On May 18th I turned 50. I guess that only happens once in a lifetime (along with every birthday). Some days I feel like I am 20, some days I feel like I am 50 and some days I feel like I am 80. I feel like I look 30 and often wish I was 80. They say age is only a number and, in many ways, I would have to agree with that. But there feels like there is something different about 50. I feel like 50 is when you become officially old. And there is no turning back. Thank goodness you only turn 50 once.
Part of me is so glad that I am 50 and not 18. I don’t know if I could face the world if I was 18. I suppose the good thing about being 18 today is that you basically have no idea what you missed out on and what the world used to be like. As a Canadian, I am 100% convinced that I grew up during the best times in the history of the human species. We didn’t grow up with many of the hardships of our grandparents and parents lived with. We missed the World Wars. We grew up with the best Saturday morning cartoons, music and daily personal freedoms. We experienced life before technology and social media. While many of the older movies may not have been as good as “some” of the movies made today all the TV shows are true classics (Dukes of Hazard, Magnum PI and Miami Vice to name a few). Going to the dentist now seems a lot more pleasant than my mom’s horror stories.
When I reflect on how life and society have trended from my childhood I am sickened and so thankful to not have kids. So sorry for today’s generation and what they will ultimately face before they turn 50. I have considered many aspects of society and I find not only virtually no improvements but trending downwards. The left and political correctness have successfully divided the people against each other. And in the name of “saving the planet” world governments are destroying the fabric of society with no accountability. Social media has exposed government corruption at unprecedented levels with zero accountability but we the people have become soft as long as social media can distract us from the real world. As a Canadian, in my lifetime one man is single-handedly wrecking one of the greatest countries in the world. Like I said some days I wish I was 80.
I have tried to live my life with no regrets but I almost find the harder you try living with no regrets the more regrets are revealed. Some regrets are the results of your own consequences; some regrets come with the hand you are dealt in life. As the days pass so it is harder to rectify the regrets. I have tried to live a life of risk and adventure and to follow my heart for fear of losing my heart. And after 50 years….? I still have no clue or purpose about my life or how I have arrived where I have or why I am even on this planet. No clues!
Some of my personal lifetime highlights are buying a house right before my 20th birthday. Turning a childhood hobby of keeping reptiles and amphibians in captivity into a wholesale/retail/educational business that at the height of its success had 13 employees. Much of my 30s feel like a complete right off. Getting my AZ truck driving license at 40 and successfully navigating the most difficult, hardest working and stressful job of my life driving 1.2 million kilometers crisscrossing North America. Biking 26,000 kilometers across Canada during the winter and Covid-19 through the USA and Mexico to Belize. And now trying to create a life these last 18 months by myself in the jungle. Where virtually nothing has gone in my favor and every day is a battle against the elements and the people. Reflection on many of my accomplishments causes me to respond with one word – meaningless. It’s all meaningless. I don’t say meaningless to take away from the experiences. I am so thankful for those experiences. I have also come to realize the great gift of not being able to take your possessions with you into death. What a blessing for those of us who have no possessions!
At 50 I have very much become disillusioned with the purpose of life and why I am doing what I am doing in Belize. On August 21, 2022, I wrote – It’s the thought of interreacting and meeting the hundreds of people that for one reason or another that will cross my path in the remaining time I have on the planet that will ultimately reveal their true colors that make my life so exhausting. There is a point where it is no longer about hurt or pain. It is about fatigue; it is about the sustained exhaustion of living long enough to have to meet another human being.
This morning, I write that they say that pain and suffering (what doesn’t kill you) makes you stronger. I am blessed that I have never experienced the pain and suffering of disease or physical affliction. That category aside, I feel like I have experienced enough personal grief and hardship and have already physically pushed myself to the point that I can now endure forever. And it is exhausting. If you have no purpose or direction in your life or have since lost that, how do you even know that you are on the right path? Because I can endure it all.
I also recognize the importance of attitude and that attitude makes all the difference. And that a shift in attitude is all that it takes. I see those videos of people who have overcome greater challenges and are still smiling. The reality is that I am too exhausted to reflect clearly on my attitudes. But am mindful enough to know attitudes can change. So, in the meantime, I push forward with that hope. What keeps me sane and motivated is nature and wildlife. I have no idea how so much of society lives without it. Every day my senses are blasted with nature and wildlife and the wonder of what I will see around the next corner. It truly makes life worth living.
I think my biggest regret and failure in life will be not marrying. Many a person just snickered. My statement is not reflective of the “need” to be with someone or the inability to be alone. I have been single for 90% of my life. I am quite content and prefer to be alone and anticipate on being alone for the rest of my life. But for me reflecting on the human experience there can be no greater experience or accomplishment than being a good spouse. None, except the sacrifice of one’s life for another. Is making a billion dollars the sign of a more successful life than a healthy marriage? If you have a billion dollars in the bank while you probably had to work hard for it but I suspect most of the effort was reflective of your natural gifting but also reflective of another dollar is never enough. And can you fit all 1 billion dollars in your coffin someday? How about climbing Mount Everest? Is that the accomplishment of a successful life? Who cares? Only about 800 climbers summit that mountain every year now. I think that there are many amazing human experiences but most of them are out of reach for the majority of the world’s population. But being a good spouse is not one of them.
I suspect many people believe happiness is the sign of a successful human experience. At least that is what I see reflecting on people’s attitudes and how they treat people. How they “treat people” is the key word. How many people at the expense of their partners happiness made their happiness their priority? With 50% divorce rates adding in infidelity and emotionally absenteeism. And the saddest part is the “happiness” they end up settling for. I suspect nothing will test you or challenge you to be the best human being you are capable of being as the commitment to a happy flourishing and growing marriage. And I believe that true happiness is found in serving your life partner. Anything else is settling for less. I have only been in two relationships the second ending in a failed engagement. God knows I did some goof ups but I always gave them my 120% effort and was intentional to never take the said relationship or person for granted. So many people take their partners for granted and have married multiple times all in the search for their own happiness. Its not often you see a marriage the way God meant it to be but when you do you just now that this is the pinacol of the human experience. Alas, the romance and trust in another human being I believe for me has died inside me.
In the interest in not ending on a sour note. I reflect on one of my stronger characteristics – ambition. While its hard for me not to consider ambition meaningless I still have it. Probably much of my ambition comes from my grandfather – John Voortman who started Oakrun Farm Bakery in 1979 when he was 51 out of horse barn (yes, a horse barn) and that business sold in 2007 with an annual revenue of over $115 million. Most recently Oakrun selling again in 2014 to Aryzta AG for $340 million.
There is still time for my attitudes to change. And God willing some of them just might change before its too late.
”What we do in life echoes into eternity”