The dreaded 60 has come and gone. Why has this number bothered me all my life? How do I feel now?
I sense a feeling of relief and increased financial security. Relief that I need not engage in a rat race called career, trying to convince someone that I have something useful to offer, and therefore they should keep me in my job. It turned out that I have often exceeded their expectations, and therefore promoted within the organisations I served. The sense of financial security comes from the fact that I have met most of the expenses without accumulating debts, and I am now entitled to a pension. I could call on it when I need it. Furthermore, I do not have a long time to liveJ.
The past sixty years were not necessarily a bed of roses. I had my ups and down. Overall, however, I have had good education, good family, good friends and good jobs. I was able to travel and witness some of the best and worst during my career. Many had been supportive of me during this journey, but two stand out. One was my mother who prayed for me ceaselessly, and the second is my wife, who supported me unreservedly.
As a kid, I always thought, sixty is when one gets old. I have read about Shashtiabdapoorthi, a Hindu tradition of celebrating 60th birthday. As per the Hindu culture, the age sixty is of great significance because it is considered as a turning point in a man's life. At this age one has usually fulfilled his commitments to family and home and so he can turn his mind to spirituality. In my case, my family commitments aren’t fulfilled, so I am not entitled for Shashtiabdapoorthi.
For many years, I wanted to retire at 55, although my grandfather drove his lorry till he turned 65. I wasn’t planning to idle at home, but thought I should become a writer, write stories for children. I am not sure how good I would have been as a children story writer, but, I am sure I would not have made enough money for the needs of my family.
Until very recently, just recent as three years ago, I was mentally prepared for retirement at 60. But, it changed, and my desire to continuously be employed as long as I could be, is reinforced after my resettlement in Australia a few months ago. Reading and following the debate about the expenses associated with aged care in Australia, and the propensity for us to live longer, I am now mindful about being healthy, and wanting to be employed longer.
But, there’s another reason, a stronger one wanting me to be active longer – my daughters. Both remind me that I am sixty (not sixteen as I claim when they are around). I hold their hands when they need me, and their successes – small and big, and their mischiefs brighten my life. These girls are full of joy, thank God. My kids will be schooling for another ten years, and schooling is expensive everywhere these days!
Anyone who looked at my palm or my horoscope has said that I will have a long life, but, none said a number higher than 84. Most stopped at 80, a few also mentioned 82. I think I will be happy with 80, but I may change my mind and may want to live longer. This is of course, if I stay healthy till 80. I hope I do, I want to get a few things done, witness a few more, and enjoy everything else this world has to offer. It’s a wonderful world.
So, the next number I am looking for is 70, to retire, and then will look forward to 80.