• Helen Ferguson

Do I Feel Middle Aged?


A lot of people have asked me, “What counts as Middle Age?”

That’s fair, I’ve launched this platform, so how am I defining it?

Come on clever-clogs, give us a framework!




WWWdotty


So when I was first nailing down my niche, my target audience, I did what everybody does,

and consulted the all-knowing internet.


To be frank, the World Wide Web couldn't be certain what ‘Middle Age’ was.

(I think the phrase ‘world wide web’ might be a bit of a give away for starters....)


It knew what it wanted to sell to Middle Aged people.


It knew that it wanted to represent Middle Aged women in a certain way,

But I couldn’t find a definitive guide to when Middle Age began, or when it ended.


I made an Executive decision (how unlike me !!) and mashed all of the opinions together.

For the purposes of ‘Her Middle Age’, I have decreed that Middle Age

is from the age of 45 to 65.

If someone older or younger wants to read these pieces, great, if they want to join in conversations,

welcome aboard!

I just needed a framework to work within.


The obvious next question I get asked is;

"Do you feel Middle Aged?"


The answer is “Oh definitely, Yes”

Followed by “Good grief, no!’

And settling eventually on a slightly reflective…. “A bit, I suppose, sometimes.”




But how do you feel?


The thought of being Middle Aged is usually quite glamorous in my head:


It’s a period of your life when you’ve learned a lot of stuff that other people find quite useful,

and want to pay you for your skill set.

Sweet!


You’ve made a number of mistakes by now, some of them huge and life changing,

some of them stupid and laughable in hindsight.

My favourite mistakes are the ones that can be worked up into an entertaining Dinner Party story with a huge cast of characters.


By Middle Age you’ve probably survived a scandal, a heartbreak or a huge disappointment,

and all of this will make you devastatingly wise and worldly.

You can dispense advice and wisdom without breaking your stride

and your younger associates will gasp in wonder at your resilience.


Reality Check


In reality, the glamour is accompanied by a whole new world of aches and pains from unknown sources, and a propensity to paddle in your own perspiration.


Middle Age doesn’t really have a ‘start date’.

It creeps up on you; not by surprise, you know it’s coming,

you’re just not entirely sure when it will arrive,

or what corner it’s going to jump out from.


One day you can get out of bed, walk to the kitchen, flick the kettle on and go about your day.


Then another day, soon after, you wake up, feeling a little more spacious in your midriff,

and your ankles make weird crackling noises as you walk down the stairs.

When you reach the kettle, you may spend a few seconds trying to figure out if

you might get a chance to book a remedial massage into your day.


I heard a 60 year old lady on the radio discussing her feelings around Middle Age, and she was adamant that 55 was the starting point.

She said that the difference between 50 and 55 was like night and day.

Blimey!

I’m 54.

What’s coming around the next corner?


So….Do I feel Middle Aged?


Yes, yes I do!

My shoulders get stiff if I sit in a certain chair to watch Telly.



My lower back needs daily care and stretches to counteract the hours and hours that I spend driving each week.


The skin on my throat burst into hives at random moments for no apparent reason;

sometimes I have used a new cleanser, but

sometimes I’m watching ‘The Crown’ and haven’t moved off the sofa for two hours.



My glasses can’t decide if they want to be on my face or off my face, and speaking about being off my face, I’ve stopped drinking alcohol because it was buggering around with my sleep patterns too much to be worth it.


My dance teacher tried to get me to do a move called a “slut-drop”.

No I’d never heard of it either.

I tried it, it was pitiful quite frankly.

Google it if you want to know what it is, because you won’t be seeing me do it!


Yes, I feel Middle Aged.


Yes, I feel Midde Aged.

Am I sad about that?

Not especially.

The benefits are beginning to reveal themselves, and I’m not hating them.


Tell me something positive


My confidence has soared, unexpectedly.

I’ve never been shy or retiring, but my certainty and assurance is deepening and there is a calmness in my confidence that I am beginning to enjoy.


My creativity has rebounded.

That’s probably because I’m no longer drowning in the minutiae of a young child's daily requirements. Mothering a teen has freed up a bit of brain space and creativity has cascaded back into a healthy flow.


No Fool Zone


I no longer need to suffer fools.

The short cut here is: when you’re younger and ‘hotter’ the fools will seek you out,

crash your conversation with your girlfriends,

insist on taking your ‘selfie’ for you and tell you lots of fascinating things about themselves

that you hadn’t asked about.



Nowadays the fools are all still out there, but they can’t see me.

Fools of my own age are competing with younger fools for the new influx of gorgeousness,

leaving me enough room to hear my friend's side splitting story about Stand Up Paddle Boarding.


Talking of friends: Middle Aged friendships are a revelation to me!


I can’t believe the quality and richness of the friendships that I have made and retained in recent years.

There is a saying: Friendships are for a reason, a season or a life-time.

I think I’d have to agree with that.


There have been some friendships in my past that I thought were built to last, and I have been astonished to realise that they were, apparently, limited use only, or purely decorative.


Losing a friendship can be like a low key rehearsal for bereavement, you never forget the person, but you learn how to live without factoring them into your day to day.


So it’s not a perfect way to move through the world, there are discomforts, there are disappointments, but for the most part I don’t see this stage of my life as less than what came before. I feel that I’m building and growing from my earlier iterations


Am I middle aged? Yes

Do I feel middle aged? Yes

Am I embracing middle age? Yes











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