I was watching the Imitation game the other night and learnt how the German code would be reset after 18 hours, so that all the work that the Enigma busting team did to try and break the code had to be restarted from scratch every 18 hours, nothing from the day before counted or helped at all. It was like re-setting your day as if nothing from the previous day mattered. This bit of the film really struck me and I found myself thinking about reinvention and letting go of the past.
I think that’s what I’m trying to do now, reaching 50, finding a way to be and live into middle age, trying to reinvent myself to a person that I have become over the years.
Chris McDougall – the ultra-runner – is interviewed in this month’s Runners World and has just turned 50. When he was a young journalist he interviewed a guy in his 50’s who said that ‘Your fifties will be the best time of your life. You’re done with the stupid shit. So if you’re not dead, you’re riding high on all the stuff you’ve learned.’ Chris said that’s how he feels now – how wonderful, I want a bit of that too.
So it’s not a full reinvention, it’s taking the best bits of what you’ve learnt and experienced and packaging them up to be the best You in middle age.
I am struggling with my reinvention, or my progression into middle age, what it means, what I can do, what I have done, what difference I can make or have made. For the first time I am accepting that this might take a bit of time, it’s not something I can figure out overnight. It is a shift into a new way of being. I don’t want to be down with the kids, trying to stay young doesn’t work! But I do want to be relevant, up to date, engaged with new ideas and productive. I would also like to think that I have picked up some very useful stuff over the time I’ve been on this planet, some of which might be useful to pass on.
I may not run ultramarathons but I would like to share Mr McDougall’s view, that your fifties are the best time of your life – that sounds like a very happy reality.