some thoughts on turning 50

Helen 50

a few weeks ago, an extraordinary thing happened to me: i turned 50 years old. it’s bizarre to have reached this age, when i don’t “feel” it – but what’s 50 supposed to “feel” like, anyway? when i was a child, 50 was something impossibly distant and old, older even than my parents (and my parents were old in comparison to my friends’ parents), something that i simply could not conceive of ever being. 50 belonged to people who came from another time (another planet?), a time that was not and never could be mine. and yet: inexorably, time marches on and here we are – i have existed on this planet, in this form, for half a century. today’s children must look at me as something impossibly old, from a time they can only imagine.

at the same time as i want to shout, “i don’t feel 50!”, and wonder whether a mistake of 10 years has been made with my birth date, i find myself enjoying the sense of perspective as i look back over the last half century. it’s filled with amazing adventures and achievements as well as, naturally, a few disasters and disappointments; but generally i’ve been incredibly fortunate. for some unknown reason, i’ve never been one to follow well-trodden paths or approach conventional milestones in the expected order. rather, my life has been somewhat haphazard and serendipitous, with huge amounts of learning along the way. i hope that’s how the next half century will continue to unfold.

ageing is deeply personal, even though it happens to all of us, no matter how old or young we get to, and it’s happening all the time, just like life – in fact, it is life. hitting 50 brings an interesting new perspective to it. i think this next phase is going to be fun!