Columnist, Veronica Clark: Reasons to be cheerful in your winter years
According to a recent study carried out by the Office for National Statistics, people aged 65 to 79 years old are the happiest. The survey of more than 300,000 adults across the UK found that satisfaction, happiness and the feeling life was worthwhile peaked in that age bracket.
Meanwhile, those aged 45 to 59 were reported to have the lowest levels of life satisfaction, with men less happy than women. The same group also had the highest levels of anxiety because they share the burden of having to care for children and look after elderly parents. Then there's the struggle of trying to balance work and family commitments. No wonder we stare into the cold eyes of a mid-life crisis. Over the years, we’ve probably blown out more birthday candles than we’ve left to come, and that slice of cake will stubbornly sit on our waistlines because we’re no longer in our 20s. Our bodies begin to slow just as the years speed up and whizz past us laughing and smirking. Our metabolisms fly out of the window clutching the hand of the name of that person you can’t quite remember. No wonder we hit our 40s running. It’s akin to jogging down an escalator the wrong way - life has a funny way of catching us up. So thank goodness for the mid-life crisis, because it reminds us we’re still alive and have plenty of living left to do. Whether it’s a piercing or a tattoo inked on a hidden part of your body, just do it. In fact, we should be suspicious of those who don’t have a mid-life crisis. If you never stop to question where you’re heading with the remaining half of your life, then maybe you should. But I digress. Although (age-wise) I find myself smack bang in the ‘miserable’ bunch, there’s plenty to be cheerful about. For starters, by the time you reach your mid-40s you should be pretty sorted. You’re hopefully in a job you’re good at, and you'll have had all the children you want to have. Soon they’ll be able to look after themselves, which frees up even more time for you. You should feel confident in your abilities and comfortable in your own skin. If not, then you’ve still got time to change. Sure, you’ll be fatter and less fit than you once were, but so what? You’d look a whole lot sadder trying to hang onto your youth. Besides, ‘nightclubs’ aren’t half as good as they used to be because they’re full of kids (and the music’s rubbish). We’re also living a lot longer, so we’ve probably more time left than we think. Sixty is the new 40, which means we’re still in our 20s and haven’t aged a jot. Men start to lose hair on their heads but gain more in their ears, eyebrows and noses. You can use middle-age to your advantage by pretending to be a technophobe. Imagine how many Facebook and Twitter messages you can ignore by pretending you’re too doddery to know how to reply. You might be miserable now, but the same survey claims older people are happier, so you’ve that to look forward to. Older women can get a face lift, Botox, or become a cougar, whilst men can buy full leathers and a Harley-Davidson motorbike. Sure, people will roll their eyes, but you can explain it away as a mid-life crisis. But the best thing about being middle-aged? You’re old and have lived long enough not to be fooled by pointless surveys such as this one.