What even is midlife anymore? As a little girl, I thought 40 was middle aged, but now I’m 50 and I think…am I there yet? The ageing goalposts have definitely moved and I think, overall, it’s a good thing. We are now supposed to be a nation of pro-agers and being ageist is just not tolerated anymore…is it?
I have to admit that I’m not sure if we all truly believe that age has no boundaries anymore. Of course, there are physical boundaries – yes, whatever our age we can keep as fit and healthy as we possibly can with daily walks, active hobbies and being around young people – to keep us young-minded. But we can’t always keep up…there is definitely the odd creaking of bones, aching of joints or even, just a little less energy.
Please note, I’m not dissing anyone here, I know that there are octogenarians running marathons and swimming the channel and I am the first to applaud such vitality and – dare I utter that Americanism….spunk! It’s true. But, unless you’re super competitive and motivated, most of us mere mortals would rather avoid taking the treadmill next to that super lithe 20-something that as been running on an incline for 20 minutes without breaking a sweat.
Also, tell me honestly, those of you who are over 45 – do you really feel you can keep up with your teens on the ever changing face of social media, for example? The way my kidults can flip through filters, message 100 friends at time – all in different groups and on different platforms – take professional looking pictures and upload them to Twitter with just the right hashtag in under 2 minutes, makes my head wobble! Trying to keep up with our family WhatsApp group chat has me and Stressed Husband bewildered – the kids are flying banter and memes back and forth thick and fast before we’ve even typed a misspelt, sausage fingered reply to the question: ‘Who stole the straighteners and where’s my MAC lipstick? I left it on my window sill!’
But…and I mean this positively…keep up we might not, but at least we try! And that, ladies and gents of a certain age, I think is the key to avoiding a midlife crisis…trying. At everything we do. I don’t mean it to be something that is laborious and painstaking. I mean, give everything a go – give it a try! If you like it, great – you’ve found something you like to do. If you hate it, well – forget it, at least you tried.
I just used the example of ever-evolving social media above as something that I try to keep on top of. I’m not bad at it at all and I’d put myself above average at it among my peers, but I do have my limits – just like my 78 year old mum has hers – flicking through Facebook, ‘hearting’ her grandchildren’s posts and even adding the odd ‘lovely picture’ comment 🙂 I’m happy with what I know even if it doesn’t compare to my kidults’ natural skills. In fact, I’d rather be able to understand a little bit of something than not have a clue. I’d rather say I’d tried at something than be left wondering if it’s something I could actually do, or would maybe wind up enjoying. It’s probably down to the fact that I’ve always been
nosy inquisitive – so FOMO (fear of missing out, mother) is something I don’t take kindly to.
In a really interesting article on Midlife Crisis, that I read in the South China Morning Post, Australian psychologist Timothy Sharp, founder and Chief Happiness Officer of The Happiness Institute (sounds a fun place to work! 🙂 ) had some great words of wisdom and said:
“If you feel lost or stuck or unsure about the future, you should try to clarify as best you can what your best possible life would look like, and then work towards making that a reality.”
I feel that this is absolutely a great way of looking at midlife. Remember too, It’s essential to not compare your life to anyone else’s because that stops you focussing on what is right for you and your life! I often look at high powered business women in their 50s and beyond and think ‘Wow! If they can do it, so can I’ Their lives look so glamorous and important. But, when it comes down to it, do I really want to be in a business meeting at 8am discussing financial matters and have to get somebody else to walk my dog around the beautiful park I visit every day? No. It’s not really for me. But there is an awful lot that is for me, that I can’t wait to try – surfing and open water swimming being just two!
So I say, if you’re on the trundling, creaky old train bound to Midlife Crisis, hop off and follow the signs to The Life You Want. You might not get all the way there, but you’ll feel uplifted giving it a go –and you’ll have fun trying!
What plans have you got for ‘middle age’- and when exactly do you think it starts? Let me know!