I am sixty at the end of this month.  I know lots of people are sixty and some are even older, but it’s still … a bit of a thing.

I can’t have a party, which serves me right because I’ve always made a huge fuss about having to have one.  I was going to have a few people round the weekend before; I intended to spend the actual day with my family and I’d planned a holiday with a friend just after.  A perfect triad of low-key celebration, all of which now I can’t do.

To make up for it, here are 10 things I’ve learned in the last decade:

  1. If you have an injury, you should rest it rather than carry on as normal.
  2. You can move through shock, sorrow, rage, grief and end up very good friends with your ex.
  3. Your children become more and more fantastic the older they get, (though you see them less, especially through lockdown).
  4. Relationships in middle age are a wholly different business to when you’re young.  Easier in some ways, harder in others.
  5. Menopause, once the hormones have settled down, is brilliant.  We don’t hear about this very much, but honestly, it’s bliss.  Only two species of whales besides humans have menopause –  ie females remaining active and healthy beyond fertility.  This is why.
  6. Moving house is universally regarded as one of the most stressful life events – for a reason. It nearly finished me off even though I always knew it would turn out to be the best thing.
  7. Living by the sea is bliss.  Luckily not everyone wants to do it, but I genuinely don’t know why.
  8. Swimming in it all year round is like riding a bike  –  looks impossible to the uninitiated but in practice surprisingly easy. (Having said that, we haven’t got to Feb and March yet; I seemed not to have learned the lesson, don’t speak too soon – maybe by the time I’m 70).
  9. I thought I was someone who really enjoyed their own company.  In the first lockdown I was confident this had been proved.  Ok, universe, you’ve made your point.  We all need people.
  10. Life turns out nothing like you expect. The good news is you can adjust but I do sometimes wonder if it’d be easier not to have the expectations in the first place.  Or is that what makes us human?