My birthday was last Monday, oh the joy of having a birthday after Christmas.
It’s an afterthought, really, but total praise to my wonderful family, who went the extra mile this year with some gorgeous gifts that made me feel exceptional.
Sadly January starts with my annual pilgrimage of no drinking for the month, referred to as dry January and a challenge it most certainly is as alcoholchange.org.uk. describe on their website.
This birthday was no different to others, a contumacious refusal to accept that I am no longer 35 years, and a denial to act my age.
However, despite what I feel about the number, being middle-aged affords some benefits.
Here are ten reasons why we, as middle-aged women must embrace our moment.
You don’t have to produce any ID when buying alcohol or accepting a supermarket delivery at home.
It is the ultimate compliment if you get asked to show your ID.
Menopause gets you out of trouble
If you unwittingly walk out of a supermarket with a banana in your pocket, blame menopause. The security guard will take pity, and most likely, they’ll have no idea what it is you’re talking about.
You don’t have to worry about impressing your peers with the correct dress code.
Remember when everyone at school wanted to dress like Adam Ant?
Your peers would laugh at you or send you to Coventry if you looked different.
Menopause means that those days are long gone, and you are free to be the authentic version of who you want to be.
How wonderful is that?
Besides, if you decide to wear a kimono with plastic shoes and a wig, no one looks at you twice.
Millennials and Gen Z, think anyone over 40 is old.
Slower and wiser
I told my son to slow down and embrace life more than he does presently.
I explained that sometimes you need to slow down to go faster; he looked at me as if I was mad.
But two days later, he reported that he understood.
It really works, slow down and approach work objectively and methodically, and tasks appear to be defeated quickly.
Why do you want to drive fast or rush around?
How many car crashes do you see a week because some kid is rushing to get somewhere?
Pity the person who speeds when slowing down enables you to take in the scenery.
Since working from home full-time, I hardly use the car.
Using the car is an adventure, and I want to take in the scenery and see what has changed.
Everything seems fresh and new when you’re not racing to get from one place to another.
We’ve lived longer, which means we have more experience and are wise enough to offer sound advice.
The problem is when you try and impart that advice to the young adults in your house, they look at you and say, ‘yes, mother, I know I googled it’.
Is Google the utopian search tool for all youngsters?
God’s waiting room
You understand your priorities better and know that time isn’t infinite.
You get the importance of the time you have left on Earth, and age has helped you understand and appreciate your parents.
You understand them better, and they now make sense because you have children; you know what they went through raising you.
Love yourself more
By middle age, you’re partway to accepting and loving yourself, accepting the fact that you might not be the svelte size 8 you aspired back in the day.
It is a work in progress, mind you, because you’re still hoping that you can cut a dash in that LBD.
I feel fitter and better in my fifties, and I respect what my body has been through, experiencing two caesarian sections and a myriad of health issues that followed.
In my twenties, diets and excessive exercise were punishments I enforced on my poor body to pursue a size that my body could not accomplish.
What I mean is with age, you learn to adapt and adopt, you have a better understanding of your body. After all, how well you look after it now will reflect in old age.
I am amazed how my body tells me that it needs something sweet, time away, a brisk walk, yoga, a cup of tea, and it wakes me to listen to the latent cuckoo.
Why didn’t I heed my body in my twenties?
Age is only skin deep
Middle age means clear and fresh-faced skin, although I put more wrinkles down to laughter lines or years of frustration living with two boys.
But the great news is you don’t need to wash your hair so much.
In your late teens and twenties, a hangover lasted a day.
Middle age has extinguished that pleasure as it takes a week to recover from alcohol abuse.
I noticed the decline in my drinking abilities at fifty plus holidaying in Spain, then staying up until the early morning was a no brainer.
We would walk home and watch the sunrise hangover abated as the night meant we’d seen it off.
The thought of pulling an all-nighter is impossible. My bed offers me a blissful retreat.
With middle age, there are few surprises left and minimal expectations besides, like interest rates, they remain reasonably low.
The friendships you forge in middle age are probably the most important.
It is they who will see you through thick and thin; divorce, separation, children leaving the nest, ageing and ailing parents and are vital to my wellbeing.
Sadly I have lost touch with the school and university friends, and not even Facebook or my alumni have enabled me to track them down.
Flung to different corners of the Earth, my mum’s wise words resonate with me.
You will meet and make many friends and acquaintances in life, but your true friends you can count on one hand.
Just look at sex and the city, the new revival Now, just like that, fictitious maybe, but friends are instrumental in middle-age.
While leading experts indicate that middle age begins at 55, it starts whenever you want.
We don’t need to be categorised or labelled.
It is, after all, a state of mind we are young in attitude and outlook and while we wistfully reflect on what we might have been, let’s give thanks to the glory of middle age our wisdom and knowledge.