Morphine is one of the most powerful pain killers ever. In fact, in heart failure or attacks, the drug of choice to alleviate the pain is Morphine. It offers immense pain relief which is unparalleled to any of the common pain killers.

Aspirin is also a pain killer, but…(This reminds me of a animation movie wherein a character tells a girl to not to say anything after the word ‘but’ since the words that follow the ‘but’ will never ever be of any good. But, I assure you that the word ‘but’ is significant in this particular context. So don’t worry! It will be good eventually!)

Now, let’s get back to the ‘but’. The pain killing ability of Aspirin can never get close to that of Morphine. In fact, even in doses which is hundred times than that of norm (of course no one will prescribe that though!), the efficacy of Aspirin can’t ever be as good as Morphine.

Therefore, you would be tempted to think that when it comes to heart attack, Morphine is the nectar. Or, in other words, a life saver but (a good ‘but’ this time!) as far as heart problems and attacks are concerned, it is Aspirin which is considered the vital drug and life saver! In fact, the humble Aspirin has saved lives hundred times more than Morphine.

How you would ask!?
Well, the answer is Multitasking!
Though as a pain killer Aspirin is weak, it has another function which makes it an invaluable tool in the armament against heart diseases. It is a very effective anti-platelet drug. Effectively, this means that it keeps the blood in fluid form and avoids the formation of clots. Blood clot is one of the common causes of block and complications both in the heart and the brain. Imagine that this was in fact a side effect of Aspirin which modern medicine has effectively made use of.

What about Morphine you might ask?
Well, Morphine is the king of only one-act and nothing else and has no effect on the platelets. All this talk about Morphine and Aspirin was my way of making a valid point.

The point is that we must not compare, be it a person or a situation. Maybe a person is rich and famous but he may turn out to be like Morphine while another not-so-rich yet popular bloke is just like Aspirin who is yet to show his or her prowess. Aspirin may not have  ‘MORPHed’ into a great pain killer but over some time it ‘ASPIRed’ to become an awesome anti-platelet drug.

So, after completing 40 glorious years in this amazing world and surrounded by awesome family and friends, I am grateful to one and all. But though you would assume that with age comes wisdom, it is more likely that with age you encounter your mid-life crisis. I have always strived to be like Aspirin in the sense that if you cannot be best in one thing, you can still learn and be good in many other things. The day you stop learning is the day you stop living!

And another important thing which I have learnt from Aspirin is Multitasking. You can never be the best in anything forever. One slip and you can be replaced. You are always replaceable! You can lose sleep over your work and once you are gone, you will be shocked to know that you will be replaced almost immediately. It is sad but very true fact of work.

But (another good one!), if you multitask, then you would be good at many things and you will enjoy life and you will realise that it is not only the work which you do to earn your livelihood that defines you. Even while I workout (which is very important especially after the age of 40), I never limit myself to only running, I always alternate between running, skating, cycling, badminton or swimming! It keeps the variety on and keeps me hooked. After a while, workout will be a thing which you look forward to everyday and this will be an addiction which you can be proud and open about.

Even with reference to leisure and hobbies, I have always wanted to multitask so that you have a life beyond work. You should also cook, draw, sing, play an instrument or even dance (which I do or at least try to do). Of course, you should experiment on self or a limited crowd first and then make it public (for all practical purposes). Human beings are social animals and the encouragement which he or she receives from his or peers play a catalytic role!

The other best way to have fun is an outing. Now most people wait for that big trip someday and like Tom Cruise says in the movie ‘Knight and Day’, that day might never come. But in the anticipation of that trip we forget to go for those small weekend or daily trips which are equally good to have fun and spend quality time with family or friends. Binging on alcohol with pals and collapsing in front of the Idiot Box is not always the way to go. Go for a short hike or rope walk or just swim and love every moment of it!

The most important after forty is to eat healthy. That just not mean that you need to be a saint but you need to have a balance. A heavy dinner will entail a light and healthy breakfast and so on! Remember that you can enjoy life only if you are healthy.

Bear in mind that at the end of it all, life is not just a 9 to 5 job (which as a surgeon might not be the case but that’s not the point here!); but life is to live life as it is meant to be.

To have fun, take care of you parents. Love you kids and spouse (or partner as the case may be). Respect and keep in touch with your friends. Do your job properly and come home to the joy that’s life. In other words, don’t be naughty after forty…be a multitasker and that is a tried and tested
cure for mid-life crisis!

About the Author:
Dr. Sriram Nathan, an ENT and Head and Neck Surgeon working at the Narayana Health Hospital in whitefield, Bengaluru.

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