Chapter V – How does it feel to be Fifty-One?
I am Jude. I am now Fifty-One years old. When I say it out loud it sounds like a BIG number! It doesn’t have the same gravitas as 50, but it commemorates a more meaningful achievement, my personal growth.
To me, my progress has been agonizingly slow and long overdue but the early returns have been enough. They have affirmed my efforts and strengthened my resolve. I am moving in the right direction through the incremental changes I am making. I am sure of it.
How does it feel to be Fifty-One?
Most mornings, my aches and pains leave me feeling much, much older than fifty-one. Physical activities are more of a challenge and now have uncomfortable consequences. My eyesight and hearing are fading. The handsome figure I see in the mirror is slowly morphing into my father which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if he wasn’t 88….
This year there were no new revelations, transformational insights or deep contemplative moments. I celebrated with my wife, my daughter, the cubs and some friends.
On recent birthdays, I have set strength and fitness goals for myself and have focused on getting into the best physical shape of my life. This year my intentions are different. I am dedicating myself to my personal development and positively impacting the world around me.
I’m not considering how I can get stronger or bigger. I’m concerned with how I’m going to maintain my momentum and perspective and manage expectations. I’m questioning how to best equip myself to help others and how I’m going to accommodate all of my growing demands. But this is a good thing!
Despite all of the negativity and despair in the world, I am choosing to see promise and possibilities. I am trying to orient my thoughts and feelings in optimism, positivity and gratitude. I understand that my mind will inform my attitude and my attitude will direct my actions. How I view the world will determine how I operate in it.
I am taking more responsibility for the choices I make and I am living a more intentional and proactive life. I am pursuing new interests and activities that make me happy.
I have been reminded of the transformational properties of reading. I was introduced to books at a young age even though I didn’t fully appreciate them at the time. However, I didn’t develop an excitement for reading until my awakening in university. I came to love it through the Black United Students(B.U.S.) at Dalhousie University, through my re-imagining of Afrikan history and through books that finally provided me with a better understanding of myself.
My passion for reading has been reinvigorated with books about personal development, emotional intelligence, business and developing effective habits. The material supports the ideas and mindset I am trying to manifest in my life.
So how do I feel at fifty-one? I know that time is both fleeting and undefeated. It is precious and most of the time passes without notice.
My body may be aging but my mind is more focused on living in the moment, being more grateful and seeking contentment. I don’t feel any older but I recognize that I have less time to accomplish my goals, touch lives and leave my mark on the world.
I continue to fail and fall short but I am committed to Break Free and Be Better.
Side hustle Update
In pursuing side-hustles, I am learning a lot about business fundamentals and the technical side of the internet. I am also becoming familiar with some of the tools and services available to online content creators and entrepreneurs. Canva, Unsplashed, Linkedin Learning, Youtube, Fiverr….
There are an endless number of others that provide user-friendly shortcuts and make things a little bit easier once you become familiar with them. The resources are out there but there is an initial investment in learning how to use them.
As an aside, Youtube is everything. It may not be regulated like some other websites but it provides basic instructional information about almost any topic imaginable. Sources always need to be corroborated but it has certainly served me well so far.
Your Next Best Read – The Alchemist
This short novel emphasizes faith, desire and pursuing your life’s purpose. It challenges you to follow your dreams and to consider your ‘personal legend’. I have listened to it three times in six months. Its that good…
Positive Reflections – What’s Good?
In one of his many motivational speeches, Jim Rohn describes a simple analogy that has stuck with me.
He asks you to envision yourself at your favorite restaurant finishing a fantastic meal. Much of the dining experience is owed to the personality and professionalism of your server. They are prompt, know the menu and anticipate all of your needs. The service leaves you feeling like an Obama. It’s the best you have ever had.
When it comes time to tip, two amounts come to your mind – $5 and $20. You can choose to leave the server $5. However, for the rest of the day and beyond, you will be reminded that you didn’t offer fair compensation for the exceptional service you received. It will tarnish your memory of the event, despite any subsequent efforts to justify your decision.
You can also give them $20, or even more, for their outstanding effort and attention. In doing so, you walk away pleased with the meal, the exchange – and even more so with yourself. It feels good to do the right thing.
We must become much more deliberate in introducing joy and ‘fair compensation’ into our daily interactions with one another. We need to choose to Be Better, reciprocate good deeds and offer more whenever we can. It is part of our life’s purpose and selfishly supports our own mental wellness.
As the last entries in the blog can attest, I begin my fifty-first year with hope, growing confidence and an attitude that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. I am Jude.