Yes, as the world is celebrating 50 years since man first walked on the moon, I am celebrating 50 years on this planet. A lot has happened since then.

Half a century is a long time to reflect upon, so I decided to focus on what is important to me – to take a leaf out of my own book when helping coaching clients. My special day focussed on what I enjoyed and cherished. I took the day off from everything – all of my work and businesses. I left the phone behind and decided a day without devices – a digital detox. My day started with a swim as normal, my son came with me which made it special – we cycled to the pool together. We arrived home to breakfast on the table – a real treat. We all meditated together – for some this was the first time. We walked across the Forest with the dogs, and stopped for lunch – another treat. I painted a canvas I had been planning to paint for years – more Picasso than Davinci – but we did it together – and it was done on my special day. Then we had a wonderful evening in the garden together with wholesome, healthy food (and a favourite dessert). There was no big event to organise, no crazy expense on presents and I didn’t touch a phone or device all day. This last bit wasn’t as easy as I thought, it is amazing how strong habits can be, as I walked past my phone my hand automatically reached for it, but I stopped myself.

My life like so many seems too often revolve around my phone and devices. The holiday home business requires me to respond to enquires – people seem to want an instant response when they are booking their holiday. Personal development – people want an answer straight away once they have decided to make a change, they want to do it now. Retreats, people need them when they decide and want an answer immediately. Funny, how in fact life continued all day – even when I didn’t touch my phone, device or even turn on the TV. No business was lost, nothing imperative left unanswered, nobody complained. I wonder how much of the pressure we face is real and how much are perceived or self-inflicted?

50 years since we made such a huge step, so many changes, ‘improvements’, developments, since man first walked on the moon, yet I wonder how far have we really come? Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, I’m sure would have been astounded 50 years ago about the idea of mobile phones, computers in watches and being digitally connected to ‘the world’, and beyond. Indeed, the computer in our mobile phones is apparently more powerful than the computer that NASA used to land them on the moon.

A number of the programmes on the TV to celebrate 50 years since that historic day detail some of the challenges Neil Armstrong in particular faced. We might call them mental health challenges today – we do love to label things. My understanding from the programmes is he wasn’t comfortable in the way his life changed. He wasn’t in control of the change and didn’t resonate with many of the expectations and demands put on him. He was an engineer and this is where his passion lay; he didn’t enjoy the limelight and cherished a simpler life – he bought a farm to try and get away from some of the pressures.

My reflection on my day is a giant leap for me – I have set myself a goal to have at least one digital detox day a month, I would like one a week, but am starting with small steps. It is important when moving towards a goal to set manageable, achievable steps to move you closer to achieving the overall goal. Many people never achieve their goals because the steps they set are too big and they become overwhelmed. This small step will move me closer to my overall goal of a life that reduces, and in the long term removes, the need to be digitally connected. Maybe a bit like Neil Armstrong I too am hankering after a simpler way of life. Technology and ‘advancements’ are great in many respects and help many, however not every improvement is good for all of us, at least not all of the time.

So, my reflection on this monumental birthday is to recognise what is important to me and make sure I look after my physical, mental and social health. Which for me means nurturing what I cherish, family, friends, nature and health. My learning from my special day is we;

Can always make time if we choose to, (the canvas is painted)

Do not let technology control us (digital detox is possible)

Value our loved ones and make sure we tell them (spend real time with them)

Understand what resonates with us and look after our own wellbeing (do what is right for you)

Enjoy what we have now, tomorrow life could change (live in the moment)

Are in control of our own life, live it, love it and if you don’t like it you can change it.

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