Are You Middle Aged Yet?
Are you middle aged yet? No one quite agrees what constitutes being middle-aged. People in their 20s think it is 40-plus, but anyone who has passed that particular milestone will insist it is somewhere in the mid-50s.
Whatever the answer, most of us will recognise some of the symptoms below:
Your worry about your pension
Only the middle-aged do this. Older folk are much more relaxed about it, having retired early and cashed in before the money ran out. The young have similarly few worries when it comes to old age. Usually because they have yet to even think about it.
You embarrass your kids
It could be dad's belief he can achieve cool through the medium of iTunes, or mum's attempts to dance at parties. Somehow, clearly having forgotten what an embarrassment our own parents were to us, we become an embarrassment to our own offspring - and in so many different ways.
You rent an allotment
Forget all that stuff you read in the papers about allotments being trendy and, for the purposes of this discussion, it is neither here nor there whether or not home-grown vegetables are healthier than shop-bought varieties and/or environmentally friendly than flying in beans from Kenya.
The fact is that if you are even thinking this way you are definitely middle-aged.
You own a trailer
The strange thing about having a tow hook on your car is that if you do not have one you never really need one. Except when parallel parking, I mean, when it ensures that if you back into someone's car you break his number plate but leave your own bodywork unscathed.
As soon as you pay to have one fitted, however, you find that literally every weekend having a trailer is a godsend: something always needs to go to the tip or be collected. There is no denying the benefit, but knowing this and giving in to it is incorrigibly middle-aged.
Your shed is organised
In this context having a garden shed is bad enough, but having an organised one with a place for everything and everything in its place is definitely scarily grown up.
You dress like a toddler
No one is suggesting the minute you hit 40 you must restock your wardrobe with corduroy trousers, claret-coloured cardies and tweed jackets that smell of old dog when it rains.
Dressing like a child when you're old enough to know better impresses no one. You know the look: crazy coloured baggy t-shirts, khaki cargo shorts and the inevitable Crocs. Believing it somehow conceals your bulging belly is a warning that you have reached the point where you really ought to start dressing your age.
You think you're only as old as you feel
No one young ever says this or thinks it; most of them are not even really sure what it means. Eventually we all get the message, however, usually after looking around at our peers and thinking they have all somehow given up but that we have still 'got it'.
The radio just plays noise
All this means is that you no longer recognise any of the tracks they play, even if occasionally the name of one of the bands rings a faint bell.
Do zeitgeist-defining tunes now sound like tuneless caterwauling to you? Welcome to middle-age
Hangovers last three days
Waking up without one after a heavy night might lead you to think 'you're only as old as you feel'. But we already know what that means.
The reality is that as we get older it takes us way longer to bounce back. We can afford far superior wine than the old days, but no longer handle drinking so much of it.
If it takes you three days to get a hangover to shift, you are middle-aged. Probably that is no bad thing, but trading quantity for quality is definitely middle-aged.
You say "in my day"
We all do eventually, not in so many words and often with a sense of irony. This we signify by gesticulating with our hands to indicate that we are bookending our comments with a pair of inverted commas - to show we know we sound like an old git.
Were afraid to say that some of us at Greengates Builders Merchants recognise some of these points! Do you?