Whereabouts in life’s contract did it say middle age would bring with it wrinkled hands, a thickening waistline, weak eye sight, a dislike of noise and a desire stay at home instead of dancing the night away? Who would have known that growing older meant becoming my mother?
I even caught myself the other day starting to say “in my day” – oops! How could I?
Suddenly technology is looking strange. Why would I need an iphone when my out of date mobile phone is fine? Why on earth can’t I master the new video camera I got instead of relying on my boys to show me how it works? Why do I find an ipod so frustrating to figure out? I can almost relate to the people who didn’t believe we needed cars... almost. And I’m normally a person to embrace technology.
This morning I couldn’t open a jam jar. Where did my strength go? Eventually, with much grunting and dancing around, I got the jar open. Will I still be able to open it in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? One of my frypans is getting heavier as time goes by. And I do weights 3 or 4 times a week! Not huge weights, but enough to keep up my strength, or so I thought.
I’ve lost a lot of energy too. These days I find it difficult to keep my eyes open past 10.30 at night. I used to be an all night girl, never needing much sleep. Now I’m dosing off like a grandma in a retirement home. I can’t tell you the number of TV shows where I’ve missed everything in the middle and woke up to see the final few minutes and the credits. Reading sends me to sleep too. I always used to read in bed just before going to sleep. Nowadays I pick up a book, read the same paragraph four times and wake up when the book falls out of my hands!
I’m beginning to forget things and absent mindedness sometimes kicks in. I’m not as bad as my mother who used to look everywhere for her sunglasses only to find them perched on top of her head. But I have moments where I ask my boys the same question twice (strangely enough their answers don’t vary in the space of 5 minutes) or I find myself putting the milk away in the pantry.
And let’s not mention my eyesight! I used to think it amusing when my mother would hold the paper an arm’s length away to read it. Now I’m doing the same thing – and I wear contact lenses!
There are however some positives to middle age. I have far more confidence than I ever had in my youth. I’m not afraid to stand up to my boss, return items that are unsatisfactory or say “no” to pushy salespeople. I realise the world will not fall apart if I happen to be late to an appointment and my children won’t die if they don’t eat vegetables every now and again. I have worked out that politics is a game and all politicians are basically the same as each other; some just play the game better. I would still like to change the world, but am more practical and realistic. I know what I can do and what I can’t do and I refuse to be made to feel guilty about it.
I guess, once I’ve resigned myself to the physical downside of ageing, middle age isn’t really that bad!