Next month I turn sixty. Impossible! How has this happened? Who is that stranger in the mirror? I demand to know who that person is who doesn’t hop out of bed but instead takes her time, not wanting to wake up her unwelcome bedfellow – Vertigo – or its companion, Arthritis.
‘Never get old,’ my darling Dad used to quip. He’s right…it can be humbling especially as I watch my children who once needed me for everything become vexed at how I tap out a text message with one finger rather than a double jointed thumb, or pause while trying to work out how to flick to Netflix, or at how I can’t remember the myriad of passwords I keep changing because I keep forgetting them!
However, one way that I’ve managed to uphold the glass half full approach to life no matter my age, is setting myself a major challenge for each decade. I began this innocently in my teens when I couldn’t wait to become older and reach twenty. Now this special goal per decade has become the glimmering gold thread in the tapestry of my life.
Turning twenty, I set myself two major goals. Travel the world and get into business for myself. Glad to know I achieved both…and fitted in finding love and marriage.
Turning thirty, I wanted to have children. I was blessed to have twins and the rest of the decade was spent raising them, travelling the world and running our business.
Turning forty, I wanted to change my career. I was keen to remain self-employed, but I had a fire in my belly to do something selfish, something creative, something that allowed me total flexibility and autonomy. Directly after my fortieth birthday I sold three books to the biggest publisher in the world at the time. My new career path beckoned.
Turning fifty, I set several major goals. It had been gnawing at me to take a leap of faith in myself, out of the pool of genre fiction and into the ocean of general adult fiction. I wanted to write some non-fiction and the biggest goal of all, I wanted to run some writing courses for beginners and help them to avoid some of the potholes. I changed publishers aged 50, I changed to writing historical fiction the following year and I set up my first masterclass, aged 53.
So…turning sixty. What’s ahead? I am keen to see if I can either write a screenplay based on one of my books…or better still, convince TV producers to take one or more of my books on for the small screen. It’s a huge dream as I’ve been lost to excellent drama on the big and small screens for all my life, so to see even one of my stories unfolding through moving pictures…well, that would be a very big day. It’s not impossible; literary content has never been more in demand than now as a hungry worldwide audience devours streaming TV and movies. Producers are hunting fabulous tales that convert well to commercial viewing. I’m going to try and catch that wave…wish me luck.
Anyway, for anyone out there feeling unsettled at how fast the years are speeding by and blurring, maybe you too might feel more anchored, less dismayed, if you set yourself a major goal for each decade or even set one every five years.
Maybe writing that book that’s been burning inside, for instance Do it!
Finally, to all you fellow boomers, use this older, wiser time to do your utmost to embarrass your children. It’s a marvellous sport, designed for the mature person, that I personally take great delight in.