I turned 45 this week, but I have no intention of ‘acting my age’. In this respect, my latest birthday was just like all the others
The middle-aged have pulled off an almighty swizz on the world: 40 is no longer old and only a really old person would remark upon your advancing age, while 50 is a fait accompli; of course you are middle-aged and if anyone wanted to mention it they should have done so years ago. It is a fabulous act of cunning, as if a 16-year-old told you that it was the most suburban thing that they weren’t allowed to vote, then turned round at 21 and said: “What did you let me vote for? You can see that I’m still basically a child.” Except a young person would never do that, because they have more honour.
There is a hard ball of truth among this candyfloss of spin, which is the age of 45. You’re not 40. It’s not the new 35. You are not some symmetrical, nothing number – 42, 44 – to which no meaning can be attached. You are not mourning your youth, which is years behind you, but you are no longer in that enjoyable limbo where there is no name for what you are. You are more than a bit middle-aged: you are its dictionary definition.