I turn 50 in the very near future and it seems I’ve done nothing but moan about it for the best part of the past 12 months or so.
Or rather, I was moaning about it, up to around 2-3 months ago, when I was listening to an episode of ‘The Life Lessons Podcast’, specifically the episode ‘Bitesize: The importance of ‘Being’ in a world of ‘Doing’’.
This podcast sees former sport journalist Simon Mundie hold discussions which reveal something important about life and how best to live it. His guests range from sport stars to neuroscientists, psychologists, and world-renowned philosophers and thinkers.
This shortform episode (just 10 minutes long) featured highlights from a previous episode, where Simon interviewed Liz Clarke-Saul. Liz was a para-cyclist for Britain. She was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called adamantinoma at the age of 12 and, at the age of 14, the disease resulted in Liz having her leg amputated. Liz went on to represent the Great Britain Cycling Team from 2014 onward, competing in Para-Cycling Road and Track World Championships.
The reason you will never again hear me complain about turning 50 (or any other landmark birthday) is solely down to Liz’s words in this podcast. I listen to a lot of podcasts, on different themes and subjects, and every now and again, I come across one which is so profound, it feels like I’ve been slapped in the face. This was certainly one of those.
It may be lazy writing though the best way of conveying the core messages is to transcribe certain parts of the conversation here:
‘A lot of people can focus on the negative things all the time.’
‘If people are moaning about getting old, and saying ‘it’s all downhill from here’ – those clichés you get when you hit a milestone birthday – I sometimes have to remember that they’re not living my life, and, maybe 30 does feel like the end of the world for them, but, actually, I do try to say to people that some of the things you are complaining about are a privilege. You know, we’re so lucky to be able to moan about having a birthday, and you shouldn’t be moaning about a birthday, and you shouldn’t be moaning about some of these other things. But I don’t want to become too preachy. But it is an absolute privilege to turn 30, or 40, because it means you’ve lived; you’ve had 30 years of life, and the chances are you will have many more, and that, in itself, is a privilege. If you are not making the most of it, that’s not fair on the rest of us who aren’t going to get to live to 50 or 60. If you sit there wasting all that time, you owe it to the people who can’t live that long to live those years the best you possibly can.’
It doesn’t feel like I need to add too much to this. It’s pretty obvious why I haven’t moaned once since hearing this. It’s pretty obvious why I won’t moan again.
Sadly, in 2018, Liz was told that her bone cancer had returned and was incurable. This interview took place in 2019, the year before Liz sadly passed away at the age of 31. However, her words will live on for many years. I’d highly recommend listening to the episode – it’s well worth 10 minutes of your time and confirms the importance of living for today and appreciating the simple things in life – those things which often turn out to be the most important things. The Spotify link to the episode is below:
As always, thanks for reading and take care.