Why Turning Fifty Is Something To Celebrate

In Denmark this past December. Almost fifty…

Earlier this year, I turned fifty. As I approached the milestone age, I wrote a few pieces about how I felt. About those I’ve known over the years who left too early, never to see fifty, or thirty, or even twenty. About how women ‘of a certain age’ are somehow meant to disappear from the narrative, and how I won’t be going quietly (or anywhere!). About how I’m Generation X, and we really don’t give a shit about boxes and being put in them – all we’ve ever tried to do is survive. About how life, which seems so long when you’re twenty, seems so much shorter when you’re fifty.

With Gaz from Supergrass after their London show in March – I had a very exciting birthday weekend (just before the world changed)…

But none of these pieces seemed to truly articulate what I felt. In the end, I didn’t publish any of them. And I discovered that what I really wanted to do, in fact, was celebrate. Celebrate the fact that I’ve lived through five decades on this tumultuous planet. I’ve done so much over these years, yet wish I’d done more. And I really don’t feel any different to that girl in her vinyl mini skirt and big boots who left home to follow love, even though there is as much time between her and I as there was between her and the day she came into the world. Only what you see in the mirror changes, really.

In London, aged twenty-five…

Time, more than ever, seems to slip through my fingers. And I realise there is so much more I want to do and experience. I know I am fortunate to have choice, to have love, and to experience wonder.

And so, in fifty years, this is (some of) what I’ve learned:

Life is short

Children grow more quickly than you can imagine

Opportunities and people come and go

So dance all the dances,

Sing all the songs

See all the things

Visit all the places

Tell all the stories

Hug all the hugs

Watch the sunset

Watch the sunrise

Count shooting stars

And never, ever be ashamed of your age

Life is a gift, and to be here for another year is something to celebrate

Follow your heart

Your dreams

The wind

And see where it takes you

There is so much more, still, to do

Life, as much as possible, is to be lived. So look to the stars, to the night sky, to your dreams. They are free, and no one can take them from you.

We are stardust, after all…


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

Jack Of All Trades

IMG_0893I was thinking, the other day, about all the different jobs I’ve had. Apart from four months off after having a baby and a couple of months after university when I moved cross-country, I’ve worked pretty much continuously since I was fifteen.

So here, in no particular order, are all the different paying jobs I’ve had:

McDonald’s server

Strawberry Picker (a low point)

Retail Sales: Clothing, high-end shoes, leather goods

Visual Merchandiser – Full time and freelance

Fashion/Promotions Model

Admin Manager

Design Studio Manager

Golf Course Social Club Manager

Accounts Receivable

Signage Designer

Banquet Server/Bartender

Barista

Martial Arts Instructor

Hair Salon Assistant Manager

Print Production Manager

Talent booker

Art Buyer for an Ad Agency

Photography Producer

Gallery Assistant

Receptionist

Freelance Artist

Hmmm. That’s quite a long list. I am *ahem* a bit older than fifteen now, and I have moved around a bit, but I think it’s safe to say that I’ve tried my fair share of different jobs. However, none of them ever ‘took’.

Until now.

For the past ten years or so I have had the same job: writer. And I love it. I love the challenge of working with words, of finding the correct tone for each piece, wrestling the pieces into place so that I speak with my own voice, or that of my client. I love writing stories and sharing them, and consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to do so. Sometimes it pays quite well, and at other times I can work weeks for a pittance – but I enjoy all of it.

I don’t know that there’s much of a point to this post, other than the fact that I tried lots of different things until I found what it was that I really wanted to do. And, the thing is, I was doing it all along. One of my best friends from university, when I told her I was writing a book, said, ‘but you’ve always been a writer.’ Funny that she could see what I could not. So I look back on each of my different roles as learning experiences. Sometimes the only thing I learned was that I never wanted to do that job/work with that person again, but it was a lesson, nonetheless.

Perhaps we only come to things when we are ready for them. I know all the jobs I’ve had gave me different skills and made me the person I am now. They also gave me life experience to draw upon when writing stories, and taught me what I didn’t want from my life. It was one of my former employers who first took a chance on me, asking me to write something for them. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

So how about you? What unusual, awful or wonderful jobs have you had?

———————————————————————————————-

You can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ, plus check our my Facebook Page, Instagram and Pinterest Page for book info, photos, blogs and more…