Human beings have tried since times immemorial to win over death and erase the advancing years from the face of time. To remain forever young has been singularly the strongest desire of the living...and among women it is perhaps the only aim in life! It is therefore not surprising to note that very few of my gender have learned the art of ageing gracefully. How shocked most women are when a twenty-plus shopkeeper calls them aunty, although we do keep a good track of our looks and stare into the mirror for as long and as often as possible.
I don't know how many women before me have done this, but surely I made an interesting discovery. And as is true of all other discoveries, this one also just fell in my lap while I was trying to figure out something else. I found out, quite contrary to my perception, that for a woman life actually begins to bloom after forty!
At about forty a woman enters the best phase of her life. She has by this time sorted out many of the difficult matters in life requiring attention and tactful solutions. She is through some of the toughest decision making moments and has come out triumphant, she has by this time worked honestly to put her marriage on a solid base, making adjustments and asserting herself as per the demands of the circumstances.
Almost two decades into a marriage, she is now a much contented person, as a serene sense of accomplishment dawns when she sees her hard work bringing in rewards. All through her earlier years she was living for someone...trying to be an obedient daughter, a dutiful wife, a caring mother, a submissive daughter-in-law...but now she can let her hair down and live for herself...she deserves it after all...and now she also has the time to spare for her own self.
So at her fortieth birthday every woman must ideally sit back and relax. Then chalk out a plan for the future to enjoy this beautiful phase to its fullest. A hobby that had to shelved can be revived, or a socially relevant cause can be taken up. Anything that would make her happy.
The sheer enthusiasm it brings is amazing. Now is the time when a woman can really pamper herself going to the movies, plays, concerts, visiting friends...or just window-shopping!
She can work to please herself doing things she always wanted to.
But of course this is not the end of her responsibilities. In fact she is now a friend, philosopher and guide to her children, and so her role, although a little different now, is still very pertinent. She has to help her children take sensible decisions in life giving them enough space to grow on their own.
She has to prepare herself to let go of her offsprings when they are ready to take on the responsibilities of life on their own.
After forty although many of her problems may seem ironed out, it is important that a woman pays attention to her specific needs. She must take good care of herself, excercise regularly and eat well keeping in mind the special requirements of her body at this transitional phase.
She must also once in a while go and see her doctor to keep fit and healthy. She must essentially prepare herself for grey hair and wrinkles of maturity, while being independent and happy and forever remaining an important member in the family and also an asset to the society.
So, calling all the fortunate forty plus females to take on the world with a renewed vigour as the best is yet to come...the glorious period in life has just begun...