Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Be gone mid-life crisis!

Earlier this year I wrote a blog about the virtues of leading an ordinary life. There was a disgruntled undertone, but basically I was giving thanks for my secure and comfortable existence. In response, however, I received some passionate advice from a friend's mother, who was adamant that we should fight against playing it safe. "Do not let the excitement slip from your life in your middle years," she urged me. "Have a challenge of doing something new, daring and exciting." Her words struck a chord.

Packed camper van
Up for an adventure?
Last week I spent some time with a young couple (in their twenties) who were only too happy to take on a challenge. They were organising aid for refugees in Calais and I couldn't help but admire their youthful, can-do spirit. Inspired by the stories of refugee hardship, they decided to hire a van, fill it with donations and drive down to the camps at Calais. For them, it was that simple.

A few weeks ago, I too considered doing a similar trip, but quickly dismissed it as an unworkable idea. How would I find the time? Wouldn't I be putting myself in danger? And who was going to look after the kids while I waltzed around Calais interviewing the migrants? No, it was a silly idea. 

'Something you love'

That is the problem with becoming older and more responsible. You become too preoccupied with risk and all the reasons why you shouldn't do something. Such scruples also provide the fodder for many a mid-life crisis. One day, when you are really grown up, you look around and wonder how life became so boring and settled. 

On Radio 4's Women's Hour recently, the Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrall outlined her own strategy for combatting the onset of maturity. "I don't think the answer is in a jar of anti-ageing cream I really don't, or under a plastic surgeon's knife," she told us. "I think that you should find something that you love... really investing still in yourself, in your education, what you want to do, do something you love!"

After a summer of reflection, hubby and I have settled upon the idea of buying a home abroad to shake us out of our middle-age malaise. It's not radical, or even altruistic, but it is something I have always wanted to do and I am hoping it will open us up, as a family, to new experiences. The trick is not to overthink it but to follow our instincts and hope for the best. "Fun is waiting just for you and the family but you need to bravely scoop it up," my friend's mum promised me. So scoop, I shall.


Driving over lemons by Chris Stewart
Chris, the former drummer with Genesis, moves to Southern Spain with his wife Ana to farm sheep. Despite ending up on the wrong side of a river with no water supply or electricity, they become rooted in the landscape of their new home.

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