Resolving my midlife crisis

What if I was just suffering from what psychologists would term as the ‘midlife crisis’, I mused.

It dawned on me that real vitality and enthusiasm to life is determined not by our circumstances, but by our attitude towards them.

I had gone to bed unenthusiastic about waking up the next morning. So, when the alarm buzzed, I opened my eyes feeling groggy and gloomy. I had been under the spell of this listless feeling of late. But when it persisted, my friends advised a visit to the psychiatrist.

Yet, considering that there were no major setbacks in my life, I tried to pin the problem. What if I was just suffering from what psychologists would term as the ‘midlife crisis’, I mused.  

Just then, as if to distract me from my thoughts, my phone pinged. It was a text message from my aunt overseas reminding me to hand over the cheque she had drawn in favour of an orphanage. It was the annual donation she made towards the missionary work of the nuns who ran the orphanage.

The reminder nudged me to push my present boredom aside and soon, I was on my way to the orphanage to hand over the donation.  Even as I was manoeuvring through the morning rush-hour traffic, my mind hovered around the question of whether I needed psychiatric help or a fresh perspective to tide over what seemed like a midlife crisis. Driving with this dilemma, I shortly reached the orphanage.

A cordial and cheerful nun greeted me at the office. She was grateful for the donation and immediately wrote out a receipt. Handing it, she invited me to the wing that housed the children, most of whom were physically or mentally challenged.  

She informed me that they had all been picked up in an abandoned state from the streets. The sisters in-charge, along with some teachers from an NGO, kept the children engaged in classes ranging from rhymes to mathematics and colouring.

The vibe was happy and vibrant, similar to any environment with children from more fortunate backgrounds. I spent some time soaking up the energy of the place. But it was not until I returned home and had some quiet time to go over in my mind the visit to the orphanage that some startling truths hit me.

It dawned on me that real vitality and enthusiasm to life is determined not by our circumstances, but by our attitude towards them.

I further fathomed that passion for life does not come from going after the grand events of life; but it can be unearthed from the innumerable, little daily happenings of life. I figured that eagerness and exuberance to life are not derived feelings; rather, it is a way of life that has to be consciously mastered and practised.  

With this realisation I understood why those unfortunate kids, the selfless nuns and the honorable teachers, exuded such vigour despite the discouraging circumstances. I also understood the nobility behind those like my aunt, who though not affluent themselves, choose to donate portions of their hard-earned earnings for the welfare of the downtrodden. Such people, I reckoned, are more alive than the others and were, in fact, weather-proofing themselves from any actual or impending midlife crisis.

Gradually, these startling revelations helped me resolve the midlife crisis that plagued me. And yes, though I head to the orphanage whenever I sense a nagging listlessness to the day, I am certain I don’t need any visits to the psychiatrist as I was advised!    

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