When is middle aged?
I wrote a letter today to a supermarket’s Customer Service department complaining that they had no weighing scales in their Fruit & Veg section, leaving me having to guess what 1kg of tomatoes looked like. Granted it was more the attitude of the staff member at the so-called Customer Service desk that pushed me into writing, but still it made me think. I’m old enough (and grumpy enough) to feel the need to write a letter to complain, yet young enough not to know what 1kg of tomatoes looks like.
I’m somewhere between going out wearing uncomfortable, but gorgeous, high heels on nights out that involve drinking, dancing, shouting over the music till my throat hurts and coming home to the dawn chorus and whatever the future holds for me. Flatter shoes, earlier nights, less drinking, still dancing.
I still have to ring my Mum to ask if 25g of caster sugar is the same as 25g of sugar. It is. I still have to ask a friend if eggshells go in the brown bin. They do.
I forget to leave the bins out. I don’t iron my sheets.
I manage a house, a home. I pay my bills on time. I cook. I clean. I go to work.
I have meetings with other adults, say things that sound grown up and make sense.
I come home, put on my purple fluffy dressing gown and watch Gilmore Girls.
I try to eat well, cook real food, read labels and get my five-a-day.
I love crème eggs and crisp sandwiches.
Each turning point in our lives, which seem to come at intervals of about ten years, makes us feel we are in the middle. On the brink of one stage of life and another, ticking off the things on one list and forming a new one.
0-10: True childhood. The only decisions you might hope to make are what to wear, what game to play, what book to read or what vegetables to fight over. Your whole life ahead, but someone else is still the boss of you.
10-20: Treated like a child, feeling like an adult. Pre-teen, post-primary, pre-post puberty. Leaving school, starting school. English, Irish, Maths, History, Geography, French, German, Business Studies, Science. Leaving school, starting college. Hormones, clothes, music, boys, girls, friends. Everything changing, it’s a wonder you don’t explode!
20-30: Starting off. Ready, steady, go. Leaving college, starting work. Paying rent, paying taxes. Hook ups and break ups. Travelling, changing jobs, changing hair, losing hair, spending money, saving money.
30-40: Who knows? I'm only starting. I feel in the middle again, still dipping into the past but looking forward to the future. I know what to expect, and know that what you expect isn't necessarily what you get.
Maybe we're always middle aged? Or at least once every ten years.
Oh and I was making soup, if you hadn't guessed.