(Don’t) Push It

Trying to change career in my 50s is giving me panic attacks on top of my midlife crisis. I need to remember that I still have time to change.

Pete Tong, Arthur Fowler, Jacques Chirac and Leon Haywood in a shed, thinking about social media

I COULDN’T HELP IT –  I had to get out of the house.

My pulse was quickening, and I felt light-headed and anxious. So I slung a leg over the bike and raced to the allotment.

Like Arthur Fowler, I know that when things go well and truly Pete Tong, it’s time to head down Me Shed.

But why did I need consoling?

I’d been on Facebook promoting this blog, you see. And social media always does strange things to me…

Even a quick look on Facebook or Twitter – at the swirl of posts and the parade of people living their best lives – makes me feel unsettled:  

Are they real or Internet friends? I wonder. Do I know this person or not? And do I want them to be my friend?

But now I had really exposed myself by asking these same people to support me – and next to no-one given me a Like by the time I fled the house.   

I’m worried that – at 50-something – I don’t have that much time.”

When I got to the allotment gate, I was feeling well and truly fizzy.

I wanted to get stuck into something useful and distracting, but first I had to lock up my bike, change my shoes and then retrieve the gate passcode from my phone.

It was all taking too long for me: Internet domination. Running away. Feeling better. Everything.

And then, through the wild whirl of thoughts, came two weird but useful ones…

I remembered a newspaper line from a long, long time ago. About the former French President Jacques Chirac being ‘Europe’s oldest Young Man In A Hurry’, and I thought that sounded just like me.

Old/young man, in a hurry…

Then, the chorus from Leon Haywood‘s 1980 R&B smash Don’t Push It Fon’t Force It shouldered thoughts of Chirac aside.

Don’t push it

Don’t force it

Let it happen naturally

It will surely happen

If love was meant to be

And I realised that, while not delivered in my favourite styl-e, these were wise words. 

After all, almost everything that I’ve read about blogging says that you have to take it slowly, and build up a following through persistence and hard work.

But I’m worried that – at 50-something – I don’t have that much time.

I mean, how often do you hear about the middle aged storming the technology industry and cornering all the top jobs in digital content?

What also makes me impatient is that I used to write for a living – before bereavement, depression and parenthood somehow derailed me for 20 years.  And now, here I am, in a fever to make up for lost time.

It is, however, just possible that I have more time than I think.

Just as I wrote here that we haven’t yet invented many of the jobs that today’s primary school kids will be doing in 20 years’ time, who’s to say that there won’t also be new writing opportunities for 70-somethings by 2040?

We know we will probably all be living – and working – for longer, but that’s about it.

So, maybe I should use the time to work hard on my writing, and slooowly build up a following. By the time I’m 74, I could be one of a new breed of mature Influencaahs…

But, whatever I do, I must learn not to push it – and myself – too fast…

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