Opinion: Contemplating the looming five zero

FIVEaa's Leith Forrest shares his worries and hopes on turning fifty.

WORDS: Leith Forrest, FIVEaa

So, the promotions boss at FIVEaa came up to me and said “they’d like you to write a few words for this great new magazine FIFTY+SA.”

I was a little taken aback. 

“Buuuuut I’m not 50. I’m only in my 40’s. I’m too young for that.” 

Then it dawned on me.

I’m 46. I’m almost 50.

50 has always felt OLD to me. Like that’s THE number. When you’re 50, you’re officially ‘old’. 

Even writing the word ‘fifty’ looks less old than the number 50. 

I don’t mean this to be disrespectful – it’s just the way I’ve always felt. I’ve always imagined that once you turn 50 your affairs had better be in order. Married, kids, house, stable job, plenty in your super, all by the time you’re 50. 

50.

Think of the number 50 in sport for example.

A cricketer doesn’t raise the bat, until they make 50. That’s the start. Now go on with it. 

In basketball, if a player drops 50. That’s a massive number. Jordanesque. 

In footy, the earliest milestone a player will get to run through their own banner is 50 games. You won’t get chaired off the ground, but it’s a substantial milestone. 

Hell, even the punishment for an indiscretion after a free kick was changed from 15 to 25 to, yep, you guessed it. 50!!! That’s the number. 

“I’ve always imagined that once you turn 50 your affairs had better be in order. Married, kids, house, stable job, plenty in your super, all by the time you’re 50.”

So now I’m worried, I’m not ready for 50.

Am I ready to go from young(ish) to old(ish)?

Being 50 you need to be mature, and I’m still not mature. My wife Jessica describes me as a “man child”—a 10 year old in a 40 year old body. I don’t eat my veggies. I drink eggnog not Cab Sav. I love bubblegum. I think a cheese platter is the absolute worst option on a dessert menu. These are not the behaviours of someone at 50. 

So, I’ve just been announced as the new host of FIVEaa nights after years with the station. So it does feel that after two decades my career is just starting, before I hit 50. Maybe that’s a sign.

Morgan Freeman’s big break was at 50. Betty White wasn’t a household name til she was on the Mary Tyler Moore show, aged 51. 

Maybe there’s some hope for me yet. 

Phyllis Diller once said, “life begins at 50”.

Let’s hope that’s true, because I’m about to find out.

I feel like I just need more time…

Leith Forrest is the new host of FIVEaa’s Evenings Programme, 8pm – Midnight, Weekdays


FIVEaa

fiveaa.com.au

@fiveaa

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