The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

Members Musings January 2018


By Fiona Trowbridge

Growing Old Disgracefully

I’ve recently hit a mile stone – at least that’s what they call it when you have a big birthday.  However, I don’t feel any sense of achievement at reaching that age nor do I feel the chronological age I’ve been assigned, so how is one expected to celebrate such an occasion?

I believe the normal ritual would be to gather with a group of people, called friends, although some would undoubtedly be on my ‘limited view’ list on Facebook.  I would be expected to wear uncomfortable shoes, usually known as high heels and don clothes that I’d find particularly restrictive; in that I wouldn’t be able to partake in parkour should I feel inclined. Conversations would be stilted until lubricated by alcohol and elderly relatives would point at my friends while talking loudly and derogatorily about race and homosexuality. This would be endured for 5 hours or more, until the last inebriated ‘friend’ stumbles into a taxi. Only then would I be able to relax, fall into bed and get on with life as normal, aged 50 and 1 day.

As you can probably tell, that kind of birthday celebration didn’t appeal to me but the pressure was on as friends and family started asking me how I was going to celebrate my ‘big’ birthday.  Some people asked excitedly if I was going to have a party – they would be the ones who enjoyed the scenario above.  Others asked if I was heading off to some exotic location as I had been known to do in the past.

I thought about it a lot but as it drew closer, I moved further away from either of those ideas and decided on celebrating my birthday for a whole year. A birthyear if you like.

I came up with a plan and decided to do 50 personal challenges.  Some would teach me new skills or overcome a fear; others would develop things I’d already learnt or try out something new.

It wasn’t as easy as I thought coming up with 50 things that I’d never done before.  They also couldn’t cost too much or I’d be adding ‘make yourself bankrupt’ to the list before the end of January.  They also couldn’t be challenges that would take a long time or I’d still be completing the list by the time I turn 60.

Initially, I managed to generate 29 experiences before starting to discuss the idea with friends.  To my surprise they were as interested and enthusiastic about the challenges as I was and offered numerous ideas, none of which, I’m glad to say, involved parties or long haul flights.  Although a few of them couldn’t get away from suggesting I eat live insects and other such delicacies but I blame that on the recently aired I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here.

As you read this, my list will be almost complete and week by week, I will be updating my Just Giving page with pictures and stories of my progress.   The idea seems to have inspired others to think about birthdays in a different way and I’m pleased to say that 4 other people have come back to me and said they are now creating their own lists.

So my challenge for you in 2018 is…When was the last time you did something for the first time?

posted under Members Musings

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