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.
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.