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Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Joys of Middle Age Part 2.

Today is my birthday. I am forty-five. This means that if you laid me end to end I'd feel obliged to buy you a drink.

Seriously though folks, the fact is that if you joined two of me together you'd make NINETY. There can therefore be, in mathematical terms at least, no question that I am middle-aged. Some people recoil from the thought of being middle-aged, as if it were bearing down on them like Kay Burley on a grieving townsperson. I choose to embrace it. I am middle-aged. There, I said it. (Ooh, I felt a bit like Harry Potter when he says "Voldemort" then.)

This is the third birthday I've had since I joined Twitter. A significant achievement, I'm sure you'll agree. What with that and the Nobel Peace Prize it's been quite a week. Anyway, I have written a blog on my birthday each year since I joined Twitter. (You can find them here and here.) This continues that grand tradition and I am sticking with the same theme, namely The Joys of Middle Age.

Sexy Time

In your 20's sexy time could be the kind of frenzied romp that smashed the lampshade and pulled the curtain pole off the wall, or that at the very least made the neighbours think the mice in the walls were back, but it could also be bloody hard work. First you had to catch, kill and cook your boyfriend and who has time for that nowadays when there's so much good telly on? When you're knocking on a bit, and if you are fortunate enough to have a long term partner, you have, in the grand tradition of Blue Peter, one you trained up earlier.  Even if you don't have a partner possible quarry tend not to be quite so fast on their feet so, all is not lost.

Sexy time in your 20's could be exciting and wild, it could also mean putting a chair under the door handle to stop pervy "sleep walking" housemates attempting to join in. Now it's okay for sexy time to involve comfy trousers and a couple of walnut whips, maybe with some hot Tina Fey "30 Rock" action as an appetiser since of course you both fancy her. (Who wouldn't?) Most importantly though, in your forties you know what you want if you can get it.


Science has  proven that in your 20's it is possible to live off Tango, Monster Munch and ouzo without your internal organs behaving like the alien in, er, "Alien". In your forties you have to be a bit kinder to the ravaged temple that is your body.  I'm still not averse to the odd Pot Noodle but, whereas I once ate nothing but fried egg pieces for two weeks, now my fridge looks like a proper grown-up's with unusual vegetables and condiments that are not Branston pickle and HALF DRUNK bottles of wine. Good food is one of the glories of being alive and in middle age I savour it more than ever.

Personal style

When you get older your personal style is supposed to become more refined, classic. You are supposed to want to start wearing structural grey garments and statement jewellery. Sorry, not me. I increasingly want to dress like Sylvester Stallone's mother. If it sparkles or has animal print I am on it like Paul Gambaccini on an obituary. When I was younger I wanted to dress like everyone else. Now I want to dress distinctively. I'm not saying I always achieve it, but I dress how I want to dress and I couldn't give a toss if it's "directional".


I wrote something a while back about having recently re-watched Woody Allen's "Hannah and her Sisters". I watched it in my 20's and it washed over me like when your parents used to reminisce about when they were courting and you were thinking, "Yeah, yeah, great, now give me the twenty quid." This time it touched me deeply. I am not denigrating the friendships you have when you are younger. Many of my closest friends today were also my closest friends 20 years ago. But the weight of time does something to your knowledge and understanding of a person, compacts it like silted earth into much more precious material.

If you have read my two earlier birthday blogs (and if you haven't - Chop! Chop!) you will know that this is the bit where I tend to go a bit soppy and Hallmark greetings card. I make no apology for it. I am quite a soppy person.

I am middle-aged and I am glad of it. Being young is, or can be, fantastic.I loved it. I loved feeling free and doing crazy shit and learning and making my way in life. Of course I know I have been very lucky. Many people have dreadful hardship in their lives from a very young age. I don't know how I would feel about life if that had been my experience. I have been incredibly fortunate and have had a life filled with love and opportunity. Even so, you can't get to forty-five without the little of pebbles of sadness building up like stones on a cairn, and some days I feel the weight of it. Sometimes life doesn't go the way you want and it's hard not to rail against it and to force yourself to wake up and smell the coffee. But still, how glorious to open your eyes each day.