50 Years I’ve been here now.
50 years, 18,250 days, the same number of mornings and evenings the same number of nights asleep bar a dozen or so all-nighters. 5o years of experiences good and tough.
Yes, I would say tough but I wouldn’t say bad, although there have been some challanging times. Like when I was out of sync in my last year at school because I couldn’t do my precious wood work. That was the time to leave, just before and fortunatly as I got my apprenticeship. Or the frustration of dealing with the end of my marriage and the subsequent crash and burn that came from that. These times were tough but I wouldn’t say bad, not real bad, like some people have, some people don’t have tough lives, they have real bad lives. My life has been just challenging, requiring me to, well, suck it up and get on with it. And sometimes I’ve had the help of some wonderful people to help me through. To all of you… thanks.
So far it’s been a good life anyway I look at it. I have very good health both mental and physical and I’ve managed to do some interesting, even wonderful things. The highlights would have to be doing my apprenticeship, skydiving, building a house, my marriage to Gail, my daughter Sabina, the many wonderful relationships that I have had, the skills that I’ve gained, working on the Matrix 2&3 films, my podcast and associated travels and learnings and in recent years, the joy of tango.
If you asked me to reflect on the tough times, I’m genuinelly, mentally challenged to remember. I can remember the events but there is no emotion connected to them. I don’t feel as distressed from them that I felt at the time. It must just be my psychology but I seem to remember the good, with a joy that is hard to express and the bad times seem to fade away like a dream in the morning.
It’s strange to reflect on the last 50 years not because it’s the half way mark, I think that is behind me, I may but it’s not likely I’ll make it to 100. The reason for the reflection is because of something I heard 15 years ago. A man in his 80’s said to a friend that he can look in the mirror and the face he sees looking back, looks old and he wonders who’s face it is, as if in astonishment, that this is not his face, as it’s not as he feels inside. Inside he still feels like the 18 year old.
This is what I find interesting. I don’t exactly feel 18 but maybe more like 30 or 35? I’ve seen grown men in their 40’s behave like 14 year old boys because a woman comes into the workshop and they don’t know how to deal with girls. I’ve seen 50 year old women throw a tantrum like an 8 year old brat. Occasionally I’ve meet a child that says something profound and in shock I realise that they have a wisdom far beyond their years (my daughter has done this on occasions). I know that maturity doesn’t come with age.
To be forty when I was a child was old and fifty was… well near incomprehensible. So here I am at the end of my 50th year, marking it with my birthday and I feel more like a child looking on in disbelief, than the 50 year old that I know I am. Sure I have over the years bought into what I should be like by 30, 40, 50 and what I should have to show for it by now but when I’m true to myself and really happy and content I have a laisse faire attitude to the things that society says are important. Money and the ego based trappings are examples. I have generally a playful attitude towards most things I do. Like the kid that I was, knocking together an old push mower and pram wheels in the back yard to build a billy cart, I’m still bashing my life together, seeing what may come of it. I have a general idea sometimes where I may be going, but it’s only a vague direction, somewhere over there, as I wave my arm aimlessly towards the horizon. I don’t really have any idea what I’m doing or where I will be going. Every time I have attempted to be definite, it’s evolved in ways I would never have imagined and turned out in ways that have surprised me. So now I’m just going in that vague direction, one step at a time and I’ll see what happens and where it may take me.
One of the great things that have come about in recent years and something that I couldn’t do when I was younger and hyperactive, is now I’m happy not to do anything. Well more to the point I’m happy to do no-thing. Occasionally and it seems to be happening more often these days, is that as I worry less and embrace my natural playfull attitude, I have times when for the moment all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed there is simply nothing to do. When that happens I’ve learned to do just that, in contradiction to what society says we should do, I simply do nothing… no-thing. Just sit and be present. It’s really quite beautiful and sublime.
So as I sit here reflecting on all those fifty years and it seems hard to imagine that there have been that many, I can honestly say that I have no regrets, not one! Sure with hindsight I might change a few things here and there. Maybe get out of a few embarrassing situations,(like that Harry Hi-pants photo at my sisters 21st) and not say the occasional inappropriate statement but all in all I have never intentionally harmed anyone. Any harm I have done was done with innocence as I have always attempted to mitigate any difficulties by thinking and acting with care before saying things that can harm. When harm is accidentally done I have always attempted to ameliorate the situation. This is my way of taking my responsibility, for the situations with others that I have found myself in during these past 50 years. I find I have less of such issues today simple because I pay more attention on what I’m doing before I act, to consider all aspects of the event than I would have in the past. These days I have less repair to do. I ask no forgiveness, nor offer any to anyone else, as we all do the best, that we could at the time, with what we had.
Some people have their lives plotted and planned. They know where they are going, each step of the way. As I look forward I realise that I have no idea where I’m going, just the general direction, pointing into the distance and hand waving again but that’s good. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning and something to start the day with but as so often happens, events evolve from what I couldn’t have expected. If you had have asked me to consider at 30 where I would be today I would never have guessed Here, so how would I be able to predict where I will be in 10, 20 or 30 years. All I know is that at the end, I’ll be dead and what I do from now till then is my life. What I do with it is my choice. There is no right or wrong and no one else really cares but I, so I’ll just keep doing it, this thing called my life and see where the journey takes me.