Once again I am excited to introduce another guest to my series:
Amazing over 50’s
I’m inviting and featuring ‘Mid-lifers’ who are enjoying life over 50 and who are happy to shout out about great health, fitness, lifestyles, work or their achievements etc, but more importantly who are embracing this time of their lives with pride.
This month I am very happy to introduce the first male guest to this series.
A big welcome to Geoff Le Pard as my thirteenth guest. Geoff is an established author and blogger who I had the pleasure of meeting last year at the Annual Bloggers Bash as he was one of the many smiley faces who welcomed me, (with an unusual blue beard, I might add).
A Guest Post – The Amazing over 50’s
There’s a slight difference to this interview because Geoff preferred to do what he does best… just write.
Over to you Geoff.
When I turned fifty I looked like this.
I was given what turned out to be a fabulous present. This
Trouble was it was all wrapped up and I thought I’d been bought a filing cabinet.
That’s the thing about this second half of my five score years I plan on enjoying (sorry, but three score years and ten is soooo last century; haven’t you heard about inflation? I once saw one of those green strips that used to be cool to have above your windscreen like a cheapo sun-visor, often with the names of the occupants on it – this one, though, had the following philosophical sentiment I now plan to adopt: Get Your Own Back On Your Children: Live To be A Hundred)…
Where was I? Oh yes, the post 5.0 reboot. See, it’s all about confounding expectations. And not just other people’s but your own. There’s nothing more limiting than thinking your age. Acting it is bad enough but thinking in such a sclerotic way is both life-limiting and counterproductive.
I wrote a post on my recent birthday – here, if you are interested – setting out a little light philosophy and one part of that post is, to me, the most important. It’s the corruption of my boring calendar years into something more meaningful. According to Government sources I am currently sixty-two (frankly, I do not trust this; my mother bought her Christmas presents in April so it is entirely possible she registered my birth some years before I was born, to avoid any last minute rush). However, I do not intend, in any way, shape or form, to accept this; hence my post 50 plan to add the number of my years together to achieve my outlook-age. Currently that’s eight. How wonderful was the world at eight (if you ignore having to wear shorts all year, aunts who ruffled you hair like they were making pastry and compulsory bedtimes). I liked all my family, still thought a dinner that comprised jam on toast to be the height of luxury and believed in Santa. Most importantly I was instinctively and habitually open minded. I was brave to the point of recklessness.
Basically I looked forward and, meanwhile lived in the moment. That is such a skill and one of the things I try and do still.
But, while that’s an outlook, I’m conscious that at actual 62, I no longer win at bodily keepy-uppy. Gravity is winning an inexorable battle. Things that once slipped smoothly into place now click like the big end on my father’s beloved Ford Escort. It’s not that I don’t bounce back as once I did – I no longer bounce. I took a conscious decision to lose weight a year or so ago; one close friend watched me shed the pounds and said nothing until I mentioned my antipathy to buying new clothes to fit this newly svelte frame, whereupon he said, ‘Oh thank heavens; I thought you must have cancer.’ A function of aging and expectations again.
It can be boring, focusing on the body’s essential misanthropy. My wife has introduced the ten minute organ recital for any get together with her girlfriends: ten minutes at the start to discuss any problems with their organs or whatever and then no more. Very wise is my wife.
So how have I embraced my middle youth? With vigour, enthusiasm and ridiculous optimism.
I exercise. Often. Box, push and press up, stretch, walk miles in the company of…
My daughter took me to a spin class. I used to commute everywhere by bike which, given I live in South London and worked in the city was the daily equivalent of a failed sanity check. So I thought? How bad can it be? Hmm, well, she did have the courtesy to look a mite concerned at my condition after the first session but now I love it. It might be her way of accelerating her inheritance but, pahahaha, I will defeat the forces of generational redistribution. I may be a Boomer, but I’m also a fully paid up S.K.I.N. – ‘Spend the Kids Inheritance Now’.
Being the age I am, I get, in London, a free travel pass. Silly in a way, because I use it a lot. There are so many places to go and see and enjoy. And they are full of interesting people (as well as a fair smattering of numpties, ne’er do wells and nincompoops but they can either be ignored or put into the next book – perfect revenge for crap service).
And that’s one of the great gifts I’ve received. In my fiftieth year, I went on a creative writing course at Marlborough College Summer School. I’d done no creative writing since Mr Doubleday, in the fourth form, told me my draft first chapter for a novel was boring – sometime in the spring of 1972. Yet here was something so much fun I wondered how I’d missed it. I wrote my first book in 2006/7, my second in 2007/8, took myself on several courses culminating in a Masters in Creative Writing in 2011-13 and self published my first novel in 2014. I now have seven published works, four novels, two anthologies of short fiction and a memoir of my mother and more, many more in the pipeline.
I still have that mad reckless urge. In 2014 I went to New Zealand with my son, who was between courses. Under the watchful eye of the 24 year old, I white water rafted
Black water rafted (this is before we abseiled thirty meters into the cave)
And undertook the inevitable bungee jump
I’m not keen on small spaces or being out of my depth in water but he made me…
And I do like a bit of a ski (Sam and I might disagree on the method of descent but we both agree on its glorious power to free the spirit)
I’m very fortunate. Most of the Lego that makes up my substructure still works as intended; I’m in a fortunate financial position; and I have a very lovely and loving family and friends, some of whom would easily pass the two am test (that’s the one where you know you could call at two am in a crisis and they would drop everything) . I try and spend some of my time giving a bit back. It’s the least I can do and I’ve always reckoned that it is far easier to give than to receive so helping at a Homeless shelter or at the local youth club probably does me as much if not more good than those receiving my time and unbridled, if not always focused enthusiasm.
The plain truth is I had neither the self confidence nor the peripheral vision to see how lucky I was before I was thirty and it took me until I passed fifty to really do something about it.
So, yes, as Sam says, so wisely
Loving That Fifty Something (and Sixty…)
Thank you Geoff for being a brilliant guest and the first fella in this ‘Amazing over 50’s’ series. I loved reading this. I admire you for giving your time to help others, how you’ve ’embraced your middle youth‘, created a damn fine way of achieving your outlook age and you bungee jumped! Eek, well done you!
Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.
You can follow Geoff on Twitter Here
You can see all Geoff’s books below at his author pages:
‘Amazing over 50′.
If you’re loving your ‘Mid Life’ and would like to be a guest on my ‘Amazing over 50’s’ series please contact me Here and help me ‘Shout Out for the over 50’s’ 🙂
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