I have now travelled 50 times around the sun. Half a century on this wonderful planet of ours and to all intents and purposes I feel as good as I’ve ever felt about myself, but that really wasn’t the case this time last week.
I’m not really somebody who worries too much about my age, I’m fit, healthy and have a lovely young family who help me stay that way. So when I made the plans to celebrate my 50th birthday it was’t really going to be anything out of the ordinary.
The format was simple, invite a bunch of people you know and love to an open house starting early afternoon and finishing when the last ones leave. It worked wonderfully for my 40th so why change a winning formula I thought.
My wife and I planned the food and drink and repeatedly over the last 2 months we’ve bought bits and pieces each time we’ve been out shopping. With the exception of the one or two last minute items, we’d got everything sorted by Monday last week and all that was left to do was see how many people actually turned up.
Monday evening was the first night I really noticed it. “I can’t get no sleep” what was going on? There was nothing I could attribute the restlessness to other than “just a nag”. Tuesday saw a repeat but this time the nag was much more defined. I now knew precisely what it was.
By the time the weekend arrived I’d accrued no more than 2 to 3 hours of sleep on every single night of the week and all because I was turning fifty. Thoughts like being hit by a car whilst out riding my bike to being taken out on a pedestrian crossing on my way to collect the children from school were a paranoid status quo in my mind and I seemed powerless to be able to control them. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD it’s only a number!
I cannot begin to explain the elation that hit me on the actually day of my birthday, fortunately it was also a day before the party. A feeling akin to having a lead weight removed from your chest whilst walking into the ocean paints a fairly accurate picture albeit not one I, or many others for that matter, have experienced.
That evening I dropped off to sleep almost immediately and then slept through until early the next morning. So where did all this anxiety come from?
It would seem that the power of moving on into a second half century had a profound affect on my mind. I would like to say that I remember it all too well when playing cricket in my younger years, but I was a bowler not a batter and I rarely made it into double figures. I can however see how these psychological effects can really cause people to stumble last minute in their sporting quests or adventures and as Beth French said in her interview with Lynda Tucker this week, if you let your mind believe then you body will follow.
So my mind does believe. It believes that 50 really is just another number and though my body sometimes does play up from time to time, being able to still run a sub 50 minute 10km at over 50 (which I was when I did so last night) means that there is lots of life left in this old dog yet.
Believe in who you are, believe in what you can do and don’t let the power of destructive thoughts beat you down because, your mind leads you wherever you go.