Recently I’ve been thinking more and more about being middle-aged; if I’m honest, I mean I’ve thinking more about myself and how I feel about being middle-aged. I know all the stuff about it being a state of mind and being as old as you feel and all these things that people say but when you get down to it, you’re still middle-aged and there’s a downward slide approaching. Several years ago I remember some older friends of mine suddenly being so old and I couldn’t quite work out what had happened. That certainly wasn’t going to happen to me and I was perfectly sure of that in the same way that I was perfectly sure that if I had had children they wouldn’t have been sat in front of the telly with a bag of sweets. No, I was going to be entirely different and would break the mould. Except here I am dithering about turning off the lights and finding my keys and checking that I switched the heating off and I’ve turned into my mother. My middle-aged mother.
Middle-aged is never really used as a compliment especially not if you’re a woman. I know that I’ve used it to be derogatory about behaviour that I think is a bit slow or sensible. I joked about knowing that I was middle-aged because I was buying shoes for comfort and not style but that’s not entirely true. I do have my comfy shoes that I wouldn’t have been seen standing next to , far less wearing, when I was twenty but I still have shoes that my hips regret. The thing I hate the most is that I think I feel either invisible or patronised.
I googled ‘positive images of middle-aged women’ and this is what I got. I’d heard the term ‘cougar‘ before (I think it’s mostly used in the US, isn’t it?) but I’d never really bothered to look at what it meant, exactly but I think it’s a shocking term. I like that they refer to ‘wearing of animal print clothing by older and more sexually aggressive women’ just as I’ve bought a grey, animal print, silk scarf. (It looks better than my description). It’s odd that I never found the expression ‘being Mrs Robinson’ offensive in the same way that I find the cougar expression. Perhaps it’s my loathing of adopting Americanisms or maybe it’s one more example of being middle-aged.