50 Challenges is about celebrating our time as we enter mid life and push on.
50 Challenges is about celebrating our time as we enter mid life at 50. That's why it's 50 Challenges. But there are also key reasons why it's not 20, 30 and 40 Challenges, from our founder, Siobhan Stirling.
It’s a combination of:
Time (or lack of it)
Reclaiming our identity
I didn't have the vision or life experience to develop something like this in my 20s; I don't think many people would. I also didn't have the necessity: I didn’t have the need to create adventure and set myself goals. After university, I spent a couple of years travelling; I had two years of exploration and experience under my belt. Like most other people, I also had a very obvious – and very large – challenge ahead of me: establishing my adult life, working out what I wanted to do and where that might take me. I didn’t have the vision to create something like 50 Challenges, because I didn’t have the need. And that’s why it is 50 Challenges; because it is to do with the added vision, perspective and horizons that can only be achieved with a few decades under your belt.
Jobs, careers and the need to earn money are dominant forces for most us during our 20s and 30s; it’s a period when we have to put in long hours to get established and pursue our professional dreams. And just when we’re beginning to realise them, we fall into the most time-sapping role of all: parenthood. I remember, in the early days of parenthood, struggling to get time alone to go to the toilet! Trying to read a book was impossible, while the notion of indulging in the hours required to pursue an endurance sport was completely incompatible with the hands-on requirements of bringing up a family (and juggling going out to work to be able to feed them).
But family dynamics change as children grow. Parenting becomes more intelligent; in some ways, this can be more demanding: you are no longer needed for nappy changes and nose wiping, but you have to be on hand for homework and emotional crises. But when offspring lurk in their rooms on devices communicating with the thousands of online friends while ignoring their own family, they no longer require the same 24-7 commitment.
It’s at this point, as we approach mid-life, that most of us (except those who have children late) begin to enjoy a re-found time freedom of the sort that we haven’t had since becoming parents. So 50 Challenges are in part a celebration of this new time freedom, which most of us simply don’t have during our 20s, 30s and 40s.
For some of us, this new time freedom is a wonderful liberation; we relish the idea of re-defining our identities beyond the roles of career and parenthood that have defined us for so long. For others, this redefinition begs unsettling questions, rather than providing answers; what is our identity when it no longer revolves to the same extent around our children and our professions? This can create confusion and a sense of loss, or even grief.
Whether you are approaching mid-life with a sense of celebration of re-found freedom or uncertainty, our 50s and beyond are our time. 50 Challenges is about celebrating this. It’s about taking control of defining our next chapter for ourselves. It’s about inspiring, supporting and celebrating one another as create the blueprint for the next chapter of our lives.