How do you know when you’re middle aged?

I’ve been thinking about this over the last few days.

Is there a specific moment when you think “oh shit, how the blooming heck – and when – did that happen.”

And do you know what, if there is, does it actually matter?

Well I’ll go first and say “No of course it doesn’t matter.” Being middle aged means that you’ve survived life so far which is an achievement in itself. Sadly many folk don’t make it this far. We might have had to deal with a whole pile of shit along the journey but hopefully there have been plenty of good times too.

So let’s have a little think about things we may do now that we wouldn’t have dreamt of when we were younger. But before that – hold on tight as we take a little trip down memory lane.

As a teenager you will possibly remember:

  • Listening to Radio 1 on a Sunday recording the charts while making sure that you cut out the DJ’s boring talking bit with your finger hovering permanently above the pause button and mortified if you miss just a tiny bit of the song.
  • Carefully learning the words of said songs from Smash Hits magazine. Or do you remember when you used to buy a new album – whether a record (or vinyl as it’s now called for some reason) a tape or in latter years a CD – how brilliant was it when the words were published on the insert. You could spend many a happy hour listening to your chosen album and singing along to your hearts content – knowing you’re singing all the words correctly – no mistaken lyrics here and I bet you can still remember them now!
  • Covering your bedroom wall in posters carefully pulled out of publications such as Smash Hits, Jackie or Just Seventeen.
  • Remember when you used to play your favourite tapes over and over and over again. It was pretty much guaranteed that eventually the tape would work its way loose and get tangled so you’d end up with half of it outside the casing. This is where your pencil would come in handy – to carefully wind it back on and give it a new lease of life.
  • Did you ever bleach your hair, using actual bleach?! Just a little bit on a cotton wool pad to give yourself a few natural highlights. I remember it was a thing once where you washed your hair and added lemon juice to the final rinse* and sat outside for hours in the sunshine, frequently checking to see if your hair had lightened. Or did you ever use Sun-In? I was a bit scared of that one ironically but I’ll put my hands up to the first two!!
  • * Oh for those that might not understand final rinse, it was in the days when only posh people had showers and most of us had to wash our hair in the sink unless we’d upgraded to a rubber shower attachment that you could pop onto the bath taps.
  • Remember when photo booths were just for having fun in! (Were they?!) Now they seem to be just for passport or driving licence photos.

Well… I got a bit side-tracked there! I could have reminisced for ages but there’s a post for another day…

Now for the good news!

As a mid-life warrior, you’re more likely to:

  • Listen to Radio 2 and not care who knows it.
  • Know your own style. Appreciate what colours suit you and which ones definitely don’t!
  • Really appreciate music from other decades and not shun it because you think it’s uncool. I’d never really listened to music from the 1960s especially when I was younger, even in my twenties and thirties, I just thought it would be ‘old-fashioned’ I accidentally discovered Tony Blackburn’s ‘Sounds of the 60s’ show one Saturday morning and I absolutely LOVE it – the music is lovely, it’s not all rock and roll – there are some beautiful songs from that era. So if you’re ever up early on a Saturday morning, it’s on 6-8am, I’d definitely recommend it. Oh and it’s on Radio 2 – of course!
  • While we’re on the subject of radio shows, I also like Pick of the Pops (Radio 2 Saturdays 1-3pm) and Sounds of the 70s on a Sunday afternoon 3-5pm. Obviously I love lots of music and songs that are around at the moment too, I often prefer the radio to TV – is that another middle aged thing? Who knows!
  • Enjoy wearing clothes that are comfortable – at least in the privacy of your home. I’ll still change from comfy wear sometimes if I’m popping out on a dog walk. You can guarantee that if you wear your ‘comfies’ out the house, that WILL be the time you come across everyone that knows you!
  • Enjoy wearing shoes that are comfortable! Did anyone else ever wear stilettos with 4-5 inch heels?! I remember running for a bus in mine (white ones) once and completely twisting my ankle!! How did they comfortably stay on our feet too?! I’m not ashamed to admit that my favourite boots are by Hotter and actually so are my favourite sandals.
  • Accept the size you are and even though in your head you may wish you were a couple of dress sizes smaller, actually there are much more important things in life so it’s not worth beating yourself up over.
  • You’ll probably get more enjoyment from hanging out at home, or visiting gardens or garden centres or perhaps enjoying gardening. Isn’t weeding boring but actually quite satisfying if you can be bothered to do it – far more enjoyable than just hanging out in a town or shopping centre – unless you actually need to buy something.
  • It’s so much more enjoyable to meet up with friends for a cup of tea and a matter, rather than being in a club full of other people all competing to be heard above a load of music. Even better still if you treat yourselves to afternoon tea and make an afternoon of it.
  • You will hopefully feel more comfortable in your own skin and not worry about spending an hour doing your makeup. Yes we’ve got a whole loads of creases that weren’t there before but with a good skincare routine at least hopefully your skin will be healthy even it is a bit wrinkled. Tip – don’t bother wearing powder to set your makeup, just a light foundation or tinted moisturiser will make your skin look healthier and more alive!
  • You are quite likely to have a National Trust card there are some beautiful attractions to visit and if you have a membership card you’ll be contributing towards their upkeep as well as being able to visit as often as you like. Read about some of the fabulous places here
  • You’ll probably appreciate nature and history more, enjoy walks and take time to be immersed in your surroundings when you’re out on a walk. There are some beautiful sights to see and there are so many hidden gems if you enjoy visiting historic visitor attractions.
  • Enjoy just being. Take a moment when you’re at the beach – isn’t that the most special place?! Listen to the waves and watch the tide, it’s mesmerising and nature at its rawest.
  • You’ll have hopefully learned from past mistakes so won’t have time for idiots, you’ll realise they don’t deserve your time or space and thanks to social media it’s easy to block them and hopefully never hear from them again.
  • You may ache a bit and not be quite as nimble as you before but that’s normal. You might also think your hands look more like an old persons hands than a younger person’s hands but 40 or 50 years of being in and out of water is going to take its toll, think about a chamois leather, or maybe don’t!
  • You actually may be quite happy wearing clothes you’ve bought from a supermarket.
  • You will LOVE LOVE LOVE driving an automatic car – and wonder why you didn’t get one sooner.
  • Mid-life, according to different sources is classed as anytime between 45 and 65, although I’m not sure how many people live until they’re 130!
  • Fear not – being middle aged doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you’ll decide you want to go to the hair salon and ask for a shampoo and set. It also doesn’t mean you’ll opt for a blue rinse and start wearing baggy tights and a headscarf.
  • You also don’t need to drink sherry – unless you particularly like it!
  • It’s pretty much a certainty that you will have to keep a pair of glasses in your bag to read the ridiculously small print on most menus or products. But don’t worry you’ll be in good company!!
  • The most important thing is to remember that you do you! You do it best and you are amazing ❤️

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