There are a lot of people, just like me, making pretty momentous changes in their lives. They are quitting their jobs, pondering what's next in their lives and questioning the status quo. Many books have been penned about starting a new lease on life in middle age. A good one is It's Never Too Late To Be What You Might Have Been given to me as a gift by my best friend, and I'm sure you have one or more you may already have picked up.
Just when I was starting to think that this was maybe just 21st century middle-aged angst, I read an article in a book called Younger By The Day by Victoria Moran, quoting Ayurvedic sages in India, who, almost three thousand years ago came up with a view of the normal life-span of a human as very different from the "three score years and ten" that many of us grew up with.
Moran notes that the sages ascertained that a normal life span was one hundred years, divisible into four sections - or seasons - of around twenty-five years. The first was for growth and education and the second for having and raising families. During the third season, people were to contribute their gifts and talents to the larger world, and in the fourth, devote themselves to spiritual study and meditative disciplines.
This struck home for me. It makes complete sense, especially now that it's a distinct possibility to make it to one hundred. As Moran continues:
"Getting used to the world and learning how things are done here takes you up to age twenty-five. Settling in and going for what you want from life goes to fifty. In the third season, fifty to seventy-five, you can start or continue the work that will constitute your legacy. While we've been told that this is the time for slowing down, it's the age at which people are most likely to lead corporations and nations, and when many artists and writers produce their best work. In the four-season paradigm, middle-age is earmarked for branching out and extending your influence as far as it will go."
This is encouraging as I enter the year in which I turn 50. The changes I've made aren't at all about slowing down, rather, about accelerating in a completely different direction. And you gotta love the new take on the third season of life: a new beginning, with your best work ahead of you.
Whatever season of life you may be in, see it for what it is, and enjoy where you are in the process.