Middle age is the period between between early adulthood and old age, anywhere from 30 to 65 years old.It is all so vague; at one time I (at 43) would definitely have been considered middle-aged but now even the Collins Dictionary suggests middle age is “… usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 40 and 60.” Which means I can possibly get away with it for a bit longer- Why is it so many people dislike the term “middle age”? Why do they get depressed when they finally accept that they are middle-aged? Most people don’t get depressed about their age when they’re 28.I think it is because the term ‘middle-aged’ signifies so much more than your actual age. The fact that I listen to The Archers, don’t follow fashion, have never been ‘cool’ probably signifies more about me than the number of years I have been on this earth.

A recent study of 2000 adults by Benenden Health found that more than half of respondents said there was no such thing any longer as a ‘middle age’ stage of life. When asked to describe signs of impending middle age, “Britons cited a frustration with modern technology, forgetting people’s names, and thinking that teachers, doctors and policemen look very young.Losing touch with everyday technology such as tablets and TVs (eek) was another feature of turning middle-aged, according to the study.Buying travel sweets for car journeys and taking a flask of tea on day trips (oh dear) are also seen as signs of middle age, as are listening to The Archers (oh no), watching The Antiques Road Show, not remembering the names of modern pop bands, getting hairy eyebrows and ears and joining The National Trust” (whoops).

One only has to look around to see attempts to hang on to youth as middle age approaches. Fuddy-duddy that I am, I like to think that anyone over 40 who still listens to Radio 1 is like a balding man who wears a ponytail, desperate to be ‘hip.’ Women dye their hair, gyms are full of forty something men and women desperate to do something about middle-age spread. People rarely feel happy about the way they look, the circumstances of their lives or what they have achieved so far. The time is ripe for a mid-life crisis. We are almost led to believe that this is a time to be depressed, to realise that we are in our declining years that our aspirations of youth will now probably never be fulfilled.

As a child, anything seems possible, in middle age there is a strong sense of limitations and lost ambition.Age becomes an excuse; “He used to be able to, but no more. There’s no real future in trying to start a new career at his age. He doesn’t have the time.” The negative vibes are everywhere. And middle age is the beginning of that shift, both in the way we are viewed and the way we view ourselves. Of course a change in perspective could see middle age as a time when we finally have enough experience and enough freedom to really begin to grow, not begin to decline.And surely that is a much better way of looking at it, rather than trying to fight the inevitable

Advertisements