Thoughts From The Prancing Pony – Life Begins At Fifty?

I turned fifty a couple of months ago. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, I don’t look a day over 40. At first, I was dreading the event, thinking I was effectively signing my own death warrant. It was all downhill from there and I’d nothing to look forward to bar my body gradually falling apart and becoming more forgetful. I was tempted to raise the white flag on my running, writing and everything else I aspired to be good at. I’d left it too late and run out of time.

Last night I coincidentally reached Page 50 in my re-read of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. I’ve set myself the target of finishing it by the end of the year, at a projected pace of seven pages a day. I last read the books as a teenager many moons ago and am already amazed at how much I overlooked, or more likely, themes and messages that my younger brain was simply unwilling, or unable, to digest.

Bilbo Baggins is fifty years old when he first sets off on his adventures in ‘The Hobbit.’ Now, I know it’s difficult to compare hobbit and human ages as the former far outlive the likes of you and I. Bilbo is celebrating his 111th birthday at the beginning of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ and Frodo has come of age at a sprightly thirty-three. But it still struck a chord with me. Life really only began for Bilbo Baggins when he turned fifty.

What I had also forgotten was that following Bilbo’s mysterious disappearance at his 111th birthday party, it was another seventeen years before Gandalf returned to the Shire to explain to Frodo the significance of the ring he had inherited from his Uncle Bilbo. The one true ring, the ring to rule them all. So, aged fifty, Frodo set up with Sam, Merry and Pippin on his own incredible adventure.

I’m no hobbit and I’ve no immediate plans to down tools and set off on a quest to battle dragons and unearth treasure troves. But it did encourage me that there is still plenty of life left in this middle-aged dog yet. I have mountains to scale and paths to walk, we all do. When at your lowest ebb, we must all remember this. Age is no barrier and I’m determined to keep pressing on, to find out who and I am and where I’m meant to go.

Next time, I’ll continue to unravel fresh insight and meaning from this most wondrous of tales. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea but I encourage you to stick with me as I follow the journey beyond the Shire into the lands of dwarves, elves and men. There is much ground to cover and much more to learn. Thank you for reading and feel free to comment below with your thoughts and opinions.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

25 thoughts on “Thoughts From The Prancing Pony – Life Begins At Fifty?

  1. My husband and I recently re-watched the movies. I recall reading the books as a young girl and they were wonderful. I am happy to join you on your journey!! As a 55yr old, I get younger with each passing year. I think that comes from working in a middle school.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its interesting when you see the subtle(and not so subtle) differences between the movies and the books. Indeed the length of time between Bilbo leaving the shire on his birthday and Gandalf explaining the ring to frodo is a great example. Looking forward to the next stop on your journey.


  3. Age is just a number… You are as young as you feel. I’m not sure I got past 21 mentally (which might explain a lot!) I was due to run a rather hilly half marathon tomorrow, but a heel injury sustained 2 weeks ago has scuppered that. So keep running, writing and whatever else you enjoy while you can!


  4. I find that re-reading classic or close-to-classic books that impressed me the first time is an even more rewarding experience. Life/age brings perspective that is so apparent in re-reading a good book. Enjoy! (especially Gollum…)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah I love the hobbit trilogy and lord of the rings! What a journey indeed! I’ve never read the books. But am intrigued now. I could deff handle 7 pages a day🙏🏼


  6. I first read TLOTR and The Hobbit at 30. I retake the journey every few years and it is always amazing. I reread classics regularly because they always have more to give. Enjoy 😉


  7. I can’t remember much of the Lord of the Rings either so I’m sort of reliving the books through your brief retellings.

    I’m only 32, but I’ve only recently started putting concerted effort into recording music and finishing books. I think ‘I’ve left it too late’ nearly every time I type something, or find a musician ten years younger who seems like they were born with their instrument in their hands. We are the only person we need to compare ourselves to. And not in a negative ‘I haven’t achieved enough way’, just as a marker to know which direction we’re pointing.

    You seem like you’ve got your priorities and direction sorted. Keep it going my friend. 😁


  8. Love this (and the Hobbit). My crisis year was turning 40 – the year my oldest would turn 18 and my youngest turn 13. I didn’t know what I could do with the rest of my life if intensive parenting was about to end. God answered in spades! The last 20 years have been full of adventure, challenge, recovery, and loving people. Enjoy each decade!


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