You may think that getting your upper ear lobe pierced, colouring your hair pink, buying a leather biker jacket, joining a gym, forming a band and signing up to swim the channel are all indicators of a mid-life crisis! Well, you are almost correct, I am in my fifties but Crisis? What Crisis (wasn’t that the title of a Supertramp album?). I view this as mid-life opportunity.
Fifties is the new thirties in my eyes and I have to say embracing this time of life is key to keeping and feeling young in every respect. It’s not without its challenges, but I am always up for a challenge. I believe this to be a positive approach to what I journey through in life. All of us, at some stage, go through some difficult and sometimes traumatic phases in our life but I do believe we can grow, learn, become stronger, wiser and help others by experiencing these times ourselves and ultimately, I like to keep on the sunny side (didn’t the Carter family sing that?).
The channel swim challenge I was due to take part in last September had to be cancelled at the last moment as the wind picked up and the sea was too big to embark on a successful crossing. This was so disappointing for me and the team as we had dedicated a lot of time training for this - swimming at night in cold water, doing a two-hour qualifying swim in water below 15 degrees and investing a lot of time in preparing ourselves mentally and physically for the swim. However, all was not lost, there is always a solution if we open our minds to it. Our solution to this disappointment was to organise a two-way swim of Lake Windermere in October. With help from friends we found a boat, skipper and a support crew and we successfully completed the two-way swim in 12.5 hours. We learned a lot doing this swim and as a result we are much more informed and prepared for another attempt at swimming the Channel at the end of June this year.
I believe we can all do what we want to do and there is always an alternative. You just have to want to do it enough in the first place and free your mind to the possibilities, “Always be arsed” as a good friend of mine likes to say. It’s easy to stay in our comfort zone but it’s also boring.
I used to get very nervous about playing my fiddle in public and afraid of making a mistake; now if I make a mistake, I do it with conviction, after all, it’s only a note! I have grown in confidence over the years and have finally got round to forming a band and playing gigs, something I have always wanted to do. So, whether you are in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or beyond, there are no limits to what you can achieve, the only limiting factor is you.
My dad is 83, he rides a mountain bike, he’s just bought an electric guitar and is learning to play the lead lick of the song Hotel California; he plays the fiddle, Northumbrian Pipes, keyboard, and is always up to mischief - I couldn’t ask for a more inspiring role model to keep me on the sunny side.