LIFE HAS JUST BEGUN AT 50!



A few months back, as I greeted her for the first time, she appeared composed and friendly. Malini sounded very sad over the phone when she had called to book an appointment with me. She had mentioned that she was feeling very low and at times felt that there is nothing to look forward to in life. Had I not received that call myself, I would not have believed that it was the same person I spoke to over the phone. Once we had exchanged pleasantries and settled, tears started welling up in Malini’s eyes. “Whom do I live for now? I am not needed anymore by my family”, she started sharing.

Malini had been a homemaker for 28 years. A working woman before getting married, she had chosen to quit working post marriage. She lovingly made her home and family her priority and ensured that her husband and in-laws were happy. Soon, they had two sons. Her husband being a neurosurgeon, was too busy to help with raising children or household chores. Malini always supervised her children’s performance at academics and extracurricular activities. She would personally cook for them and also drive them to school, classes and sports grounds. Her life revolved around her sons’ schedules. Before Malini realized, her parents in-law had passed on and sons grown up.

Presently, one of Malini’s sons is settled in the USA after graduating as an Engineer in India. Her husband is the head of department of Neurology in a renowned hospital in Pune and her younger son is in last year of MBBS. The day Malini had called me, she had a heated argument with her son and he told her to stop interfering in his life because she didn’t understand. She was very hurt and started crying as she recollected that day’s incident. Malini said that being in the same profession, her younger son would often discuss his future life plans with his father. She tried to show interest or participate in the discussion, but was often ignored by her son and at times, rudely asked to keep quiet. Her husband sometimes didn’t notice this and at times would try to correct their son, but clearly didn’t realize the impact all this was having on Malini.

Malini informed me that as she looked back at 28 years of her life, she wondered whether she had taken the right decision by making home and family her priority. She also felt that nobody needed her anymore and was approached or remembered only when someone needed something from her. In trying to fulfill her family’s wishes to keep them happy, she had forgotten what made her happy. She didn’t know where to pick up strings of her life from and what to do with all the time she was left with. She wondered why nobody thought about her and what made her happy all these years, even as she was busy taking care of them.
Unfortunately, there are many such Malinis in our society, who feel unappreciated and worthless, once their children grow up. Very few of them realize that with some help they can feel good again. My work with Malini started by showing her that she had a choice of either looking at her “nest” as empty and grieving over it or taking pride in the fact that like birds, she gave her children “wings and encouraged them to fly”. It is because she chose to care, support and encourage her sons to stay focused in life, that they are doing well in their respective lives. It is because of her that her sons have been able to take flight and soar high. Clearly, this was a very different way of looking at life from the one that Malini was used to. But, she liked the idea and I could see a glimmer of pride seep into her eyes.

Next few sessions were spent in getting Malini to realize that just as 28 years back, she was responsible for making a conscious choice of dedicating her time in caring for the family, she can today choose to be responsible for changing how she feels about life. It was time now, to make herself a priority too and introduce new purpose to her daily routine. Soon, she was able to identify some hobbies and dreams that she had not pursued earlier, due to time constraints. With some encouragement, she could start with some of those hobbies. Within a few days, Malini was able to initiate travel plans with a couple of her friends, for an all women’s holiday. She could now see herself as a group leader and her confidence started building up. Today, Malini continues to work on herself by making choices that can make her happy and is also learning to balance between taking care of her home and focusing on developing herself. It gave me a sense of immense pride and happiness when I received her message, today, that read, “Thank you Prerna for helping me see my potential. My day begins with the first two hours dedicated to myself with Yoga, a short walk and a cup of coffee, sitting in the balcony admiring nature. I have once again started learning Kathak, which was discontinued years back. Meeting friends once a week has become an exciting ritual for us. Lastly, what I find extremely satisfying is my volunteer work at an NGO for 3 hours daily. I look forward to waking up every morning and welcome the day. Life has just begun at 50 and I am loving it!”

*Disclaimer : This article is inspired by my case studies. All characters and events are entirely fictional.

19 thoughts on “LIFE HAS JUST BEGUN AT 50!”

  1. A change is perspective and having clarity about one’s identity brings out immense positive changes. Thank you for publishing such a beautiful article!

  2. GreatπŸ‘
    loved the way you inspired her to start afresh with new ideas, josh and umang and changing her negativity to life full of positivity.

  3. This completely resonates with me. Just today I spoke to my team that being a baker, or a mother, or an entrepreneur etc are just extensions of ourselves. As we play these roles very well we need to also ensure some me care and focus on ourselves too.

  4. Good one Prerna. Many women forget that there’s life beyond home and family….and that they also have a life of their own like the other family members.

  5. Lovely !
    Reflections made me realize this very thing at 40…πŸ‘πŸ»

    “You cannot pour from an empty cup “- Prerna something you said which has stayed with me.

  6. Yes, it is good Malini started thinking about her life & priorities. You helped her to do this. Congrats to both of u

  7. Very inspiring case study.. gives all of us food for thought to avoid this pitfall and start living our lives everyday..
    I especially liked the fact that you pointed out that her 28 years were not wasted but spent nurturing the birds and enabling them to fly..

  8. Most women go through this phase. It’s important to have ‘me’ time in our daily routine .
    A very inspiring case study which will help mothers to carry on with their hobbies/pursuits once the children are grown up.
    Thank you Prerna for inspiring others.

  9. πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘It’s the story of most of the homemakers, we focus so much on family that we hardly know ourselves. Very encouraging blog.

  10. Amazing blog.
    Age doesn’t matter. We keep learing daily from our experiences. Go with the flow and life must happily go on by getting involved in new activities which maks us happy and healthy.
    Thank you So much

  11. Thankyou Prerna, for sharing this article. We can relate to it. Always inspired by your expertise. Best thing is you always make us so comfortable, that as if we are talking to a friend.

  12. Very true,
    women always ignore themselves and give priority to their family. But it’s never late to realise and begin to climb new heights…
    Thank you Prerna ma’am
    I also learnt from you.

  13. Beautiful✨! Last year I had crossed 40 and from that time have decided that I have to make happy only one person and that is ME!! Rest all will get aligned with that…..
    In very inspiring way you had made Malini move ahead in her life….. This in turn going to help lot of women in society!! Keep inspiring

    1. Thanks for sharing this inspiring real life story. I believe there are many parents out there who will benefit from the way Malini handled the challenge and achieved happiness. We overlook to enjoy the fruits of our hard work and dedication by focussing on the hard times from the past and the story you shared is a perfect reminder to the parents of today to look at the brighter side of life.

      Stay blessed πŸ™πŸΌ

  14. Such an inspiring article with lessons galore to take away. Sacrifices parents and mums in particular make, to give without expectations of reciprocation, acceptance of phases of our lives and the changing priorities at different stages, to look for the positives in every situation. My favourite though has to be to remain filled within to quench others’ thirst, make time for your own happiness to spread joy around.

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