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Thursday 13 October 2011

The Joys of Middle Age

Today is my birthday, so I am writing a birthday blog. I wrote a birthday blog last year (here it is) and have decided to make it an annual event, like Stephen Fry leaving Twitter.

I am 44 years old. So far, being 44 is jolly nice. I even like the number itself. I like its symmetrical elegance. Also I rather like the fact that, being half of 88, it is properly middle-aged. Poor old middle-age gets rather a bad press, most unfairly in my view, so I've decided to rectify that by promoting just some of its many joys.

Many middle-aged people bemoan the fact that you become invisible - especially to younger members of the opposite sex. This is undeniably true, but I have always found it to be a great advantage when shoplifting in Abercrombie and Fitch. So, y'know, swings and roundabouts.

I once heard a kid at a bus stop say " Primary 6 was the best year of my life. Apart from primary 7." Proof, if it were needed, that young people are rubbish at reminiscing. They just don't have the material. We have cremola foam, Raleigh choppers, "Poldark", the three day week, Wimpey Bars and punk. What do the young un's have? The Maastricht Treaty and combat trousers.

Probably the best known advantage of middle-age. Why only yesterday a workman passing by whistled loudly and shouted "Look at the wisdom on that!" At least I think he said wisdom. It might have been "arse" and he might have been pointing at the twenty year old blonde next to me. No matter, I think I've made my point.

The advantage of having been around a bit is that you can turn your hand to most things. Plus your girdle makes an excellent temporary fan belt when you break down on the motorway.

Inner Resources
Young people seem to need to be constantly entertained. They lack the inner resources of the middle-aged who can find contentment in themselves or at the very least in idly doodling whiskers and a tail onto the liver spot on the back of their hand.

The Element of Surprise
In the office I was one of those middle-aged working mums who sat in the corner in an ill-fitting suit from Next, typing like a maniac while picking lego out of my hair and whispering aggressively down the phone about mashed potato and ointment. What joy then to turn up at the office party in heels, lipstick and NASA engineered cleavage and regale the juniors with tales of being on the tour bus with Debbie Gibson, before drinking them under the table and cartwheeling off into the early dawn.

Of course, if I'm honest, middle-age is not all beer and skittles, though there's a fair amount of both involved. The onset of physical decrepitude isn't always a barrel of laughs, and the lightness of being that settles on us in moments of pure happiness can be ever more fleeting. But middle-age still has many joys, chief among them that you're not dead yet, for which I remain eternally grateful.


  1. Great stuff. A very happy birthday to you.

  2. Happy birthday from a fellow 44-year old. I didn't used to like wolf-whistles anyway - they stopped for me the minute I started pushing a pram. I like to think it is out of respect they stopped.

  3. Witty and truly lovely... 'and have decided to make it an annual event, like Stephen Fry leaving Twitter.' Heh!

    Happy birthday!

  4. Love this. Just posted a link on our blog. Right, back to work.

  5. Well, belated Happy Birthday! Just found you via Charlie & Caroline's blog. A great piece about being 44 - I still have 3 more months of it to enjoy before 45 comes calling! Hmmm drinking the young ones under the table and cartwheeling off brings make many memories of office parties gone by! I'm now a mum at home, so the only office parties I go to are that of the Huzz (and I sure have disgraced myself at those in the past!). Oh well .... I'm 44 so what do I care?!

  6. Many thanks for the comments and apologies for not posting them earlier because I was on hols. #excusesexcuses It is always lovely when something you write seems to strike a chord. It is reassuring to know that there are are so many people of great taste and discernment out there. :) I think what this shows is that middle-age is a) fairly common and b) can be quite good fun really. Next stop is to launch a club for middle aged people - songs with tunes, recliners and tea and toast. Let me know if you're in. Thanks again.

  7. I loved being 44. Now a tad older - but still love beer and eating Skittles. Wise words Absurdist. :)

  8. Coasta Therapies Re being wise. Takes one to know one. x

  9. Happy Birthday. I've been 44 for nearly half a year and it's not half so bad.

  10. Thanks Ellen. :) For a moment I thought you said you had been 44 for a year and a half. "That's a good idea" I thought.


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