My friends, this month I shall be fifty. As Dandy Dan says in Bugsy Malone, “Ok gang. This is the big one.” Yes Boss. It’s the big Five Oh. On 5th May, I shall be officially Older and Wiser. I’ll have it all sorted. If you see me and think I appear to have an air of natural authority and wisdom, that’s why. I may start walking around local towns and villages of a Sunday, perhaps wearing a fedora, wellies, and something purple and flowy, while imparting advice and wisdom indiscriminately to a grateful younger generation. You know, to give something back.
The trouble is, it’s probably a little optimistic to call this ‘midlife’ now. So I may have to rename this column in acknowledgement of my new-found insight and serenity. Perhaps I should start calling my column Wise Wonderings to reflect this prestigious achievement. Or Momentary Musings (if I can get my ideas down before I forget them, although Momentary Mumblings would probably be more appropriate).
Truth be told, I’m not sure how to mark this significant juncture. Last year I had big plans brewing, but what happened was that life sort of went on – quite rudely – as if everything was normal, and I ended up being too busy to organise it. So as it stands right now I have no plans at all. At this rate I’ll end up watching reruns of Friends and drinking cheap fizz all on my own (which doesn’t actually sound too bad, thinking about it. Perhaps hot chocolate would be better though).
So all I have to say is, here we are, doing life, and at any point – 50, 42, 66, 28 – we can take a snapshot and think, this is what I’m doing at the moment, and this is how I am at the moment, and it is what it is. Take it or leave it baby. Whatever age we are, we can stand at the top of our sunny, daisy-laden hill and look behind us at the incredible view that is our past, and squint forwards at a perhaps hazy view that is our future, and check out all the paths and brambles and barbed wire fences and cornfields and oak trees and trickling springs and work out which path we fancy taking.
And so I shall sit atop the comfort of my hillock for a while, in my purple flowy dress, holding on to my hat, and take stock, before tentatively continuing along a path which I can only hope will be the really long way down, winding around new lakes and brambles and barbed wire fences and cornfields and oak trees and trickling springs and new adventures. As Agatha Christie said, ‘I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming … suddenly you find – at the age of 50, say – that a whole new life has opened before you’.