After 40, every once in a while we look back at our life---what we've gained, how we've changed, what we've done, what we didn't…what we could've done, what we should have done…We assess, we summarize, and often we walk down the memory lane…We correlate the results and consequences with their causes and reasons. We see the fruits of the seeds we had sown years, decades ago. And more and more we see the presence of God in everything. More and more we see only one set of footprints instead of two. We see our past frailties we never knew existed. We see our ego, our weaker moments, our lack of courage. We see our mistakes---un-curtained and unearthed. And we see the goodness we experienced, the happiness we felt, the kindness we received. In balance, we confess to ourselves what we shouldn't have done, what we could have avoided…The moments we could have kept silent, the times we could have exercised restraint, the hearts we could have healed, the instants we could have listened… the hurts we could not have given, the losses we could have avoided; some pain we could have shared…Our acts of commission and omission…We see our balance-sheet---as much as we want to---with as much courage and honesty as we decide to. We look at the mirror after a long, long time: Sometimes with shock, sometimes with surprise; sometimes with pride, sometimes with pain. And we see ourselves naked. We start believing that nothing happens without a reason…that we don't meet anybody without debt-bonds. We discover that we must have lived many, many lives before…We remember the promises we made…and that we have to pay debts, play roles, cut karma, make our peace. We reconcile. We want to go back and change things if we can. But we know we can't…We reconcile. And we remember our First Promise.

And then we look at youngsters who are 20 and 25 today. We identify with them. We relive in them. We see only us in them. And we don't judge them anymore. They begin where we end. Because they are us. Some more than others…We see love where we didn't see love before. We see truth where we didn't see truth before. And we see God where we didn't see God before…We reconcile.

We can again hear the music in the air. We can again see the beauty in nature. We can again taste the joy in living. And we can smell and touch the sensations we'd long left behind…

This is what happens when the heart opens up: We become aware. We see someone in love and we remember all the times we were in love. And we are in love all over again: We become spontaneous. We suddenly remember love taught us so much. Only in love, anger came up, fear came up, weaknesses came up. And beauty came up, courage came up, joy came up. We become intimate.

And again, when we look at youngsters, making the same mistakes we made, our faith is reassured. We know then that there is hope, there is life. That we will live in them. We want to stop them, correct them, warn them, but then we stop ourselves…We realize what God must have gone through…When we look back, we realize how much freedom He gave us; how far and for how long He let us go…All the times that He was around… guiding us, lifting us…leaving only one set of footprints…How he never gave up on us…And tears of gratitude well up and overflow…In that one moment of orgasm, we know we just have to be there for our children. We just have to be. We can only remind and share. We have to wait, as God waits. And in that one moment we also know what it is to be God. And only one prayer comes to mind then:

  Ab na bani to phir na banegi

   Nara tana baar baar nahi miltaa


(Essence...It's now or never, human birth is rare)

We become alive…

…and our real journey begins…

Therefore, perhaps, life begins at 40…

"If one judges love by the majority of its effects, it is more like hatred than like friendship"