Middle ages

When I was a child, people seemed old from their fifties onwards, the way they dressed, the things they spoke of, their ways and expectations. Anyone in their sixties was old old, and seventies were ancient. I really do think it is different now, that people are not just physically active and quite extremely active whether running marathons, skiing, or playing competitive sports, but there is a mental difference too. Maybe it was growing up with rock and roll, maybe it was the swinging sixties or the glam-rock 70’s, I think the majority of people past fifty are still in the prime of their lives… if they want to be. Even when people retire from their regular paid work there is so much to do, intellectually, physically, socially. Even if your income is limited, and even severely limited, there are many things available to engage in. The internet of course opens the world to anyone, whenever they were born!

So it was with some surprise that I read an article in which the writer claimed she was embracing middle age in her forties… OK, accept that you no longer have the weight or skin or dress size of a twenty-year old, you listen to Radio 4, accept that some fashion trends should be left to the twenty year olds, but really, forty is middle-aged? I actually think, as I read through the list of things which indicated to the writer that she was in her middle years, that it was rather pretentious and a little ‘aren’t I strange and eccentric, funny little old me!’

Included in her list are liking celery, having a see-through umbrella and a shopping trolley – a shopping trolley? She is approaching her mid forties and she has a wheely shopper? Maybe I’m past middle-aged and am now old and irascible, but I’ve always had a set of coasters to put drinks on to protect wooden tables and furniture from water marks, I’ve always liked celery because it grew in Cambridgshire where I lived as a child and was sweet and nutty and white and delcious. OK, I know the article was meant to be light-hearted but it just seemed silly, or maybe my idea of middle-aged and its associations are different from hers and other people’s. Maybe it’s me who is silly.

So here is her list of what makes her middle-aged:

  • having a see-through umbrella, a set of coasters and a wheelie shopper.
  • liking celery
  • liking opera
  • being prepared
  • liking solitude
  • not minding how you come across .
  • making seasonal displays



  1. david lewis

    I turned sixty six this year and the way I see myself now is totally different. It’s as if my past happened to someone else entirely. Somehow I can’t envision doing the things I did back when, being the person I am now. It’s so hard to explain but It’s not a bad feeling just a new one. Seems like I was carried along by circumstances and wasn’t the master of my own fate. Like an actor quoting somebody elses lines. My dad was thirty years older than me and I think that when I was thirty six I considered him really old and felt so sorry for him. Now I’m that old guy. What do others think of me. Should I care? It seems that when you have it all figured out nobody listens or cares. Not bitter though. Just glad to have the ones that love me.


    1. Lois

      Sixty? You’re a spring chicken, David! But I really agree with you – it’s so true what you say about circumstances and how you get swept along by things… So true!
      Although my dad was thirty-two when I was born, he was always ‘young’; he went through the war as a paratrooper so certainly saw some dreadful things, but he remained an optimist and with a great sense of humour, and was very modern in his outlook… his favourite singer was David Bowie, for example, and Paul Simon. It certainly is about mental attitude, I think.
      I guess because my kids are still young (I was an old mum) it has kept me in touch with things.


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