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HALF WAY: 10 Hard Truths of Midlife

Between your early 40s and early 60s, you are supposedly well-nestled in midlife. You have lived half your life, you are midway through, halfway there. This realisation can hit people hard, bringing forth feelings of panic that they have not done enough with their one life, dread that they are trapped with their lot, and demoralised with the battle against greying hair and less elastic skin. For some, it is a liberating season, as inhibitions are stripped away, old limiting patterns and beliefs are shaken off, the saggier bits are brazenly celebrated, and the greys are welcomed as a sign of wisdom and hard graft.

Whatever your stance on midlife, there are some hard truths that I have come to terms with. This list is not exhaustive, but I think it sums up where I am at.

  1. I realise that all the behaviours my parents endorsed are actually life curses. Being polite, waiting for permission and not answering back gets you nowhere in adult life. I feel like we should all receive an SMS notification at some point in our 20s that says, "Now is the time for you to prioritise your own needs and take responsibility for the life ahead of you. Perpetuation of people-pleasing behaviours may cause feelings of unease, dissatisfaction and exhaustion, especially if carried beyond your 40s. For help or advice, contact your local healthcare provider." I would also need yearly reminders please. Thank you.

  2. I find current music difficult to understand and believe music of the 90s to be superior. I went to a gig with my 16 year old step-daughter, full of excitement and nostalgia. The main act came on, the whoops of the crowd were exhilarating and the buzz was palpable. It took about 5 minutes before my face started to drop from a giddy smile to a look of confusion and almost disgust. What the hell was this nonsense? I looked around me at everyone having a blast (with the exception of the wide-eyed boy who had clearly had too much) and thought, "This is not how it was in my day." There it is, that well-known phrase of baptism into midlife. "In my day."

  3. I groan when I stand up and make loud, exhausted breaths out when I sit down. Even awareness of this does not make it stop. I stand up and something moans at me, a twinge in my back, a click of the knee and out comes the groan. I sit down and it is life the weight of all life has been taken off me and I cannot quite believe the relief that this offers.

  4. I talk out-loud to myself. Daily. I cannot complete any task without a short statement, for example, after filling the dishwasher I say, "Right, that's that". After tidying a room I say,"Order is restored". And after entering any room I say, "What am I doing here?" .

  5. General fatigue is my new normal. I wake up feeling a bit tired and then I progressively get more tired throughout the day when I finally give in to said tiredness at around 9.30pm and go to bed. Throw in a gym visit or a social engagement and there may be tears.

  6. I enjoy gardening. Like, actually enjoy it. There are some very simple pleasures that I encounter when gardening. I start the job, I finish the job. Immediate satisfaction in completing a task. I have embraced the fact that I love to nurture and watch things grow and love the aesthetic of colourful blooms and feel real pride at the healthy stalks of my green children. The thing that I slightly cringe at is that I feel genuine excitement at a trip to the Garden Centre. What will I see there? What needless contraption will I covet? An avocado sock, a skirting board duster, a 6-in-1 garden tool blade sharpener? It is all there.

  7. Rightmove is my erotica. I have no more to say.

  8. Elastic waistbands and pockets are a must on all items of clothing. I need to expand throughout the day please and I whilst I won't use the pockets, I need them to be there in case I need the pockets.

  9. I think the word 'snog' is still okay. Apparently it absolutely is not. Sorry.

  10. I have existential crises every other day. What am I here for? What have I done with my life? Why do we even have jobs? Why can't we live in Garden Centres?

Midlife = An Avocado Sock

In all seriousness, middle age can be emotional and frustrating. However, there are things you can do to help get through.

  • Seeking professional help: Enlisting the help of a therapist is a great way to talk about your feelings and emotions healthily and safely. Working with a coach can offer direction and motivation during what can be a confusing time.

  • Acceptance: Accepting that this is a period of re-evaluation and change can offer some solace; change is scary and unfamiliar but you are growing and that can also be exciting. Writing down your feelings and needs regularly helps you to manage and track the process of change and things feel a bit more in control.

  • Look after yourself: Ensure to offer yourself time and space. Try not to make any rash decisions. Take things slowly and continue to self-evaluate with compassion.

So, whatever your take on midlife, be sure to look ahead as well as behind; there is still plenty of time to live it large - just after your vitamin tablet and 8 hours of sleep!

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