I had a dinner with the Regional Director of WHO. Nothing special, all new interns get to do this. During the dinner, the RD mentioned that I was the oldest intern he ever met. I wasn’t sure how to view that particular statement. Should I be ashamed of being old? Of course, I know the old saying ” you are never too old”. However, his comment did unsettle me.

Few days later, I had dinner with my boss and his wife. When I saw her name on the dinner invitation, I though it looked very familiar.

During the course of our dinner, I asked her if she was the person I am thinking of and she was surprised that I knew her name. About 20 years ago, I read few of the journal articles she had written. At that time, she was a pioneer in Virology. But her husband was working for WHO in Geneva and she was working somewhere else and the kids wanted to stay in Geneva. So she quit her job and never went back to work. A decision she regrets to this day.

I know my path ahead is not going to be smooth. I know I am old.. there is no denying that. But I also know, if I stop now, I will be in the exact same position as my boss’s wife in 20 years. I can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen.

So this is the march of the old woman.. and onwards I go…

9 thoughts on “Regrets!

  1. Age is no barrier.. RD was probably just making a passing comment.. they need to say something to each one you know.. Don’t take it to heart. You have only one life and you must live it the way you want. So you are correct.. no need to stop unless it is a deliberate decision. 🙂
    If your life expectancy is only 50 years, then you are old. If it is 90+ (which is very possible), then you are young.. still reaching for the half mark.
    One lady her in NY (malayali) got married at 16+, came to NY, gave up school, had a kid. Hubby was totally indifferent to her. When the daughter was 18+, he just left them. Paid for her school etc, but they got divorced. The daughter went on to become a law graduate. When the daughter went to school, this lady too went back to night school and then slowly took classes, graduated. Then wanted to go for medicine… did that too.. At 60 graduated and was a doing her residency..oldest one in her batch at all times. She is now a practicing doc. Age truly is no barrier.

    You go girl.. the sky is no longer the limit.

  2. You are never too old to do anything. We have to take inspiration from George HW Bush who still sky dives when he is touching the 90s. I fully believe that it is all in our head (how old or young we feel)

    • Goutham: there is a difference between doing something with your body.. such as sky diving.. and climbing the corporate ladder, where we already have a glass ceiling and my age is stacked against me, along with my gender, my ethnicity etc.

      • Just to give you another perspective – My dad was the ultimate optimist you would ever meet. It was really annoying growing up around some one that optimistic about everything but in hindsight I see how it helped to be so – He was stuck in a Railway job that he hated (He had to take it since he had support younger siblings at a very young age). He very much wanted to be a teacher and be in educational field. He did 2 masters in sociology and English Lit in his 40s and 50s and while he was working in his railway job he started a school and was in the management (that school has now blossomed into a secondary school and degree college). After his retirement he started teaching sociology and English lit at a local college – he did this into his late 70s in India. So I have the feeling that you would find a way too since I suspect that you too are a very determined person.

  3. I don’t you should ever have regrets for anything. Instead of regretting what you don’t have, look at what you actually do have.

    MS is point on. Your age shouldn’t be a barrier for anything. Whatever it is you want to do, go for it, because regardless it is worth it at the end 🙂

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