There are many transitions in a person’s lifetime. Some are life-changing; like puberty, getting your first job, buying your first house, having your first child, divorce (shock, horror!) to name a few. Others just seem to happen without you even being aware. I refer here to entering my 6th decade. Hell, that sounds terrible! It seems like only yesterday I had my first beer in a pub, kissed my first girlfriend and ran up my first credit card bill. Where have all the years gone?
Been There, Seen It, Done It…
I should consider myself very lucky really. I’ve had a hell of a 50-something years. I’ve been to over 70 different countries, worked on 5 different continents, had two fantastic sons, helped bring up three lovely step-daughters, founded and directed a new limited company which was profitable for the 10 years before we sold it and most recently had the pleasure of accompanying Mrs C on our round-the-world trip that we’d talked about for a long time.
Somewhere in amongst that lot though, was a 50th birthday. I often have to pinch myself to believe it’s real, because inside I’m still 25. I might have accumulated a little body padding over the last decade, but I’ve counter-balanced it by losing some of my head padding, so no big deal.
I’m a little more introspective now too. Things don’t worry me in the same way they used to. Life goes on whether you worry or don’t worry, so what’s the point in worrying? There’s always a solution, isn’t there?
Crossing the 50 Plus Line
I really didn’t notice crossing that 50 plus line though. It obviously happened, because I just subtracted by birth year from 2018 and it came to well over 50. How did I miss it, I wonder. I must have been either busy, or enjoying myself – or both! Hang on a minute, I can’t be 25. I went to my stepdaughter’s wedding last year and my son’s wedding invitation is on my fridge door, held in place by a Prague fridge-magnet bottle opener. He’s going to be 28 this year.
I watch the lovely Mrs C sometimes and can see that the same transition for her is a completely different beast. Instead of a little puddle on her footpath of life, there was a gigantic chasm, which she’s still trying valiantly to cross even as I write. There are so many obstacles welcoming her into her 6th decade it seems unfair. What did she ever do to deserve this? Why did her thermostat break after only 50 years, when mine was guaranteed for life?
There is, however, something that helps her through this ordeal and that’s the thought of imminent grandparenthood. The very thought of it brings her out into radiant smiles and strange purring noises. It’s become a raison d’être in her time of turmoil and I think it’ll be the thing that brings her up over the precipice and back onto the path again.
Our relationship has been different to many. We’re both in our second innings now and both often describe how different our relationship is to our previous ones. I don’t think it’s anything to do with living and learning. It’s probably just that we didn’t choose the ‘right one’ first time around. We both had visions of familial turbulence when we got together, what with us having 5 kids between us, but that never materialised. All the kids have always got along with each other, and have also accepted our relationship for what it is. There was one instance of the ‘… you’re not my Dad…’ but it was literally just the once. I suppose it’s because I never pretended to try to step into their Dad’s shoes. I’ve been there for them and to help them from day one, but I’ve never tried to pretend that I was anything other than the new person in their Mum’s life.
Now, we’ve reached a point in our lives where we’re still quite vital and capable, but aren’t desperate to climb any new career ladders or prove any new points to anyone. After the year we’ve just had, it’s hard to put things into perspective. When you get to achieve some of your aspirations there’s definitely an adjustment phase that follows it. All the things that you’ve been talking about doing for ages have now been done and it’s time to move those goalposts for new experiences. I don’t think it’s due to a lack of motivation; more a case of figuring out where to focus our energy next.
So here we are… Mr and Mrs 50 Plus setting out onto a new chapter in our lives and very much looking forward to the next few decades and everything that they bring with them.