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:
- If you have an injury, you should rest it rather than carry on as normal.
- You can move through shock, sorrow, rage, grief and end up very good friends with your ex.
- Your children become more and more fantastic the older they get, (though you see them less, especially through lockdown).
- Relationships in middle age are a wholly different business to when you’re young. Easier in some ways, harder in others.
- 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.
- 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.
- Living by the sea is bliss. Luckily not everyone wants to do it, but I genuinely don’t know why.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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?