have or you haven’t. Best of all, you have the added benefit of further contributing to the bulging kitty of your retirement fund. The only downside is that you no longer feel challenged, the excitement is missing and you generally have a feeling of…been there, done that!
The second is the path in-between. Having worked hard, you fully deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labour and your success. This being probably the last decade when you are still in full control of your body and mind, it may be time to start ticking off your bucket list one-by-one; the farmhouse you wanted, that Scandinavian cruise you wished to take with your spouse and the best-seller you always dreamed about. At the same time, you are not being disloyal to your chosen profession, the one that has given you so much. Your family too cannot complain that you are emptying your pension fund to fulfil your desires.
The last is the scariest…to the others! It debunks whatever family, society and upbringing have been reiterating – old people should behave like old people. They should be responsible and respectable; become a source of strength to the spouse, support to the children and a joy to their grand-children. To follow this less trodden path, first of all, one has to truly believe that age is just a number. It could be anything as exotic as training to become a mountaineer and climbing Everest, spending a year with natives in the rain-forests of the Amazon and as ordinary as a farmer growing vegetables in a remote village or teaching underprivileged street urchins at a city’s slum.
Whatever the choice, it should be the one that provides joy, that feeling of fulfilment and a warm glow in the sunset of your life.
‘The chosen path…’
…In the next blog’. A FINAL WALTZ
*Eudaimonia (n Greek) is defined as “The good composed of all goods; an ability which suffices for living well; perfection in respect of virtue, resources sufficient for a living creature.”
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