From a Writer’s Perspective at Fifty
Perspective at Fifty
Thursday will be my fiftieth birthday. I don’t mind turning fifty. I’m not dreading it, feeling like my time is past. I had a surprise party this past weekend that I helped Mrs. Right plan. (She famously quips that surprises are highly overrated.) I was insistent that anyone who dressed in funeral attire would be dismissed. To revise a quote from Gary Bertier in Remember the Titans, “I’m fifty, Coach. I ain’t dead.” Heck, I’m not even finished with my first year back in the classroom yet (though I am counting the days…).
I did get a couple of “old geezer” birthday cards, but I was able to laugh along with them. Especially the one that compared birthdays to the peaceful majesty of the Redwoods of the Pacific West Coast, standing tall year after year, century after century–and then thanked me for planting them. Well played, Jay and Michelle. Others encouraged me to look on the bright side by counting the fifty candles for this birthday as compared to the 1,275 cumulative candles. Cute, Mike and Heather.
I have also already heard the question that I have probably answered every birthday since about, oh, about my second: “So, do you feel any older?”
- No, I have about as much discomfort in my neck as I have had the last few months.
- No, my lower back is still a little tight.
- No, when I neglect to take ibuprofen before working in the yard all day, I still pay for it for a few days afterward.
- No, I am feeling the crunch of preparing final exams much the same as in December when I was the crisp young age of 49 1/2.
- No, I’m still having just a little difficulty maintaining the relentless optimism from my younger years.
- No, I still walk down to the printer at least once a week and return to my classroom without any paper in my hand. (Yet I know where my keys are…)
Pretty much like last week and last month and last year.
Writer’s Perspective at Fifty
I don’t mind the turning of the calendar to another birthday–even one with with a big fat zero at the end of it. I really don’t mind being a writer half a century old. My writer’s perspective at fifty is that I have one tremendous advantage over, say, my thirty-year-old self.
You see, I never struggle with writer’s block. Experience gives me a perspective of most situations that I wouldn’t have had when I was younger.
- The stories from my first book, Lines in the Gravel, would have been there to write, but the next generation wouldn’t have yet embraced them as part of their legacy.
- Most of the Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life) wouldn’t have even happened yet.
- Much of the foundation for Coach Dave Season One and Season Two: All-Stars from the player and coach perspective was there, but the all-important parent perspective have not been developed in my thirty-year-old self. Shoot, I hadn’t even been impacted by David Schmoll, the youth baseball coach who won the naming rights to my fictitious coach by the impassioned speech he once gave the Little Fella’s team.
I have at least four more books that I have plans to write. I have ideas for more than that. At this point in my writing career, I feel much closer to not having enough time to write them all that I do suffering from writer’s block.
So bring it on, Fifty. Let’s see what we can get done before fifty-one comes a-callin’. That’s my perspective at fifty.
About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.