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Steps from 50

Steps from 50

This January saw me completing my 50th year and has launched me into what I am blithely calling My Next 50.   I fully realize that I have very little control over how many more I will live, but let’s just say my plan involves 5 more decades.

But how do you plan for that?!

I marvel at all the elements that went into those first 50 years; the growing, the learning, the family and friends, the books and music, the world events and cultural shifts that have accompanied and influenced me.

But most of all I marvel at all the choices.

The choices that I felt encouraged to take or was discouraged from taking are truly what have added up to me being the person I am, with the community, the friends, the children, the memories and the plans that I have. It’s pretty mind-blowing when I think about how this all accumulated and I feel filled with gratitude and awe.

But what about all those plans?

How do I now plan another 5 decades?

How do I ensure those plans will be given the best chance of coming to fruition?

I don’t.

Here’s what I choose instead:

While keeping very broad desires in mind like health, safety, purpose, loving, comfort, joy, I will trust that here and now is really where it all happens. I trust that the choice I make in each moment is what fashions each small step. I trust that those successive small steps create the uncharted path opening up as I move forward.

A pretty simple understanding; applying this to my life is where I hit the coalface!

This will demand of me a trust that I’m not entirely sure I have fathomed before, but which has been growing as I have learned, taught, grappled and played with the ideas I hope to keep sharing. A trust in my own abilities to notice, think, reason through, follow what makes sense to me in that moment and to let go of what outcome results as I move forward and continue to notice, think, reason through…this cycle never stops. Seeing it written in this linear form does not do it justice, but truly I realise that this process is vital to the cycle of living the rest of my life in the way that I desire to live it.

There is a saying I grew up with: “Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.” I frankly always railed at that adage, thinking it ridiculously naive and I certainly never followed its advice. I wanted to dream big and not bother with the small change. I wanted to take the big strides, not the small, disciplined steps.

But if there is one thing I have learned in 50 years it is that if I take care of the small (even seemingly insignificant) choices in my day-to-day life, and if those choices are made in line with what is in my heart of hearts true to me in that moment, then my future (an hour from now, or a decade) will be created by those choices and will have a much higher chance of including satisfaction, health, purpose, love, joy, comfort…

Much as I feel a little embarrassed to be sharing such a simple and obvious truth as News!, I think it is likely not just me who has needed years of learning to reveal this principle.  It is probably not just me who has been caught up in believing the “When I” principle of life: “When I am rich”, “When I meet my perfect partner”, “When I am fit”, “When I finally believe in myself”, “When I quit this addiction”, as if that time in the future holds all the promise and reward.

The secret really is in being me now and finding satisfaction and joy in the here and now. Not without desires and dreams, but without attachment to them being the Holy Grail of happiness or success.

I have wasted too many hours of my life dreaming of “When I…”, instead I choose “Now I…” and will see how the next decades unfold.


Original Painting by Shayna Stonehouse




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