It all started with a dream. Sit and stare, think, Pilgrim. You are not getting any younger, what are you going to do with your life after 50? A few years before this milestone I walked alone, pondering. An ancient and steady voice – Socrates – came to me – “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Indeed it is not, and so in my middle years I strove for meaningful goals, wanting to enhance my own character. What, oh what could I do? How could I reaffirm my faith in myself? How could I find redemption in a life that was turbulent at times, cowardly and indolent? Oftentimes self-indulgent.
I feared my body was aging, deteriorating. Only a fool would try stop the sands from running out the hourglass. But I dreamed of holding back my decrepitude, dotage. If not the quantity of days, I surely have a say in their quality. And so I formed a dream, I would run a marathon on each continent in the year I turned 50. That way I could pay tribute to a body that was strong in its youth. That way I could still feed a curious mind. Many parts of my world remained unexplored and now here was a chance to travel to distant horizons.
Fifty is a great age, for I stood on the isthmus between youth and decline. Like the god Janus, I looked back on the past but yet I was realistically aware of the future. I still had strength enough for an epic quest, yet my days were numbered and my evening was drawing in. It was time. I gave care to my family and nurtured their growth. I cultivated a garden which was my work and it provided food for us all. For one year I would venture forth. I blazed around the sun for one rotation in search of my Soul. If ever I was to seek complete redemption, it would be in this dream.
My whole life has been cradled by a society that was generous and I could not embark without acknowledging the hands that opened themselves to me. Fifty was a great age, for it was a good time to return the many favours handed out in my youth. So therefore I would also raise money for the Hospice I worked for. Time to give back.
And so I made plans for that great year. But there was one more thing – is a life so small and unworthy that it should go unrecorded? I would also therefore write a book to tell this story. A love letter of sorts written to my children, so that they would know what is in my mind, what was in my heart. That was it then, a personal act of redemption. A physical trial by ordeal, an act of charity and a declaration of love. Would that be too big a dream? Ah – you have come thus far gentle reader, stay with me, we have far to go.