I can’t help but be in a reflective mood as I write my first Life post on our new and improved blog. When we first began TMCM we had little in the way of responsibility, being young, free and single, with nothing but that tiny little world-shattering Recession standing in our way.

Since then we’ve all weathered The Pandemic, which brought its own wide and varied hurdles to jump over. One of them was the essential loss of two years, when time stood still as we dared not venture beyond a 2 kilometre limit, make any plans, short or long-term, or decide on any major life decisions that didn’t include wearing a mask or getting a vaccination (full disclosure, I did both, happily, and would do so again if required).

The lack of progress from 2020 to 2022 came in so many shapes and sizes. School and college-goers didn’t get the experience those of us who had gone through the system just expected, people in the vulnerable categories were often left housebound from either necessity or fear, couples getting married had the extra stress of not knowing what might change in the run up to the nuptials (I should know, I was one of them, who fortunately only had to postpone once, and was affected by the mildest of restrictions in October ’21).

As a result, many of us feel like we were cheated out of two good years of life, and therefore feel that the aging process of those years should be wiped from the record. Turn 20 at the height of restrictions in summer 2020? No you didn’t! You should be looking forward to facing your 21st in the next few months in style!

About to hit a significant milestone that you’re not quite ready to, thanks to the arrested development we’ve all suffered over the last few years? Put celebrations off until your ready, there’s no rule that says you have to mark your 50th on the actual day, week or even year!

Photo by cottonbro studio on

Or maybe, just maybe there is something to be said about facing the aging process head on. One of the things we’ve learned during the wretched pandemic is the value of life, the privilege of growing older, of being blessed with a healthy old age. Lately, even as I discover new lines that my blusher has found itself burrowing into, and the suggestion of jowls beginning to emerge at my jaw, I find myself not as bothered as I thought I would be about approaching the decade in which you are definitely supposed to have your shit together by.

In a perverse way, I’m looking forward to being 40 because, in effect, it’s the young era of old. Like your late teens being the harbinger of adulthood, and your late twenties being the transition into a more sensible adulthood, your late thirties are the late end of the actively youthful scale; your late thirties are the old, tired part of young. Which is great news, because you are back at the beginning of the scale again when you hit 40, and at the young part of old!

A recent Channel 4 documentary fronted by Kathy Burke (which I reviewed here), even asked if middle-age in the 21st Century doesn’t begin until the mid-late 50s, even early 60s, such are the advancements in general lifestyle, healthcare (and they don’t say it but I will, subtle little tweakments). It makes sense – everything has been pushed back a decade or two since around the 1970s, from baby-having to marriages to the fact that many people change career during their working life-time.

Apart from the climate crisis, housing crisis, mental-health crisis and cost-of-living crisis (which we will be addressing in coming posts), it’s quite a good time to be alive in your middle-years. Twists and turns come at every stage of life, good and bad, but at the end of the day, age itself is nothing but a number.

  • Aoife B. Burke

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