This June sees my personal golden jubilee, 50 years of Jeremy Askew.
It feels like that last 50 years has been one of unbelievable change, the switch from an analogue to digital world and the explosion of globalisation are seismic for humankind.
We already live in the era of mass information, artificial intelligence is happening right now, and the possibilities look greater than ever. The future looks very bright to me.
We also live much longer, have fewer wars, less poverty and disease and “the people” are getting together to foment change in ever increasing numbers.
My own 50 years feels to me like it breaks down into quite neat chapters. Here are some personal reflections:
My childhood ended abruptly at 18 on leaving the family farm and arriving at Bristol Polytechnic for my BA (Hons) in Financial Services. This was not the experience today’s students have. Nothing was that serious, least of all the education. University felt like something to do before you got a job and any sort of degree got you that.
Not being career minded or particularly motivated my twenties were a partying blur, interrupted by serious relationships, significant illness and death. Nothing much was achieved in my twenties.
I was not off the rails, but I could hardly be said to be on them. It seemed the same for many in my peer group too. Although, by this time I now realise the peer group was self selecting; the sensible and motivated were peeling off and settling down.
I celebrated the end of my twenties by embarking on a year long lap of South America. It was an amazing time but, whatever I wanted to get out of my system did not leave it judging by my thirties.
At the time though, it felt like my thirties was me getting it together. I was making career moves and being proactive. But my choices were not good and not made in the right frame of mind.
I look back now and think, well, there was a reason for it. Could I be where I am now without that?
By now all my sensible peers had peeled off and become settled. My resistance to that was strong and, midway through my thirties, I escaped to India and Sri Lanka for a year.
Sometime in my thirties I started reading what might best be termed “self help” books avidly. I surmise that I must have had a light bulb moment, and that this was my effort at changing tack.
Nonetheless my forties have been tumultuous. The big highs of children and starting TCFP have been coupled with personal lows, but, overall, my forties were rewarding and much more serene.
I continue to read avidly, but now more widely, I am on about my 20th book this year as I type. Importantly I am more accepting of myself and in tune with what does and does not work.
I am more settled and happier than I ever remember. I feel positive, enthused, energetic and focussed. The next decade feels certain to set up the three or so that will then follow.
There still is not much of a plan or a structure to where I am headed, what I do know, with the peace of mind I have found is that I can trust my instincts and decisions much more than I ever have been able to.
So, although the world advances at a dizzying pace I find myself having gone back to where things make most sense – the present moment.
For all the complexity the world can appear to through at us, the simplicity of the solutions to the inevitable trials and tribulations we face astound me more and more.
So, that is where I have arrived after 50 years, about where I was 48 years ago – looking at the world in wonderment and feeling complete peace of mind most of the time.