60 years of wisdom: ‘Life is a zig-zag, a joyous adventure, and enhanced every day’

Country Mouse — in the form of Country Life's Editor-in-Chief, Mark Hedges — celebrates a special milestone.

Mark Hedges has edited Country Life for 18 years; his recent appearance on the Country Life podcast shares some of the many highlights of his time at the helm. And as he approaches a milestone birthday, he penned these lines for the magazine’s perennially-popular ‘Country Mouse’ column. It’s a lovely little piece full of positivity and inspiration, and one which we share here — partly to be able to add our own birthday wishes, mostly for the sake of the message itself.  

I shall pass my 60th birthday this weekend. I wish I could fully embrace the ‘it’s just a number’ club, but, these days, I can’t see without glasses, I struggle to hear in restaurants without hearing aids — which I started wearing last week — and have a much-postponed date (cowardice on my part) looming with the dentist. I am not the man I was.

But these are all trifles and fixable: what being 60 has also taught me is that I now know much more about life than when all the physical bits still worked properly. I can now, for instance, distinguish between the song of the robin and the blackbird, I can cast a fly to a rising trout, prune roses, carve a joint of beef, distinguish between Brahms and Beethoven, quote a little Shakespeare and make a mean Victoria sponge cake. Life is enriching and, with the world in turmoil, these little things seem increasingly important.

I was told last week that I have edited this magazine for more than 900 issues, which astonishes my teenage self, as my school and university qualifications are utterly unsuitable for this role. Life is a zig-zag, a joyous adventure, and enhanced every day.