As I sit and begin to write this post it's still a few days to go until the big day and I've already been asked a couple of times ' well how does it feel to be 50?'. Up to now I've given the same answer as I think I've given to similar questions asked of previous birthdays and one which I'm sure has tripped of your tongues too....'Ah sure it’s no different to the way I felt last year'
If that's true then why do I feel a little more emotional and reflective than I have on recent birthday's past. Perhaps it’s just the different level of hype, the association with doing the Ironman, or the fact that I share a 'Big Zero' birthday with Mary and indeed so many other close relatives - I can't quite put my finger on what’s different but it's definitely got me thinking and I hope that's lead me to a bit of clarity about what impact turning 50 will have on my life!
I've often been asked in the context of discussing Triathlon with family, friends, colleagues and now customers 'of the three sports which one do you like the most?' Well while I love cycling I find it the hardest of the three so it doesn't usually feature in my response. I've always enjoyed swimming but it really frustrates me because, despite my best efforts (well I regard them as my best efforts!), while I have become more relaxed as a swimmer I have definitely not got any quicker! So that leaves the run! Running was something that I never really did. Ok so I went for the odd jog but nothing consistent. In the last couple of years though I've managed to progress my running culminating in marathon completion last October and I'm slowly realising that I've grown to love it? Why? Probably mostly because, and I'm choosing my word carefully here, it's simple! To use the word easy might imply that I find it so ....I don't! There's no mandatory equipment apart from a good pair of runners, you can do it anywhere, anytime and with minimal preparation....I even leave out the stretching sometimes but Shhhh...tell no one!
I wonder if its that simplicity implicit in 'The Run' that's always made me turn to it so often? OK so I'm confusing you now I know...I'd only just said that I didn't do it very much! I was referring of course to the physical sense.... in a metaphorical sense I've certainly clocked up the miles! An example for clarity you say...?! Ok well I've had 28 different jobs in a 30 year working life! and for some of that time I was unemployed!! I know what a flake....the going gets tough and John sticks on his asics and he's gone. The funny thing is that I can only really remember 2 jobs from which I've moved on because I felt I had genuinely bitten off more that I could chew. Some moves, especially early ones, were to climb up the financial ladder however in the vast majority I moved on when things were going pretty well, successfully even. You see for me success was just luck or worse fraud wrapped in pretty paper with a bow and both are fickle bedfellows capable of deserting you very quickly ...it's always better to get gone before they did!
It wasn't just in the in the context of work either where 'jogging on' seemed an appropriate response to circumstances which prevailed. Unfortunately in some cases, although thankfully few, people were offended or hurt by that lack of self belief and uncertainty that made me bolt and some relationships were irreparably damaged as a result. For that I am truly sorry and regretful!
So why am I expecting turning 50 to make a difference? Well you know I think it’s because it’s arrival is perfectly timed. It’s caught up to me when I’m already on a bit of an upward curve of realisation that I’m enjoying immensely.