I turn 50 in December of this year.
I won’t be mentioning it too often here as I’m really not happy about it. In fact, I’m dreading it.
Not because I fear there’ll be some big noticeable change in my life, but mainly as this is the landmark birthday which makes me feel I’m truly getting old.
Turning 30 didn’t bother me in the slightest. Nor did turning 40. 50 is a figure which concerns me though.
Unless I’m really lucky, I’m now past the halfway point in my life. I’ve already lived more years than I have remaining. I need to try to stop thinking about it in this way as it’s constantly on my mind and triggers many other anxieties I have. The ones where I question just what I’ve achieved in life. The ones where I wonder if I’ve got enough time left to do everything I want to do (I appreciate that sounds melodramatic but there’s a lot which I still want to achieve in life). The ones which make me question if I can achieve the physical transformation I’m striving for this year to ensure I enter my 50s as a fit and healthy man rather than being fat, overweight and lethargic.
Everything about this birthday is a trigger. Every time I think about it, it’s from a negative viewpoint rather than a positive. Many people start truly thinking about retirement in their 50s (the lucky ones actually do retire). Many people become grandparents in their 50s. Many people start topping up their pension with added voluntary contributions as they suddenly realise just what’s around the corner. It’s all thoroughly depressing.
Much of this may sound overly dramatic. I’m not a drama queen, so that isn’t my intent if it does appear to be the case. It’s just that I’m not looking forward to this landmark in my life. I’ve told my family that I don’t intend celebrating. If I do, it will be a very small family meal or something of that ilk. Certainly no big party – why on earth would I want to do that? I want the day to pass quietly and without fuss. I was, for a short while, contemplating just buggering off somewhere on my own for the day and trying not to think about it, before returning home the next day and carrying on with life as normal. Walking up one of Britain’s highest mountains alone was a viable option for a while. I’d certainly like to do something like that but I know that will upset those close to me so I’ve scratched that idea.
So, I’m just ploughing on. Trying my best not to think too much about it, even though it’s been on my mind for around 12-18 months now.
Then, out of the blue, I saw this quote a few days ago which shed a different light on things:
This image suggests the quote is from a couple of years ago as Clint is now 92 (he turns 93 in May). It’s actually from 4-5 years ago as Clint said this to a country singer named Toby Keith, who subsequently wrote the song Don’t Let The Old Man In. Coincidentally, that song was then covered by Willie Nelson – another legend who doesn’t let age define him. Regardless of exactly when it was first said, it’s a fantastic quote:
I get up every day and don’t let the old man in.
Just think about that for a minute. Here is someone who refuses to let his age define him. He continues to direct movies. He still acts in movies. He remains fit, active and loving life, regardless of his advancing years. Age is clearly just a number to him – nothing more, nothing less. What an inspiration.
The quote hasn’t made me fully accept turning 50 though. I’m still not looking forward to it and would rather it was one of the earlier landmark birthdays. What it has done, though, is to have provided some hope that I’ll be able to be at peace with that age. To largely ignore it once I am 50 and carry on living life to the fullest. There is inspiration there for all of us. Whether it’s turning 50, 60, 70 or beyond, it isn’t about the number – it’s all about our attitude. It’s about living life on our own terms, doing what makes us content, and forgetting about our age. Clint has absolutely nailed this – wake up every day and don’t let the old man / woman in…
As always, thanks for reading and take care.