Does Turning Forty Matter?
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Screech…as we hear a yellow garbage dumper truck break suddenly on the red light, throwing the grey smoke from behind on the windscreen of the black colour luxury SUV. The worried driver in his late thirties, running late to reach for his meeting, stops behind the muddy vehicle in time to avoid a collision. With his big fortieth birthday coming up next week, the preparation for the same has definitely been stressful, to make sure the event is up to the level of parties he has been attending in the last few months. He looks away from the grey smoke in a blur to see a guy in a black jacket and ripped jeans who looks like a cooler version of him in a red colour sports bike waiting for the signal to go green. Disoriented by what he sees, he gets into a thought of how this could be him and the circumstances that made him not be the carefree dude on the bike right now...
The Indian Society: The complex Indian societal pressures and expectation from men, being fed in as a superior race since childhood. But when they hit their mid-30's they realize they aren't and are definitely lagging behind in the emotional strength than their female counterparts. But being projected as superior from the start, they need to live up to the tag putting pressure on themselves to live up to the wrong notion. Accepting realities aren’t easy after so many years, leading to feeding the famous “male ego”.
The Desi Dad: Post-adolescence one of the most complex close relationship that a man share is with his father. More so, in India where the father-son relationship is usually a nervous one. The reason for this is that the kids who are born during the ’80s have seen so much change in their lifestyle and their general outlook towards life is very different from their dads, who have had a very guarded childhood. This is where the disconnect starts from, and then builds on. Jumping into a career that is expected to please and make your dad proud leads to further discontent later on.
The Fitness Regime: You have to be fit at 40 to fit in - hitting the gym is in vogue after hitting mid 30’s and you know what happens when you are working out or get into another fitness regime to get fit. Yes, you guessed it right, you talk a lot about it. Randomly trying to get into fitness in your late 30's makes you make a lot of noise around it with your peers. How regular you are at the gym to the special crash diets to the coolness of running half marathons. Being competitive sometimes makes things worse especially causing roadblocks like slip discs to major fatalities due to overexertion and crazy diet plans. At this peer group, consistent routine always works better than the intensity of the workout and secret code of healthy eating should be moderation and not restrictive diets. After all, fitness is not a race, it’s a journey you need to enjoy it.
The Economical Twists: A typical Indian man faces his economic realities post 30's, as till then a typical Indian man is staying with his larger family oblivious of economic realities of running your own house thanks to the non-nuclear family structures. All seems in control until they are hit by it like a bolt of lighting that they need to move away to a nuclear structure due to circumstances, which further gets intensified after having kids. The pressure to match up to the ease and standards set already makes one further postpone and de-risk the future plans to do things that they like.
The FOMO Effect: An average Indian male in their mid-’30s is driven by fear of regret and concern to miss an opportunity like one might have missed in their earlier days. Hence, social anxiety builds up that others might be having rewarding experiences than you from which one is absent. This leading to compulsive behaviour to be connected with what others are doing, even if it is just virtually on a social media platform and actually meaningless most times. Fear of Missing Out or “FOMO” is the fear of having made the wrong decision on how to spend your time. This fear is not just limited to a particular gender and explains how it has negative influences on people's psychological health and well-being because it could contribute to people's negative mood.
...jolted into reality from the car honking behind him, realizing that the traffic signal is green already. While, the carefree biker speeds away in front of him before he could know was it really the untroubled version of him on the bike or was it just his illusion of what he could’ve become if he had not dedicated these decades of his life to the balancing act and make himself fit into the race to have...What A “Fantastic” ...Forty!