We were middle class and I had to finance my studies right after my high school. I started teaching school kids and after completing my studies, I took teaching as my profession. My parents were very proud of me. Afterwards, there was no looking back, as I was a contributor at home. Later, my own family added. I had dreams for my own kids, too. So, I started teaching more than one places. But now, after 20 years, I am happy to see my kids finishing their high school through best educational institutes, but I realize an emptiness and sadness have perched inside me.
Actually, I never loved my work, though was happy with the money I earned. I feel I am wasting my real potential. I’m miserable to betray my business dreams as I was capable of doing much more than I did. Had I put all the effort in a business, I would have been much more satisfied. I knew, I had a real knack for it. Wish I had realized it earlier or had someone to tell me to pursue my real passion rather than pursuing what I had to. Wish I could go for business education rather than studying literature. Wish I had someone to turn to for my career counseling. But now, what can I do with my 3 kids, studying in the most expansive schools. Now, what choices I have, if I have any?” Told Arif.
“Hun, we could never stand each other. We are from two different planets; difference of family culture, class and brought up has failed us. Above all, these beatings and abuse are endless, I live in a hell? I should have got out of it right in the beginning. But how could I? My parents were poor, couldn’t support me or my kids and I was just high school graduate; weak, naïve and scared. I did everything I was asked and expected by my in-laws and husband like a puppet hoping one day they will acknowledge me, but even after 10 years, there is still no change. How can I drag a marriage like this?” Question rang in Amina’s mind again and again.
“Thank God, I have all the freedom to pursue my dreams, for my kids and for me. It was endless freedom that let me be a fashion designer even after I had kids. Today, I cherish my time with my best friends, my great kids. And, enjoy my financial independence. Life is purposeful but still am empty whenever I have some free moments with me. People look at us as a very ambitious family but we all have our separate lives. Everyone is absorbed in pursuing his or her own goals, which is good, but I can’t deny loneliness. Like any educated and civilized family, we try to be polite and kind to each other most of the time. But, still many times, I feel life has become very mechanical. I wish I and my husband would share something common and had time to enjoy it together. I long for warmth and love, but now it might be too late to admit and voice it.” Tears rolled down Fareeda’s eyes.
“Oh, how can I get out of it? Zunera is always on my mind. Kind, intellectual and my type. Whenever, we are together at our office, we feel the spark and chemistry. I feel livelier and alive again when she is around. I wish I had a wife like her, but at the time of my marriage I was very naïve; unaware of who I was and what kind of girl I wanted as my partner. My mom said, she was good and pretty, and I trusted her opinion. Gradually, I knew she wasn’t my type, but she was mom of my kids… A great mom and a fine housewife… Still I can’t share half of me with her as she can’t understand. We have no common hobbies, interests and professions. Now, when our kids are teenagers, I wanted her many times to get out of the four walls of the home to pursue a career or further education, or at least spend some time with me to learn something new and exotic from my list of interests. How nice it would be if we could share some professional ventures together. I want to do anything to help and support her but she is totally a different person, absorbed in her own life and its priorities. I and our relationship have never been her priority. She is not bad, but just too different and we are stuck in a boring and mechanical relationship. Now, what to do? Can I go for another marriage, when I have 2 daughters to rare and marry? But how can I lose Zunera? Don’t I have a right to be happy in this only life?” Aggression and bitterness grabbed Saim’s heart.
“I regret, I couldn’t enjoy my teens. We were not allowed to even laugh aloud at our home as it was out of civility. We were not allowed to wear fashionable outfits and bold colors. Neither, we were allowed to go for recreations, school trips and functions, friends’ meet ups, movies and any kind of fun. We were not allowed to be ourselves; rather we were supposed to comply to other’s expectations from us, until I didn’t know I also existed. But then I realized it was wrong. I also had some rights to live a life of my choice. As a result of my brought up, I couldn’t understand myself and possess clarity of mind and confidence in my moves. Now, life is a complete mess. I am sick of this life. I want to listen to inner ME. I want to know who I am? What exactly I want to do to be happy? As my new priorities, I want to spend time and money on me, pamper me with pursuing my interests and hobbies, and, do something to see my dreams coming alive.” Thought Zarmeen.
If you are 35 years old and above and going through one of similar kinds of phases, and want to make major changes to build a really fulfilling life for you, it means you are in midlife crisis. In fact, it is a time when we learn after a considerable experience of our life what exactly we want to have a fulfilling and meaningful life. Our maturity makes us review our lives to see how have we lived our lives so far? What have we achieved? Are we happy or not? Which way we want to spend our rest of life? What will be our new priorities? In this effort, sometimes we want to make major changes and settlements in our lives.
Unfortunately, our most of the midlife generation in Pakistan is going through it, and they are very unhappy about it, but they can’t understand it and voice it. Majority stays quiet bitterly but some of them rebels. Some go for drugs, bad temper, workholism, and extramarital affairs, unable to find a solution to their issues.
Unfortunately, people don’t know that once they understand the midlife crisis, they can sort it out. But, they have to take a positive approach towards it. There is nothing permanent in life. So, if they want to make desired changes, it’s not a crime. So, they should not feel guilty about it.
However, what they must do is to deal with the matter in a sensible and systematic (step-by-step) way, securing their and their dear one’s interests. As a first step, they will have to device a strategy, and, the transition might take a couple of years to be completed. If you get out of a profession, you should get all the information how to switch smoothly to it. You might have to go some extra miles to fulfill all the prerequisites like going for professional education and training. Similarly, if you need to discontinue a relationship, you have to secure your kids. It is something very hurting but communication between both the spouses, right plan to execute it together, and leaving each other in a friendly way is the only positive way. Husbands should leave some property or source of income to protect their kids along with their moms from coming under the open sky once they are gone.
When it comes to ladies, first they should acquire financial independence; they should be independent enough to take care of them and their kids financially. They need to get further education or training or start a career until they are self-sufficient before they decide to get out of a marriage.
Likewise, you want to focus on your personal growth, health or so, you will have to take an educated stance. Life is all about skills. You can do anything in a moral and legitimate manner provided you intend to do so and have acquired right skills to survive independently.