I am contemplating a birthday in the next 4 months that will finally see me nearer 50 years of age than 40. It got me wondering (those who know me are now facepalming themselves!) but yes, it got me wondering, when exactly do you become 'middle aged?'
It seems to me there are 3 categories of age. Young, middle aged and elderly. So when do we cross from one into the next? Is there some sort of transition period where you dip your toe in the water so to speak? 5 years grace before you fully graduate from one to the next? Or do you just wake up one morning having shifted from one to the other? If we go by the old 'three score and ten' adage, then middle age must begin at 35 years old? But it doesn't does it? So when then?
What about a dress code? Is there one? When you are in the 'young' category, you can wear whatever you like, no one thinks you are too old to be dressed in mini skirts or leather trousers (does anyone wear leather trousers these days?) But when we graduate into middle age, are we supposed to have some sort of uniform? Are leggings or jeans the acceptable way to dress? What about when we become elderly? Are we all to run/hobble out to buy crimplene trousers and sensible shoes and stock up on rainmates? Do we book in straight away for our blue rinse or can we wait a while?
All these questions running through my mind, but the main one being 'Am I actually now middle aged?' Do young girls in their 20's look at me in my denim mini and leggings and boots and think 'Why is that middle aged codger wearing youngsters clothes?' Do other people look at us 40 somethings and consider us middle aged?
I know when I was in my teens, I would have considered a 40 something as middle aged, but things have changed have they not? Apparently 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40 etc. So has the cut off for middle age shifted as well? Are we looking at people in their 60's now and considering them middle aged instead of elderly? I look at my mum, who is 70, and I don't see an elderly woman. I see my mum, who has very few wrinkles and dresses in nice, modern yet tasteful clothes. So is 70 no longer elderly?
There is the train of thought of course that it is an individual thing. Some people look older than others of the same age, they dress older, they have older hairstyles. Perhaps it's how you look that determines when middle age begins? I just have no answer to my question.
What I do know though, is that I don't consider myself middle aged. I don't consider myself young either. I suppose I consider myself as a 40 something mum of 2 who is comfortable being the age she is and who dresses how she wants to, has her hair how she likes it and wears make up because she feels better with it on.
So I say 'Middle age? Move along, nothing to see here.'
What do you think? How do you feel about what determines middle age? Or perhaps you think these stereotypes no longer exist? I'd love to know your thoughts, so let me know in the comments.
I look forward to reading!