A road leading to gates to with trees on the right and houses on the left.

I’m six months into a new job. My father’s house is for sale. My son is living in Australia. My daughter is gearing up for GCSEs next year. My wife and I are looking at each other and thinking, this is the time we’ve been waiting for, and yet neither of us have clear plans. Her father died at the end of last year. She has a new job. There hasn’t been time to think about the bigger picture.

I’m writing (and reading) fiction again. I might have arthritis in my hips. I’ve set up a YouTube channel and restarted my Patreon account. A friend from university who I haven’t seen in twenty years died. I’ve finally established a meditation habit. The arthritis (if that’s what is is) might mean giving up my ideas of playing tennis again. There are opportunities and restrictions all around. The snowball is rolling and keeps getting bigger and faster. There is a wall ahead, but it’s out of sight, several decades away, or coming into sight this year, I don’t know.

The stakes feel higher. I’m in my fifties. This is natural. (I tell myself this.) People can die young, much younger than I am now, so my anxiety is laced with gratitude. I have a chance to take everything I’ve experienced, all the lessons I’ve learned, away from the pressures of establishing a home, a career, and raising children, to see what’s possible in the time I have left. I might have forty more years. I might have one. I don’t know. None of us knows.