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Sunday 13 October 2013

Making The Most of Middle Age

Today is my birthday. I am forty six. Saying that out loud makes me laugh since it is so patently ridiculous, yet my mother and other apparently sane people insist it is true. Given that my age appears to be a fact of life, I gave some thought to middle age - the good stuff and how to make the most of it.

Every time is like the first time

I have read many books in my lifetime and the wonderful thing about reaching middle-age is that I can't remember the plot of any of them. Every time really is like the first time. Until you get maybe about half way through and then people's names and behavioural tics start to feel uncomfortably familiar. Same with sex.

Room for improvement

Frank Sinatra once said, "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning that's as good as they're going to feel all day." When you're middle aged the same applies to the way you look. You may wake each morning with a face like a dirt bike track, churned up and splattered with sun spots, but at least you have the satisfaction of knowing you can't look any worse. (Except for some days, when you do.)

Bucket lists

In middle-age your bucket list becomes shorter and more achievable. One of my new bucket list items is to ride on a Stannah Stairlift. There is every chance that this will come about quite naturally and with no effort at all on my part. What could be better? James McAvoy, in his shirt sleeves, making me an omelette, that's what. Probably have to put my back into that one a bit.

Modern life

There has never been a better time to be middle-aged. Beds are comfier, slippers are cosier, tights have in-built temperature controls also, LAKELAND!  Rock concerts are another example. So easy to use! This year I attended my first ever stadium gig. I was expecting a Woodstock vibe with naked nymphs getting high and writhing in mud. Thankfully, I couldn't have been more wrong. It was mostly cheery middle-aged people eating hot dogs and drinking coke like an open-air Costco.

Financial security

If you were lucky enough, or daft enough, to buy a house 15 or 20 years ago you will have sufficient equity that when it all goes tits up and it's Weimar Republic time, you'll be able to buy all the wheelbarrows you need to take your useless paper money to the bank. Trebles all round!

Losing your inhibitions

Dance like no-one's watching. Love like you'll never be hurt. Sing like no-one is listening. Drink like you don't loathe yourself.  Eat a Scotch egg in the street like a pure animal.   Middle age is very liberating I find, you lose your inhibitions. (Not to be confused with becoming disinhibited, which is all of the above but in your nightie singing, " Roll Out The Barrel". Been doing a bit of that lately, too.)

You get the gist. Now, brace yourselves, because here comes the soppy bit.

Growing older is often seen as going into a decline. I prefer to think of it as the ascent of a strange, wild, hill. An exhausting, exhilarating climb, sometimes striding out, sometimes scrabbling for a foothold, occasionally locking eyes with a stranger who may stay with you for a while. If you're very lucky, holding the hand of a small person till they're big enough to strike out on their own.

So, I've been climbing for a while, my breathing is a little ragged and I've been knocked about a bit, but the view is all my own and it makes my heart glad.

(PS Earlier birthday blogs can be found here, here and here. It's basically more of the same.)