Thanks to what is I'm sure a most illuminating survey, we now know that middle age begins around 53, rather than the more traditional 41. This report helpfully lists 20 Tell-Tale Signs that you're middle-aged. Although I'm a decade into middle age as now defined, I scored a paltry 8 (partly composed of half marks). There are many things listed that I would never dream of doing - tea in a flask? Dressing for comfort? Booking a cruise? Falling asleep after one glass? On the other hand, several indicators have applied to me from an early age - listening to The Archers (and watching Antiques Road Show), being entirely baffled by technology, hating noisy pubs... But then I always rather fancied the idea of middle age and looked forward to it as a period of life when I would come into my own. I knew I was making a hash of my younger years, and that youth, with its endless possibilities for self-absorption and self-destruction, wasn't the ideal environment for me. Roll on my 40s, I used (at some level) to think - little knowing that it would soon cease to be 'middle age'. I enjoyed my 40s, I enjoyed my 50s, so far I've enjoyed my 60s. I'd be hard put to say I enjoyed my youth.
Another illuminating, and I'm sure authoritative, survey recently 'found' that the 60s are the happiest decade of our lives. That may well be true - at least if you have your health (which I, thank G--, have). Now, where did I put those Werther Originals...?