Over the hill–a term we’ve all heard, and on some level, come to fear. A quick internet search turned up a number of definitions with the most common being: past the peak of one’s youthful freshness and vigor; far along in life; old. This definition begs the question–are you talking to me?
I did more research. A few web sites said that “over the hill” applies to anyone twenty years older than you are. Interesting, but not very helpful. If you’re 90, it really doesn’t apply to anyone.
I continued my research looking for the definitive point at which one has indeed reached the apex. The Urban Dictionary says “over the hill” applies to people 40 and over because they have reached the climax of their life time and it’s downhill from then on. This left me wondering when I’d climaxed. Wouldn’t I know?
The most frequently cited age among the web sites I visited: fifty. A few offered vague platitudes about being as old as you feel. I’m not interested in namby-pamby wishful thinking. Regular readers know I’m all about the facts. So the definitive answer, based on my careful research over the last fifteen minutes is that one is over the hill sometime between forty and fifty.
Last month I turned 54. Any way you slice it, I’ve begun the slide to the bottom of the other side of the hill. In my opinion, going down the hill is a lot more pleasant and enjoyable than climbing it ever was. Going up the hill is hard work. To go down, you just stop, drop, and roll.
Yeah, rolling can be a little bumpy. Consequently, I visit various and sundry doctors a lot more often than I did on the way up. But I’ve got good insurance and make enough money to pay my medical bills–two facts that weren’t always true on the other side of the hill.
I’m comfortable with where I am in my career. Having done the same work for more than 25 years, I know what I’m doing and how to get the job done. False starts and dead ends aren’t the occupational hazards they used to be. Every time I think I’ve reached the peak of my career, a new opportunity comes along and much to my surprise, I somehow manage to surpass myself. I don’t expect this will change any time soon.
The biggest change on this side of the hill is that my work no longer defines me. Since turning fifty, I’ve developed interests that I didn’t have before. I’ve written two books and become friends with other writer’s via the Athens Writer’s Group. People tell me they enjoy reading my books and that sooner or later, I’ll find a publisher.
I’m in better shape than I’ve been for a very long time. I go to the gym practically every day, and the biggest surprise is how much I enjoy it. I’ve made lots of new friends through Zumba, and have moves I wouldn’t have thought about trying back when I went dancing every night.
Since turning 50, I’ve started running and am not happy unless I run for an hour or more three or four times a week. Again, the surprise is how much I enjoy it. I’ve even run in two 5K races.
If you ask me, life begins on the other side of the hill. Climbing is hard work. Once you reach the top, everything gets easier. Don’t let anyone tell you different. And if they try, tell them you read the truth here on…
My Glass House