Someone said middle age starts when you’re 54 years and 347 days old.
I forget who, being as I seem to be slipping into it prematurely. Just these last few weeks, I can see there’s been a shift and I’d like to blame the clocks going forward, which is, after all, a very middle-aged thing to do.
This weekend was a defining one. When you go to see the little girl who was your niece and find this stunning woman in her place, with a lovely home and a lovely husband and a career and she hands you a bowl of hand-made butternut squash and sage soup and you find yourself asking for the recipe, you realise that, if Our Jess is now doing a spectacular job of being an adult, you must now be on another plain.
The feeling was reinforced on the way home, when we “nipped” (my word, most definitely not Bloke’s) into Meadowhall and realised we now hate fighting our way through carrier-bagged crowds (A recession? Really?)
We’d gone to look for boots and blow me, if we didn’t find them in the most unlikely of places; M&S. Where my mother buys hers and his dad buys pretty much everything.
It was quite funny; while I swooped on a pair of ankle boots with zipper detail (no, nothing like the ones mother turfed out of the boxroom for me that wintry school day) my grumpy Mo Bro (his lip-top Movember fund-raiser is turning out to be very grey), got all excited on ground-floor footwear. I honestly feared he was about to venture into underwear and coo over thermal vests.
On Sunday night, there was an even surer sign we are in the third quarter of our lives... We only recognised two of the 10 contestants on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here and debated for 15 minutes on celebrities not being what they used to be.
It got me thinking about other things which are a sign of my middle age. Like not being able to bear wearing stockings anymore. A. Because I feel a bit silly in them and, B. Why on earth would you, when thick tights are so cosy and comfortable?
Like deciding All Bran tastes really quite nice, which is just as well, because my middle has spread to the size it was when I was five months pregnant. And as a consequence, wearing hold-you-in party frock pants every single day.
Middle age is when your parents start to need you more than your children do and you suddenly start READING your annual pension statement, then worrying about it as you lie awake in bed at 1am.
Middle age is when a good cup of tea is preferable to most things and it’s brilliant to dine in for £10 instead of dining out for £60 in hold-you-in pants.
It’s when you hate the prospect of two weeks lying on a beach somewhere baking-hot, but can’t wait for your long weekend in Scotland, tramping rain-lashed trails with the dog.
I don’t see anything negative about being middle-aged, though. It’s a blessing. With it comes the confidence to admit you like all of these things without giving a damn about someone labelling you uncool.