I’m sure that we’ve all learnt valuable life lessons from being in lockdown. Deprived of our usual routines, we’ve had the luxury of time to take stock and see what’s really important in our lives. Hugs, Sauvignon Blanc and peroxide highlights are definitely in my top ten. As we are gradually being let out for good behaviour, even a committed introvert like me is eagerly looking forward to making the most of the here and now. When Boris confirms it is OK to do so of course. Does this mean I am having a teeny weeny midlife crisis?
Lockdown has made me realise I need to maximise every new day. Yes, the simple (and usually free) things in life are great and I will always value them above all else, but I’ve decided I’m going to say ‘yes’ to (practically) everything that comes my way from now on.
I’ve made a start by wrenching myself away from my computer and mobile screens and adhering to a new work routine. I’m still very much enjoying working long hours on this website, but I’m now more disciplined and consciously making time for other activities.
Then, like everyone else, I’m starting to socialise again. The other day we lugged out the Weber, put outdoor cushions on the freshly jet washed garden furniture, dusted off last year’s Factor 15 and congregated with friends in the required socially distant manner. We lay on sunbeds to soak up that eternally pleasing element called sunshine and it was absolutely blissful. Well, what’s new about that I hear you ask. Well, all my long held inhibitions about not showing my bingo wings, plump knees and dimpled thighs were consigned to “that was the old me” section of my life and I lay there sun worshipping like a lardy porpoise. I simply didn’t care. When the temperature soars, so does my soul and I just had to relax and carpe diem. Life is just too bloody short to worry about minor things.
A few years ago, my son’s tales of pint glasses filled with G&T, raucous dinners, all night partying and finally crashing out on sofas at dawn made me somewhat nostalgic for the wilder life I once knew (many, many years ago – a fair amount of which I spent with Annabel). Over the last few years, my idea of a crazy time was getting up the energy to take the train to London to meet friends for lunch/dinner and a dose of culture. What happened to the super-relaxed, up for (almost) anything woman I once was? Well, she’s back…
If this is a midlife crisis, it has come a bit late. Unless it’s on the cards that I am going to die aged 134.
But hang on, aren’t midlife crises things men have? How many times do we hear about balding, paunchy men recapturing their youth by buying a sporty car or, as is more likely these days, taking up cycling (and wearing oh so tight lycra) and, if they can find one, running away with a younger woman.
Well apparently, a midlife crisis isn’t gender specific. Research shows it’s just the triggers that are different. Males suddenly panic about being less attractive to the opposite sex, of not achieving their work/status goals, of becoming ill and dying. Women, however, are more likely to want to do all those things they were unable to while raising a family.
Actually, the more I think about it, the less I think I am having a midlife crisis, mini or otherwise. It is more of a realisation that I may have narrowed down my choices too much. Got stuck in a comfortable routine. A routine that is stress-free because it is so familiar. I definitely feel happier and more secure than I did when I was in my twenties and thirties but am realising that I need to get some of my va-va-voom back. I won’t be attempting any world records or driving solo around the UK coastline, or otherwise testing my physical or emotional boundaries. But I will be taking a fresh look at my life and how best to live the rest of it.