Midlife inertia! You having a larf…?
So what exactly got my blood boiling recently?
Nothing to do with Trump, Brexit or even the dreaded Covid.
Nope it was an article in The Telegraph written by Kate Mulvey.
Of course she’s totally entitled to her opinion and I always find people’s ideas interesting but what really got my goat was the quote by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology who have announced that 54 is the specific age at which we struggle to motivate ourselves to try new things.
“As soon as you end up in your 50s a shift happens.” concludes professor Hermunder Sigmundsson. “In theory it takes a lot more for us to actually do something.”
In other words we lose our get up and go! And this is Kate Mulvey’s assertion that at the age of 56, ‘mine has well and truly got up and gone’.
Somebody came up with a study to tell us that 54 is the beginning of our wind down time?
It’s taken me two weeks to calm down sufficiently to write this piece and I was also interested to see that Kathy Lette mentioned it briefly and just dismissed it as rhubarb basically…and I guess that really is the best approach to this latest piece of research.
It’s laughable, utterly absurd but my first reaction was, that’s outrageous!
It’s one thing for a personal opinion but for science to tell us?
I ain’t having that.
How about you?
At the age of 54 I was still patting myself on my back having gained a first class honours degree at the age of 50.
Then I packed my worldly goods into a van and escaped to la Belle France
After 3 and a half very interesting years in Angouleme I made another move, this time to the south of France, for three reasons.
Firstly because I was still commuting regularly to England for work and this meant 7 and 1/2 hours on trains each way
and it wasn’t cheap.
Thirdly, naturally, the weather.
That southeast corner of France is hard to beat.
So in 2007 (when I was 54) flights from Nice were available to 12 airports in the UK and a darn sight cheaper than the train so I made the move.
I saved time and money and could bask in the wonderful climate
It was a no-brainer.
So they say that my get-up-and-go should have gone or even diminished at the age of 54? That is nothing short of laughable.
I spent the twelve months, 53 to 54 with my worldly goods in storage a short train ride away, inland from Nice Airport.
I spent the next 12 months in between UK care work and in Nice trawling the estate agents begging to be allowed to rent a small flat.
Everything was against me.
Female, single, self-employed and working outside of France
Everything a French letting agent doesn’t want to hear.
Eventually I wore one of them down.
I sat at her desk at 11:45
The French go for lunch at midday
I knew this and she knew I knew this.
“You’re not going to give up until I find you somewhere are you?”
Back in 2007 it was possible to offer 12 months rent in advance as security.
Interestingly this turned out to be a win-win situation as the money was put into a Life Assurance policy in my name which gave 4% interest.
So whilst I paid my rent on time and didn’t burn down the place I had nothing to lose.
Much to the estate agents amusement I had three important criteria when renting a flat;
bed, bath and balcony
It had all three and I was very happy there until one day driving with a friend through Tourrettes-sur-loup, I fell in love and moved again
I was 57 at this stage.
Now ten years later so yes I’m 67 and I’m waiting for this midlife inertia to kick in.
Fine if you want to slow down, be my guest but for goodness sake don’t tell us it’s what we should be doing.
And by the way, doesn’t the wording of Professor Sigmundsson’s piece give a lot away…
…’you end up in your 50’s’…
This whole attitude implies being rudderless and without purpose and that’s what I really object to.
I guess it’s what I’ve always said and thought.
Some people are happy drifting through life and some of us are busy making plans for… maybe the Best is Yet to Come
I’ll keep you posted.