The epiphanies of middle age

At the beginning of this month I celebrated my 36th birthday. I’m pretty sure when you can’t really remember your age, that puts you in the category of ‘old’, not helped by the fact my five year old asked ‘why the skin on my arms wobbles’ this evening.

So I’m halfway to 72; a good age for sure and seeing as no one really knows when their time’s up, it’s probably safe to say I’m entering middle age territory.

So what does it mean to reach this milestone? Well, things have certainly changed in the last ten years or so and there are some things you appreciate in this stage of life that you’d never have dreamt possible a decade ago…

Gardening

It seems trimming your prize dahlias isn’t just for Grandads anymore. Appreciating your small spot of green space is something you certainly grow into at this time of life. Outdoor living, garden trinkets, growing your own veg and ones progressing wisteria is all the rage when you’re thirty something.

You can include in this category garden centres, royal park gardens and public display gardens… the hangouts of many a middle aged parent and beyond.

We’ve even taken it a step further this summer with the addition of our allotment. Not exactly how I’d been planning to spend my rare child free moments, but it’s surprisingly cathartic all the same. Plus Alan, Geoff and all the old boys up there love that our family has reduced the average age by two generations.

Never have I appreciated eating a humble carrot quite so much.

A quiet life

Don’t get me wrong I love a good old knees up as much as the next person, but it’s safe to say two nights out in a row is an absolute no no. Middle age has brought on the JOMO (That’s joy of missing out) and I am all for a day time social event (preferably out enjoying that lovely outdoor living furniture set) so I can still be home in my PJs with a takeaway and trash TV on a Saturday night.

I love going out out, but in middle age there’s a whole lot of love for staying in in.

Sensible drinking

It may have taken my 36 years BUT I think I have finally realised that as much as I love a cold glass of sav blanc, it is not a drink to take you through an entire night out. Equally Tequila makes me sick. And shots in general are never a good idea when you are facing a long day of entertaining small children tomorrow. Note, I’ve learnt the rules, that doesn’t mean I always abide by them…

Comfortable shoes

Some of you may shudder at the thought of going out in flats, but having spent my twenties stacking it after a few too many glasses of white wine and tequila chasers, I now know that my feet like to be in flat shoes. The heels get a very rare outing but on your bog standard meal and drinks night out, involving any walking AT ALL then it’s comfort over style every day of the week.

Financial Savvy

In my twenties, like most of us, any invitation of ANY sort was answered with “when are we going!” prior to “How much will it cost?”. Savings shmavings, life was for the here and now and provided there was 7p super noodles in the cupboard, all was well. These days no holiday, weekend, purchase or decision comes without a full on assessment of cost vs benefit and a significant amount of post purchase guilt should the  investment be vaguely non-essential.

So many of us went through some steep learning curves in our twenties; dodgy loans, overdrafts and credit cards. The temptation of having it all (and paying it for the rest of your life) was such an easy trap to fall into when you just had to go on that holiday, have those shoes or see that band. But, it’s not sustainable, as we all realised and spent a long time recovering from those mistakes.

As student loans are signed off, credit cards are reserved for emergencies only, the change to parenthood with mouths to feed, clothe and house is a stark wake up call. All of a sudden every penny could be better spent building for their future, and come to mention it, yours, as retirement suddenly seems a bit more of a reality.

Bargain Groceries

There was a time when I’d rather be dead than be seen walking into a discount supermarket, or quite frankly, even hold one of their carrier bags. These days I’ll rave about my Aldi bargains to anyone who stands still long enough.

That should see us through till… erm… Friday? @aldiuk #coolmumclub #thismamaloves #january #pinklinker #totsphoto #ukparentbloggers

A post shared by MUM|MUDDLING|THROUGH (@mummuddlingthrough) on

I do not want to spend money on nappies to be weed and pooed in. Fact. My family eat me out of house and home. Fact. I am a bargain grocery LOVER and PROUD of it! Fact!

Quality Goods

Whilst I can appreciate an Aldi nappy or loaf of 50:50 bread any day of the week, I also know the difference in brands that offer me high quality worth forking out a little more for. Heinz baked beans. Dyson vacuum cleaners. Microscooter scooters. Apple phones. When it comes to certain things, by this time of life you know what you like and sometimes, you like what you know and there’s not going to be any changing that.

Awareness of mortality

With youth fading away, the fearless immortal versions of ourselves do too. It seems that the older we get, and with more life experience, the scarier things in life feel all too much a possibility. As a twenty year old I’d think nothing of jumping in a car and driving to an unknown destination half way around the country, wheras these days I’m a nervous driver anywhere out of my postcode and after dark. I don’t do bridges and every other drivers moves make me a little nervous.

With the morning’s news bringing far all too often tales of terror and sadness, any family trip or excursion comes with some kind of mental risk assessment of where to hide from flying bullets or how you’d evacuate the family safely from any number of freak occurrences. It feels a little irrational, but yet sadly all too real for some poor folk.

All of a sudden it feels so important to be exercising and eating the right foods; drinking more water and less booze. Not just for a smaller waistline but for a healthier future for ourselves and our families. Gone are the days of bingeing on junk food to ease those hangovers…

A decent meal

Back in the day, eating was cheating and along with those McDonalds hangover binges and 7p noodles, my staple diet involved batch lots of tuna pasta that would last a week. A posh meal out would involve a Nandos or if we were really going for it, a Pizza Express.

By your mid thirties your tastebuds have (hopefully) matured from the burger and chips days (well, now and again doesn’t hurt right?) but the weekly meal plan looks thankfully a lot more wholesome, involves a LOAD more fruit and veg, and a much higher grocery bill to boot.

On a special occasion, it’s less about the boozing on an empty stomach and more about the drinks to accompany your meal whilst filling your stomach. High end restaurants, rustic organic food halls or even trendy street food digs; it’s all a foodies heaven and sure to be spamming up your insta-feed with incredible food-snaps. #Guilty.

Gratitude

Unlike those fast days of our teens and twenties, when we wanted it all and wanted it now, life has slowed down. For those of us who have been lucky to wind up with a loving family of their own, it’s a constant wonder how you managed to land on your feet.

The news of far flung lands suddenly feels excruciatingly painful to see, as starving children and families with nothing no longer seem like strangers on a screen – how can the divide be so great, based on where you were fortunate enough or unfortunate enough to be born.

And then there is those all around us – the ones who have been there for us to lean on on the bumpy ride. The friends and family who have weathered lifes storms with you, the ones who are always there to count on when you’re in need. And, as you get through another sleepless night, an uneaten meal or a hellish tantrum, you realise what your own parents went through to get you to where you are today.

Life Goals & priorities

It seems all around us, the thirty somethings are taking stock of what they want to do – setting up their own businesses, taking on training to get them where they want to be, or even hitting pause on their careers altogether until they have it all figured. Many of those careers we fell into in the beginning just aren’t cutting it in the life satisfaction scales and the time is now to put that right.

The beauty of mid life is that it is a time like no other – we are young enough to still follow our dreams, and old enough to know better. Seizing the glory days of our young families whilst reflecting on the generations above us growing older before our eyes. The time is now, and don’t we know it.

Time

Once upon a time, the clock was only ever ticking down to 5pm on a Friday. These days there isn’t a minute of the day which isn’t allocated to some task, which just makes those clock hands whizz round faster and faster each day.

Time with family, time with friends, time exploring and time chilling – it all feels so much more precious than it did a decade ago, as it falls between our fingers like grains of sand.

Gin

Because, let’s face it the twenty something me would have opted for every option behind the bar APART FROM a gin and tonic? Yep, she has definitely changed! Hendricks and Fever tree anyone?! Cheers!

x MMT

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21 thoughts on “The epiphanies of middle age

  1. justsayingmum Reply

    Oh this is fab! You are ticking all the boxes for sure on leading a slightly more middle-aged lifestyle but oh my word you seriously look fantastic! That Hendricks & Fever Tree suits you! I’m joining you! Oh and your reference to JOMO – inspired! Love that and I am so in your gang! #BigPinkLink

  2. fancypaperblog Reply

    I was just thinking some of these myself as I turned 37. Especially sensible drinking. It took me farrrr too long to figure that one out! Happy birthday btw #bigpinklink

  3. Helen Reply

    I think I’m early. Haha. I’ve got all this going on and I’m 5 years behind you! Should I be concerned? As long as the greys stay away for a while longer yet!! #BigPinkLink

  4. Tubbs Reply

    We could be twins! Born a few years apart, but still twins! Apart from the gardening and the GIN

    1. Tubbs Reply

      Back again from #coolmumclub

  5. Mess and merlot Reply

    Ha ha I turned 38 in June and have to say bar the gardening (everything I touch just dies) I agree with ALL the rest! We switched to Aldi a couple of months ago and although I miss the convenience of the Tesco delivery, I am embarrassingly excited about the amount of food I can get on a weekly basis now for much less £££ 🙂 I also buy a much bigger variety (rather than just the same old basket of stuff from the previous week!) and love the randomness of the weekly offers and special buys 🙂
    Oh, I also read your Dyson review with far too much interest than I would like to admit.
    #bigpinklink #rocknroll

  6. anywaytostayathome Reply

    Gratitude, comfy shoes, gin. That’s living right there. Makes me all happy and fuzzy. But that could just be the gin #coolmumclub

  7. Pen Reply

    This is lovely. I like my late 30s. My body is not what it used to be, I’m tired a lot of the time. JOMO is definitely me. But I feel wiser and calmer and more considered. I know that shit happens but I will get through it. I feel I know who I am and that is a nice feeling. Pen x #coolmumclub

  8. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Yes to all of this! So glad it is not just me. Literally live in the garden these days with my FitFlops on. Rocking the middle age epiphanies like there’s no tomorrow but hey! we’re still all #coolmumclub aren’t we? xoxo

  9. and Jacob makes three Reply

    I’m hoping I’m not quite middle aged yet… but I relate to all of these so maybe I have an old soul ☺️ #coolmumclub

  10. mummyhereandthere Reply

    Yes to bargains, me loves Aldi! X #coolmumclub

  11. Multicultural Motherhood Reply

    I’m not in my thirties yet but I’m with you on the flat shoes. I have hardly worn heals since I became pregnant with my first child. After starting to wear flats it’s so hard to go back to wearing heels.

  12. Jemma @popcornlunchuk Reply

    Being only 33 I’m obviously a spring chicken compared to you but I can actually identify with everything you say! All joking aside, this is so brilliant. This made me glad not to be alone in feeling a touch middle-aged and secretly loving it. Also, the part where you mention careers we ‘fell into’ in our twenties that no longer hit the life satisfaction scales really resonated with me, being a solicitor turned SAHM, now wandering slightly aimlessly trying to figure out where it is I actually want to be! This post was so fab, you are exactly the kind of writer I aspire to be x #coolmumclub

    1. MMT Reply

      What a lovely comment xx thank you so much!

  13. rockandrosesmama Reply

    I am not yet in my thirties but am totally with you on all of these things! I have started to realise it recently that I am much more ‘into’ a lot of these things than before! <3 #coolmumclub

  14. The Queen of Collage Reply

    Despite being in my early 30s I think I have been doing a few of these things for quite a while. However, others I’m not ready for yet eg. shopping from a place that looks like the products have fallen off the back end of a lorry or the things are all plastic! #coolmumclub

  15. Alana - Burnished Chaos Reply

    Brilliant post, this is all so so true. I turned 37 this year and I definitely prefer the quiet life and flats. The only one that doesn’t apply to me is the gin, I just don’t get it. My 37 year old husband on the other hand has become a gin convert over the past couple of years, his favourite being Bloom and fever tree with three quartered strawberries (it’s very precise ).
    #Coolmumclub

  16. Hannah Jane Reply

    Oh this brilliant although after reading this I’m now a little worried that at the age of 27 I appear to be starting middle age a little early as I was nodding along to the majority of these! Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

  17. Jo (Mother of Teenagers) Reply

    My first thing on reading your title was “But she is a mere spring chicken isn’t she?” and you are. As you may know I hit 50 this year and all those wonderful epiphanies that you have highlighted are knocking a lot louder on my door, except suddenly I have noticed after yet another 50th party this weekend that we are all reverting to those pre-epiphany moments, kicking off our flats, donning our heels, eathing what the hell we like because we have made this far and downing shots! I think it is a last ditch attempt to blank out that half-century feeling and prove there is life in us yet. Hopefully we will make it to the end of the year. Thanks for making me smile. #coolmumclub

  18. hjsburnett Reply

    Happy Birthday! I agree on the flats and the gardening….And eating whatever the heck you want!!!! #coolmumclub

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