Why it's a good idea just to forget the birthdays
When I got to my 30s, middle-age moved again, to the 40s. Now I'm in my late 40s, and I still haven't got to middle age. I've revised it to 50, which is half way to a hundred, because don't you get a card from the Queen when you hit a hundred? In fact, they're thinking about pushing this on to 105, I hear, as so many people reach their century, and the Queen is running out of things to say, I guess. 'It's incredible that you're doing so well at a hundred' sounds a bit thin when someone's taking three cruises a year, jogging round the park each day and running their own beauty salon. So that's royal assent, more or less, for saying 50 is middle age, or maybe even later? My husband is 53, and so I'll make middle-age 55, as I'd hate to think a spring chicken like me was married to an old codger.
I remember sitting on my bed when I was fourteen, surrounded by posters of the Osmonds and David Cassidy and Showaddywaddy and Elvis, and working out how old I'd be when we hit the Millennium. I figured I would have got to thirty-eight. Thirty-eight?!!! I distinctly recall saying to myself, 'But I'll be dead!'
This all makes me well aware that, to the pupils at school, I am very, very old. In fact, this may account for the surprise on their faces when I make it into school, day by day, virtually upright. And, because I can remember feeling just the same about my teachers, I don't get offended when they show amusement that I've heard of Kanye West, or they hear me say something's 'cool'. I would have felt the same and as long as they don't express it rudely ('Miss, how can you know about Kanye West? Don't you need your hearing for that? or 'How do you know the word 'cool'? Is it because you were born in the Ice Age?') I'm not going to slam them into detention or make them write, 'I will not imply that the only thing Miss would look good in now is a shroud' a thousand times in their best script.
The problem is, however much I push on the day when I become middle-aged, the signs aren't good. I seem to have this pre-(please note)-pre middle-age spread around my waist, and a few pre-middle age wrinkles and a pre-middle age saggy chin.