Happy birthday to me!
I don’t really care about what it means in general, but rather to me. All that ‘50 is the new 40’ nonsense doesn’t move me. I am a lucky man. I have had the kind of life where I have been able to do whatever I liked, more or less whenever I liked. And now, I have recently become a father and found a life I really, really like. I am truly happy.
None the less, as I near that big milestone, I have been thinking. 50 one is definitely no longer a young man, and no longer wants to be mistaken for one. In your 40’s that’s still funny… in your 50’s… it sounds vaguely disrespectful.
An astrologer once told me I have a classic late developer’s natal chart and can only really expect to hit my straps in my 60’s. I hated that reading and was determined to prove it wrong. But now I wonder… if I look back at all I have done, and it’s true that I have not yet hit my straps, well, then the best is very definitely yet to come. That’s a nice feeling… and one that is very much backed by the experience of my last decade.
I DO feel like I am still learning and growing and getting better at what I do. I have to acknowledge that things have not turned out the way I had sort of expected. But that doesn’t bother me, in fact it thrills me. Nothing better than having expectation thwarted.
Living in Amsterdam, I am embarked on a whole new adventure. One that is not hallmarked by the vague panic and desperation that hung around many of my previous adventures. I am a much calmer person. That’s got as much to do with my age as it does with where I live, who I live with and how I now live.
Those are all things that come from having gone so many times around our sun. No more, no less. There is no shortcut. I had to work stuff out, come to grips, face realities, process issues and move on. I am not done. Far from it, but I am making progress. And when it comes to doing, I am very much not done.
In some ways, I have realised that I have had to spend a lot of effort processing my disappointment in my self… I am not the author I always dreamed I would be, I am not a literary giant and I will never be. Instead though, having faced that sense of loss and identified the weird niggle somewhere in the back of my head, I have a clear road to what I am still becoming, what I may still be.
And that my friends, was a wonderful way to complete a birthday… thinking that as good as all this is, it’s getting better.
Stay tuned and come along for the ride. I’d like that.