It’s official. As reported in the news recently, the average age of becoming a dad is on the rise. So, dads are getting older – but aren’t we all?
Some might say that the onset fatherhood or motherhood comes with some significant baggage: middle age.
However, I disagree. It’s a bit of a cop-out to base the definition of our personal stage of life on the existence/age of a small human being or two. But if I’m right, when exactly does middle age begin?
Is it when we lose any decent dress sense? Or is it a loss of taste in music? When we lose all sense of adventure? Or could it be when we gladly embrace blandness? Maybe it’s a physical phase, such as the loss of hair or the infamous ‘spread’? Or maybe it’s just the loss of any sense of rhythm when dancing?
Or is middle age when we just totally lose it? The plot. Our sanity. We fall into ‘crisis’.
Some would say that in reality I’ve been ‘middle aged’ since about my 9th birthday. But with the passing months and years, some of the classic hallmarks are beginning to crop up in my character and attitudes with alarming regularity and accuracy. Oh dear.
As parents, the cross that some of us have to bear is that being Mum or Dad can serve to accelerate the onset of middle age. Our responsibilities grow and our wrinkles appear … or maybe just deepen!
I recently carried out a little survey on the blog’s Facebook page about when people think middle age begins. The results were interesting (the top-rated age bracket was 45-49, soon followed by ‘never’!), but the comments I received (including from an inspirational group of other dad bloggers) were even more revealing. Some took a statistical approach and identified the mid-point of life (the most accurate response was 37.675, for the record), but others defined it as a state of mind – some stage in the future when we start to think like people who think they’re middle aged.
More interestingly, I don’t think anybody voted for an age bracket that they’re actually already in. So perhaps middle age will only ever be a box that others may put us in, but it will never be a label that we’ll be happy to slap on ourselves. (Perhaps some of my stereotypical suggestions above may explain why!)
However we may choose to define it, there are some obvious (often clichéd) hallmarks about middle age which we cannot dispute. Even though I hope that, personally speaking, true middle age is a few years away, I may already be heading down that slippery slope. But will I ever get to the bottom? I hope not.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy that sports car …