Existential Crisis......

by Partha Purkayastha
(Chennai, India)


My name is Partha. I am based in Chennai, in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu in India. Last year, I put in my papers with the intent to hang up my boots.

I was the Managing Director of the Wood Group in India. Wood Group is one of the largest MNCs in the Oil &Gas sector.

It was my plan to work with a tiny boutique firm who specialised in Executive Search, and grow their Management Consulting business, on a relaxed pace to keep me mentally active while I pursued my hobbies.

As things turned out, Wood Group wouldn’t let me go, and I finally conceded to devote 50% of my time to support Wood in a global consultancy role based in India. And devote the balance 50% to this boutique firm.

8 months down the line, I am not really sure as to what I am doing or what my purpose in life is....

I am physically fit at 60. I have hobbies that have fallen by the wayside over the years and it was my intention to get back to all that I missed over my professional career.

My hobbies include playing the guitar (though I haven’t done so in over 25 years), reading and writing, sketching, travel across the world and study multiple cultures, photography, watching musicals and theatre and of course yoga.

I am (and I don’t know why) struggling with the motivation to pick up on my hobbies. I just seem to sit and brood and postpone my “getting on with it”. All of a sudden, an afternoon nap has become all important !!!!

There is this “back of my mind” confusion on whether I should leave my profession behind and focus on a life of leisure or balance the two.

I am not sure as to what my identity is. My co-workers, who I thought were good friends have all moved on and I must admit that it is a situation that I am finding difficult to accept. I can’t really say that my professional acquaintances were my friends.

My two close friends are settled in Kolkata in the Eastern part of India. I do know that I need to move on and I would be most grateful if someone shared how they did - I am sure I am not alone in this process.

My wife of 35 years, who is 62, is a cancer survivor and in good health. She too has her own hobbies which she pursues like there is no tomorrow and I do admire her for her ability to do so..... she is also very self sufficient and content in her own company.

While we have some common interests like travel, musicals, theatre and reading, there are other things that are different - as would be expected.

I intend to stay abreast with the latest developments in my subject of specialisation, but my heart tells me that I should break away from my professional field - fortunately I have no financial concerns- and ardently pursue my hobbies, but my struggle is to come to a landing as to what my purpose in life is...... and lack of the motivation that I spoke about earlier....

I would be, as I said, most grateful for advice. I apologise for my rambling outpouring, but I felt I needed to..

Great to join this community.

With warm regards,

Comments for Existential Crisis......

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Esxistential Crisis
by: Anonymous

Thank you all for your comments. You have been most helpful and have given me a lot to think about and take action.


by: Cindi H, Ohio

It does sound like you ought to go ahead and retire. Although employers do not want to lose good people, they too can survive without us. Someone else may be dying to step into your shoes.

One thing that occurred to me is that we all tend to look at retirement as this decades long opportunity but life does not always go on forever.

Very few people would want to be remembered only for the job they did in life. Don't feel like you have to leap into your "purpose" instantly. Sometimes we go through a period of inaction which gives us time to think about our lives before we are called into action.

Also, although it would be great to have some huge noble purpose to our life, sometimes it's the small things that we do that make a difference in other people's lives.

Start small with just noticing the efforts of those around you and complementing them on those things. Your purpose will find you as long as you are open to discovering it.

Existential crisis
by: AMV/MO

I had the same thoughts as you when I was 60. But my physical and mental health was so good that I thought I should not retire yet. So, I kept working as a computer professional and chief problem solver in the United States Marine Corps, technology division, and finally retired at the age of 74, when my faculties slowed down a bit and I knew that it will be good for me as well as the organization that I retire.

I am 77 now and not an iota of regret about my action!

I suggest you continue with your Wood Corp company until you are really facing diminishing health of body or mind. You will then not regret your decision and start enjoying your hobbies.

Good Luck

by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA Location

Dear Partha:

The time has come for you to find out who you are. Your body and soul have a deep need to discover this.

Somewhere inside, you know there is more to life than work and hobbies. Every person has a story . Some of us write it down and find out amazing truths we have lost or hidden.We forget the child in us ... who once had ideas and dreams we have forgotten.

You were born on this planet for a purpose beyond work and play. There are so many men who feel as you do when retirement beckons. Life is meaningful only if there are ways for you to help others as you learn to help yourself. Many Blessings.

by: Dean/Nashville


It sounds like you have more than enough passion for life to fill your hours if you go to full time retirement.

What a blessing to have a wife who has survived cancer!

If you are financially secure I would strongly recommend that you go to full retirement. No matter how much money you have you can't buy time. That's the reason I retired early at 62. Now, seven years later I have no regrets and look forward to each new day with joy.


by: Wee-zer

Partha, Personally, from what you have written it seems you have it all. You have had a great career, you are not hurting for money, you have hobbies that you can resume or start new ones. You want to keep abreast of advances in your line of work.

Your wife is a cancer survivor. You both like to travel. But you both can maintain separate interests which is good because we all need our space.

It seems you are ready to step off the train and wave goodbye. It is your time to flourish and enjoy the glorious time you deserve. Time is something you can never get back.

Don't be one of those people who will have regrets down the road, I should have retired, I could have retired, why didn't I retire?

There is a time for everything! Being a baby, being a child, being an adult, working and retiring. Nothing lasts forever, nor is it meant to be.

You might consider joining the Rotary Club where you can use your skills to help people.

Good luck to you!

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