Very recently I celebrated my half century mark. Yes, the kid finally turned 50. Being a guy who loves books means memorable events naturally remind me of memorable phrases in literature. This occasion reminded me of a passage in John Buchan’s memoir:
Sir Walter Scott had a pleasant phrase for middle life; he called it reaching the other side of the hill. It is a stage which no doubt has its drawbacks. The wind is not so good, the limbs are not so tireless as in the ascent; the stride is shortened, and since we are descending we must be careful in placing the feet. But on the upward road the view was blocked by the slopes and there was no far prospect to be had except by looking backwards. Now the course is mercifully adapted to failing legs, we can rest and reflect since the summit has been passed, and there is a wide country before us, though the horizon is mist and shadow.
At this point in my life, I no longer feel I have anything to prove or anyone to impress for that matter. It’s a nice feeling. I still have goals and dreams to be sure, but there’s less worldly ambition to them and more a feeling of what contribution can I make and legacy can I leave. My hope now is that I can offer something truly valuable to those around me and those on the ascent. I’m hoping I can offer that most important, but sometimes difficult, lesson in life: a sense of perspective.