You know you are getting older when...

You can still sing the jingle to ‘washing powder Nirma’.

‘The World This Week’ told you more news in an hour than half a dozen news channels do in a week today.

Breakdance was ‘the’ dance of the century, whether you could do it or not.

You thought everything in the world would crash when the year 2000 came along.

Atari was a state of the art video game.

Neon, fluorescent colours were ‘in’ (and secretly still are).

You remember when David Hasselholf had a talking black car with attitude.
The ‘A-Team’ and ‘Street Hawk’ monologues are still there at the back of your head.

Brand new geometry boxes were cool accessories in Math class.

You did a ‘FLAME’ test to check if you were best friends with somebody.

Every home you went to had at least one Godrej cupboard with the family heirloom locked safely away.

Nutties and Hajmola candy rubbed shoulders on the kitchen shelf.

Goldspot was the zing thing.

You remember when ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ and ‘Shikari Shambu’ took over from ‘Sputnik’.

From new year’s resolutions to birthday resolutions, there’s always some underlying reason behind why the average person goes on a quick spree of doing things out of the ordinary at a milestone. There’s always a tattoo to get, salsa to be learnt, gym routine to begin and more before you’re even 30. And all of a sudden you wake up, and before you can say ‘zootopia’, you find children calling you ‘aunty or uncle’ in an elevator and people offering to read the price tag for you at the supermarket because your reading glasses were left at home. Welcome to the 40s.

If there ever is a tricky number, 40 it is. From Ali Baba’s 40 thieves to the 40 squares on a monopoly board or 40 days of fasting and basically even 40 winks, 40 is literally everywhere. To make matters worse, 40°F is actually equal to 40°C.

It’s generally a pattern if you go through the whole evolution study of how we finally grow up. It begins with the troublesome twos to frustrating teenage years when you’re not sure whom you’re fighting. Move on to the 20s when you wonder where you’re headed professionally or the 30s when you’re not sure you’re doing the right thing at the right time. All of a sudden, you’ve hit the 40s — which surprisingly, tend to come as a bit of a welcome relief. To a certain extent, you’re fairly settled personally, have a fair idea of where you’re headed professionally, and if it weren’t for those reading glasses, you’d still feel 22. Quite logically, you’re technically still 22 with 18 years of experience.

Happiness quotient

A study by the University of Alberta researchers, conducted over 25 years, concluded last year to the fact that contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t really stall at midlife, but instead has an upward trajectory. “People are happier in their early 40s than they were at age 18. The rise in happiness between the teens and early 40s is not consistent with a mid-life crisis,” according to a paper initially published online in Developmental Psychology.

Arun Edward, senior manager in an ITES firm, talks of how turning 40 hasn’t really changed how he feels, but could change the world’s perception of him. “It’s funny how I still feel the same, and still enjoy the same things I did 10 years ago, but suddenly I have children in the neighbourhood who call me uncle and a lot more grey hair than I know about.”

Pitbull, among other interesting celebrities, put it rather nicely — “40 is the new 30”. There’s nothing really stopping those of us hitting the other side of middle age from living it up. Bucket lists be damned, there’s a lot more to be done before you write that bucket list down in two decade’s time.

Here, instead, are four pointers that help declutter the wardrobe of your mind now that you’ve spent all those years on planet earth:

Find a passion: Get moving. You’re finally old enough to do something, or nothing — your choice. You don’t really need permission to do anything anymore. Whether it’s a hike to Spiti or bungee jumping, if you want to do it, go for it. Face those fears, conquer those mountains and get moving. Samuel L Jackson was actually 46 when he got to share that Big Kahuna Burger for breakfast in Pulp Fiction. So, if you want to take up professional Latino dancing tomorrow, go for it! You never know how famous you’ll get two decades on.

Respect your decisions: You are your best answer, and there’s mighty little you don’t know. Not to say you know the answers to everything, but it helps to have a smart phone here. There’s no conversation you cannot join or contribute to. Life has actually taught you enough to make you an authority of sorts on practically all trades. Stop searching for advice in the wrong quarters; what you decide is your final and best answer to every question. You can choose to dole out advice, having actually been there done that, or not if you don’t want to interfere.

Stay true to yourself: Know that it doesn’t take a village: Trim your friend list. You can finally cross the thin line between whom you want to talk to and those you don’t. There’s a difference between a friend and an acquaintance, and you finally no longer need to stay with people who don’t make you feel happy after you’ve met them. Your age gives you the excuse to stop staying in touch with people who don’t contribute positively, and wisdom should tell you when it’s time to cut some people loose.

Prioritise everything: From the minute you wake up, prioritise. If you want that fancy corner office, don’t leave early because it’s raining. If you’d rather spend time with the kids, don’t waste time texting someone on your phone while they wait for your attention. Shut down your laptop over the weekend and make time for yourself. Do things you enjoy. Travel, read, or just stop and do nothing. Your option, your dream.

Learn an instrument, sponsor a child, dance in the rain, stay home from work, write a letter or two; there’s so much more to be accomplished before you reach the end of the road. Besides, quite frankly, the best part about getting older is that we did all our crazy stuff before social media took over the Internet. And ain’t that something we can sleep easy about today!