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monumental

Today is the final day of my 50th year on this planet. For months now I’ve had an urge to do something special before I turned 51, something epic. Perhaps this is what people refer to as a midlife crisis, I don’t know. I don’t think that I’m in any particular state of crisis, but I do often feel as if I have yet to achieve anything particularly monumental, something befitting such a significant landmark as half a century. Some might say that my entire last decade has been anything but typical, but perhaps that’s the problem… when you live life outside the box, it takes ever greater variety to make things stand out as special.

I try to imagine my dad at aged 50. He was old, or at least it seemed that way to me as a 10 year old boy. And that’s funny because now, at 50, I don’t in any way feel old, and I have to imagine that he didn’t either.

Sailing to Patagonia was going to be it, the something special. Well, plans change. Now we have wheels underneath us instead of keels, and are traveling by human power instead of being propelled by the wind or diesel. We’re still making progress towards that same destination though, albeit very slowly, and admittedly, in quite a circuitous route.

In spite of what I had visualized, there will be no great milestone achieved before midnight tonight, nothing to tick off on a bucket list, were I to have one (I don’t), but that’s OK. We’re out here, challenging ourselves daily, and in my mind, that has to be enough.

Read someone else’s tale of cycling and a midlife crisis. It’s pretty good!

22 Comments

  1. I hate to tell you this but you are about to end your 51st year on this planet (think of a 1 year old – they just ended their first year and turned one) so celebrate that! ๐Ÿ™‚ And HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!

  2. 241 margaritas is always monumental! Happy birthday and many happy returns!

  3. Happy Birthday, and hey, you’re now a expert at bike tire patching, so you’ve got that under your belt!
    Scott

  4. Happy Early Birthday Mike !

    I turned 49 last month and have similar goals, I’m just about 10 years behind you.

    We bought the boat we want and plan on starting extended cruising after my 50th.

    We are both so lucky to have had made livings doing something we loved successfully and get to spend the second half of our lives adventuring and exploring!

  5. When I was in high school my favorite teacher told me that it’s what’s inside your head that matters. He said that some people get rich, and remain bitter while others attain happiness without a lot of money or prestige. More than 3 decades later I am gradually understanding what he meant. I am sure you do. Hope you have a happy birthday. You are on an epic trip for sure.

  6. Keep on keeping’ on!
    Happy Birthday from Ainulindale and One White Tree.

  7. No one is rich until they are happy. Otherwise they are just people with money. Me? I’m rich. Mike – you Sir have accomplished twice as much as half the men twice your age. You are doing just fine, Amigo. Keep peddling, y feliz cumpleaรฑos.

  8. I can remember a number of climbing expeditions, mostly between 40 and 50, that were settled with that sort of vibe; if not now, when? It was always the right choice. None were as massive as your current challenge, but a few had risk that makes me wince now.

    Do I feel old (56)? It depends. I can go nearly as good as ever on the bike. I get injured more easily. I get less tired sailing because I do it smarter. I can climb better than I did at 25, but not quite so well as at 45. I feel strongly drawn to 65, when I can gain some income and get reliable health care, but I’m in no hurry toward that rocking chair. My next boat will be faster.

    The obvious point is to have goals that satisfy. Writing is helping me maintain a sense of self worth in the absence of employment. But yeah, I need to come up with a new challenge. I don’t think it is mid-life per se. I think it is outgrowing one value set and needing to find a new one. I’m working on it. A bucket list is an over simplification that doesn’t understand or address the actual problem.

    • Yes, getting injured more easily, and taking longer to heal, is an unfortunate byproduct of aging. I dealt with that daily in our gym. Fortunately, biking is a lot easier on the body than jiu-jitsu (with big, aggressive, young guys).

  9. Happy Birthday Mike .. you’ve done a LOT more than me in the first 50 years! Your plans may have changed, but you’re still crearong new adventures, which is more than most. Congrats!

  10. Belated greetings on the annual increment of your stay on Planet Earth.
    I raised a couple of Canada’s National Drink in your honour.
    Cheers!

    http://nationalpost.com/life/food/all-hail-the-caesar-canadas-national-drink/wcm/7407eec4-4b30-49e0-ba2d-eaff9b99d5d5

  11. Hi Mike,
    As I approached 50, (almost 4 years ago) I had much less urge to accomplish something epic as it was to be able to leave a lasting mark on something. I think about things I have built that may last longer than I do, or the lives I have impacted in some small way, and of course my kids.

    For what it’s worth, you have already checked off many things on my bucket list and I am living vicariously thru you, as are hundreds of other men and women on this planet due to your writing, I am sure! Keep charging boldly over the next hilltop, sir!!

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