New tricks for life’s second (or third) act


Your article on people who changed course in midlife (A stunning second act!, 26 August) shows that one is (almost) never too old to learn new tricks, although I would put a limit at, say, 70.

When I lost my medical flying category in the RAF at the age of 44 (I was a Vulcan pilot for some 20 years), I struggled to know what to do. I tried university, but the youngsters there got the best of me and I quit after a term. Then my wife got involved in politics and I ended up as her agent in the 1983 general election. We had to buy a computer to do the listing and mailings required for the election, after which (she came a good second) my curiosity led me to start to investigate what the machine could do. Out of cheek, after learning the fundamentals of WordStar and SuperCalc, I applied for a job at a local information technology centre. I was accepted, and before long I ran one of the branches. I then became head of information technology for a small local authority, retiring in 1999. I then went to France and built our own house at the age of 63.

Keeping mentally fit, I think, is the most important thing. I am 83 now and in the process of publishing my second book. Why not!