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Note : This blog first appeared in the Somerset County Gazette

I remember the exact moment it happened.  

I was wandering around the garden, aimlessly, when I saw a stick.   I should have thrown it for the cat to chase, or kicked it around like any normal person.  No, before I could stop I found myself thinking: “that’s useful, it’ll be handy for stirring paint”.

I tried to swallow the thought but it was too late; it was out and I couldn’t deny it:  I was middle aged.

Today I am 50.  I share a birthday with Jimmy Greaves, Pope Martin V, Gordon Brown, Kurt Cobain and Cindy Crawford; which if you think about is a hell of a guest list for a dinner party.

On the day I was born, the Fab Four were conquering America, the Bachelors and Cilla Back were at the top of the hit parade and Earl Home was still, just, Prime Minister.  (And I know I am old because my children do not understand half the words in that sentence).

But others tell me that I don’t need to be old yet.  I have to twerk and instagram with the best of them, take a selfie, wear meggings, fail at flappy bird, enjoy hearty hip hop music and be fluent in text speak.  (And I know I am old because I do not understand half the words in that sentence ROFLJ).

However, science is on my side – a recent survey concluded that actually middle age starts at 53.  Phew.  Annoyingly the same survey found that common symptoms of the condition are a preference for an afternoon nap, groaning when you bend over and getting hairy in places that really have no right to be in any way hirsute.  I must confess to all three.

In reality it is all about outlook.  Age is all about the attitude you adopt, not the apps you download; the judgements you hold not the jowls you carry; the generosity you show not the geriatricity you feel.

On balance, I enjoy being 50.  I love having memories that make me feel good; friends who challenge and mock me; children who interest, inspire and enthuse me.

And you know what?  I bloody love stirring paint.

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