"Why Lara In The Middle?" asked MrS?
"Because I am." I said. "In the middle I mean. The middle of life. Of stuff. Of my parents and my children"
Do you find yourself making small groaning noises as you bend over to pick things up; do your knees creak? Do you look for your glasses when they're on your head, forget names and complain about today's music? Feel like you live in a B&B because your kids treat your home like a hotel? Would you rather have a delicious red with a strong cheddar than stuff your face with Haribo?
Throw in second (third) marriages, blended families, caring for elderly parents, looking after our grandchildren and carving out our own careers, middle age is complicated, and probably nothing like we thought it would be. And somewhere in all this we are supposed to make time for ourselves. It's no wonder we all think an afternoon nap sounds appealing these days
Welcome to life in the middle.
Just two generations back, the lines in the sand were clear. Parents behaved like parents and children behaved like children. But post-war, suddenly children were living in a world where the rules had changed. Those children became adults in the free-thinking, liberated 60s and 70s and suddenly the generation gap is less obvious than ever.
Born to those free-thinkers, my generation have experienced exponential technological advances that Tomorrow's World could never have predicted. The mass production of the micro chip changed our lives and we've had to keep up or risk being left behind (or worse "irrelevant").
People are living longer than ever, the economy is overloaded, our children are living with us for longer than we ever lived with our parents, and our parents are living longer than theirs did.
We have become the Sandwich Generation - still helping our children whilst also looking after our parents. And yet... the opportunities for us are more than ever. We are masters of adapting to change - because we have to be. Some of us are doing jobs now that didn't even exist when we were at school. We think nothing of getting on a plane to obscure places; we can inject our faces with chemicals that stop us ageing (should we so desire); we should be healthier than our parents and grandparents because we have access to better quality food but we are less healthy than they were because of our fondness for junk food.
50 is the new 40 "they" say. For those of you who like to be precise, according to a YouGov survey earlier this year, Britons described youth as being up to the age of 29, middle age being from 48-70 and if you are over 70, you are officially old. Somewhere between 30 and 48 is a no-man's land of people living in denial...
" There were also those in the 30s range who felt confused by their lack of proper category - with 33 per cent referring to themselves as middle-aged, 32 per cent believing they fit into the youth category, and 30 per cent feeling they don’t fit in to any category."
The Independent March 2018
Sounds like it's time to suck it up kids.
However, the OED muddies the waters slightly by defining middle age as being "between 45 and 65": "The period between early adulthood and old age, usually considered as the years from about 45 to 65."
We need to celebrate middle age...and talk about it. It should be less about the number and more about the state of mind (although also, unfortunately, body). It's when we finally know our own minds. We should feel comfortable with who we are and what we look like. We shouldn't give a f**k about what other people think of us whilst knowing that doesn't mean we put ourselves first at the expense of everyone else. We are finally dressed for the party and the party is coming to us. And not a comfortable shoe in sight.
I'd love to know what your mid-life looks like. What would you like it to look like? Do we have it easier, or harder than our parents? (Just getting some future blog fodder from you all...) What do you think the conversation around middle age should be? When I first thought about beginning this blog, I had a look around... there's plenty of advice on pension planning with silver haired tennis players. Not so much about life. Let me know, we can carry this on later. Right after we've plucked out that rogue hair...right...there...