On the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, the always-insightful Phil Gyford looks back at his life, the decisions he’s made, and what he’s learned.

“A decade used to seem like a huge chunk of time – after all, so much had changed between the ages of 10 and 20 – but now I realise how quickly each one whizzes by. And, ssshh… the rumour is that they keep getting quicker.

“So I can see that, from the point of view of someone in their twenties, 50 is officially Old. But 50 is only about half-way through adult life, give or take. There is lots of life left. I’ve only done half of what I’ll do. In theory.

“So, anyway, how have the past 50 years gone?”