Midlifers are Revolting
At the age of 78 my Nan was admitted to hospital after having a mild stroke. After a couple of days she filed a complaint, insisting they had mistakenly put her on the geriatric ward ‘in with all the old people’.
I hear you Phyllis. At a comparatively sprightly 46, I have just completed a registration form and disturbingly found myself ticking the age bracket labelled ‘Mid Life; 45- 59 yrs’
Erm, excuse me – hello? There must be some confusion. Middle bloody Aged? That’s not me is it? I am young(ish) and vibrant(ish) I don’t yet feel the need to go on a cruise or harbour impure thoughts about Alfie Boe (although . . .)
Despite my indignation, I know there is mounting evidence for the prosecution; Cashiers and cabbies call me ‘Madam’ as opposed to Miss, the matronly looking blonde with the dour ‘resting face’ in photographs is actually me and my daughter continually asks me if I had TVs/cars/shoes in the ‘olden days’.
I am aware from the outside looking in, I am a middle aged woman.
But from the inside looking out, it’s just me. An idiot. Still debating whether to get a fringe, sniggering at willy jokes and desperately trying to sort out my pension.
Middle Age, Mid Life however you dress it up -? It sounds so, well, grown up.
I think this distorted stance is a hangover from my youth. Growing up in the 70s and 80s I equated middle age with media images of the time.; sitcom couples such as Terry and June, Howard and Hilda and, my personal favourites, the fabulous Margot and Jerry Leadbetter.
They all resided in safe semis in suburbia; they had hostess trolleys, jolly middle class neighbours and crystal sherry decanters.
But even outside the made up constructs of middle age, my parents, friend’s folks and other older family members, all reinforced the cliché.
On reaching their 40s they seemed to settle into their slippers and slacks. They had routines, knew about grouting and Tupperware. They headed to garden centres in the summer not Glastonbury.
But the times they are a changing – there’s a middle aged mutiny occurring. Mid life is being reclaimed …
We are resisting being type cast or pigeonholed. Mid life is not a static thing, a sort of limbo before old age kicks in – its whatever we want it to be, and very rarely what we thought it was going to be; I had a baby at 40 so have been dealing with career breaks, centre parcs and catchment areas , whereas my fellow Bearded Lady is regaining her freedom whilst proudly watching her teenage daughter forge her way in the world.
All bets are off and I am delighted. Don’t get me wrong, I am still astonished I have officially made it into the ‘mature’ category but one of the joys of getting older is that I care less.
I can go to Glastonbury and garden centres, still laugh at bum jokes and to be honest, I have always fancied a crystal sherry decanter.
So I will put on my big girl pants, get over it and ‘happily’ tick the Mid Life box.
How very grown up.