I am 49 in less than a week, and after that I will then be standing on the precipice of 50, and quite frankly it frightens me. In fact I am terrified.
Because I can’t see it as a personal milestone, it’s more like a testament to my uselessness.
Let’s be honest I can hardly imagine Madame Curie saying to Pierre, “If only I’d studied harder and been a little more resourceful.” Or Mr Nelson Mandela turning to Graca Machel and lamenting “Wish I’d done more for the people of South Africa and made a greater impact on humanity.” Dr Jane Goodall hardly turned 50 thinking that she was a wastrel and needed to look for a purpose, nor did Mother Teresa wish she’d made more of an effort. In short all these people had drive, determination, and passion; something which I am lacking in spades.
And let me not think of amazingly talented and dedicated people like Billie Holliday, Martin Luther King or Ayrton Senna who were not fortunate enough to make it to 50 and reach their magnificent potential.
Looking back I realise I have spent the last 48 years in abject apathy like a sloth with an attitude problem.
This is not a vanity issue. I didn’t realise ‘she’s got a great personality’ was a euphemism until my late 20’s. I was under the impression that it was a compliment and delighted by the fact that people thought me funny and vivacious not realising it didn’t mean that, in fact it wasn’t very flattering at all. So it is not a case of concern over fading looks, more like the realisation of a listless lifestyle and squandered years.
I have 12 months to make amends by atoning for the previous 588 lacklustre ones, and I’ve got no idea of where to start. Hitting half a century has generated more questions than answers.
It may be time to hit the library’s Self Help section. If anyone knows of a self help book entitled ‘How to get off your arse and make something of your life’ please send me the ISBN – I’d be ever so grateful.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48289187@N00/19642387101″>On the Edge</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>