The Rich Life On a Budget

25 Advantages to Middle Age

According to my scientific research (also known as Googling “how old is middle age”), middle age is anywhere between 35 and 65 depending on who you consult. Most resources identify the middle aged years at around 40 to 60.

At 43, I am middle aged. Those two words used to scare the you-know-what out of me. But it’s not such an ugly, frightening term. In fact, it simply and succinctly describes a stage of our lives. I am not young. I am not old. I am in the middle. And I like it here. It’s certainly better than the alternative.

However, I can’t ignore that middle age is a difficult time for many of us. How can it not be? We see our bodies aging and changing in unpleasant ways, health issues surface, some people care for their elderly parents, and we begin to realize with more clarity than ever before that we are all mortal.

While I recognize and understand that middle age has its challenges, it has its advantages, too. Here are 25 advantages to Middle Age that I experience:

1) I accept and quite like who I am.

2) For some of us, our kids are older which allows for more freedom. The days of spending hours driving all over town, nagging them to do homework and clean their rooms, attending endless sporting and club events, doling out time-outs and restrictions, packing lunches and making kid-friendly dinners are gone. Nowadays, I enjoy spending time with my older kids and treating them like adults; though I will always maintain my parental role.

3) I have experimented with many different hair cuts and hair colors to know what looks best.

4) I don’t spend as much time concerning myself with what strangers and acquaintances think of me.

5) I strive to be a more polite and respectful person in my older age: responding to RSVP’s in a timely manner, sending thank you notes for gifts received or when someone does something nice for me, and arriving to a party with a hostess gift.

6) I can sniff out liars and fakes.

7) I finally understand that time is not in endless supply and I choose more carefully how I use mine.

8) Although finances are always a bit of a worry in this economy, the Rothschilds we are not, the amount and degree of worry about money has diminished greatly. I feel at ease knowing that we are doing all that we can to make certain we will have a secure future.

9) I exercise to feel good and to benefit my health, not to fit into a size 6 dress.

10) My curiosity is at its peak. Wanting to learn and explore and explain and discover is a priority and a joy.

11) Many old friendships continue to improve with time, while new friendships are more exciting than they used to be and often more genuine.

12) I believe I look good for my age. Whether anyone tells me I am is beside the point. I believe it. That is all that matters.

13) I finally figured out that my thoughts, be them positive or negative, structure and determine each day.

14) Living more frequently in the moment is a useful and rewarding skill that brings contentment and joy.

15) I know when to keep my opinions to myself and when to express them.

16) Good posture is not just something my mother nagged me about. That and a smile are my most beautiful and valuable accessories.

17) I have become more objective about my looks and my figure which makes me better able to determine what makeup looks best on my face and what clothes most flatter my shape.

18) Relationships with a trusted hairdresser, a talented seamstress, a skilled cobbler and a friendly and experienced manicurist are as good as gold.

19) Table manners are meant to show respect to the people with whom I am eating. My manners are a direct reflection of the way I feel about myself and the way I feel about those who dine with me. Ditto for being on time.

20) Rude, obnoxious and insolent people are not worth my time. No matter how funny, popular or rich they are.

21) Exploring new ideas, skills, hobbies and other activities is exciting. I will never be too old to learn.

22) I see the value in a good night’s sleep, a brisk walk, a hug from my husband, eating fresh whole foods, thinking positive thoughts and telling those I love what they mean to me.

23) I set realistic, but fabulous goals. And I attain them.

24) Diets only work for a short time. Instead I’m learning to eat less of what I love, move my body more and not waste time over thinking it.

25) I am no longer a people-pleaser. I find it much easier to say no to things I don’t want to do.

I would enjoy reading any additions you can make to this list.
I’m certain I left a few good ones out.
xo, Adrienne

68 thoughts on “25 Advantages to Middle Age

  1. Paula

    People say 50 is the new 30. I say so, too. It is true most of the time. But it is not true when it comes to the working world. In the working world, the middle age equals “you are out”, when applying for a new job. Compared to those issues, worries about looks and haircolour are ludicrous. Unemployed women and men around 50 sit and wait for their early retirement, simply because no company wants to hire them anymore.
    It is sad truth and I am getting closer to that middle age myself. I watch a lot of women trying to beat the clock, running, hiking, dieting, making 50 become the new 30. ;-)
    Tonight I ran into my niece, wearing her tiffany-blue nailpolish on my finger nails. I guess I still need to reach 30. :-)

  2. Cathi

    I agree with everything you have said! I will be 54 this year and have never felt better, I am comfortable with myself, I enjoy life with my loved ones and live simply! Have a great week! We enjoyed visiting Napa (although it was much too short of a visit!) xxoo :)

  3. Kate

    I apparently hit middle age around my 27th birthday this year. Love this list! I think reaching these points is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

  4. The enchanted home

    I like this post and am bookmarking it, to remind myself that at 45 I am still a spring chicken, haha. With age comes wisdom and I love the fact that I have realized in life from everything to home decor to friendships..its all about quality over quantity. It feels good to weed out and keep the “good stuff”. Great post!

  5. Suburban Princess

    Great post! Even tho I have a small child and am 40 I love every minute of it…the good and the bad. At 40 I am a much better parent than I would’ve been 15 years ago.

    At 40 I also have nothing to prove…I have the houses, cars, perfect child, marriage and now live life for me rather than with any major goals I need to accomplish and compete with.

  6. Mariette's Back to Basics

    Dearest Adrienne,

    Oh, I have to add a big fat exclamation mark at the end of your list! You summed it up great. Age is in the heart mostly and keeping a positive attitude is all what life is about! In January of 2010 I was almost completely paralyzed and believe me, since I recovered from that very rare auto-immune disease lots of things I did worry about before are no longer even ON the list. That was a good lessen and we have to enjoy every moment, every day and contentness is THE most important. Enjoying the little things and not reaching for things that are way out of reach or budget. Hollywood does not provide us good role models so we more should respect our grandmothers and mothers who all have shown us how to gracefully age, without whining.

    Lots of love,

    Mariette

  7. Terri

    Yikes, if these age categories are correct, I am elderly! I have pondered doing a similar post…I would not go back and be 16 or 25 for all the money in the world! And, yes, to #15.

  8. Bliss

    I started listing the ones I liked the best of your “benefits”…then I realized I was agreeing with/liking them all. I am thinking that my 40s are going to be good. And since I have had a little old soul my whole life, I feel like my outside is catching up with my inside (I think this is good). xxBliss (actually, it’s kind of sad I’ve been “old” for so long).

  9. BODECI body

    Oh, and I would like to add to number 25. I have found it is so much easier to say “yes” later to something you’ve said “no” to than to say “no” to something you have already agreed to do.

  10. LRS4AMANDA

    Adrienne,

    I agree with all of these…especially #6 and #20! Unfortuately some of those “rude people” happen to be in my husband’s family! At least my husband agrees and we limit our time around these individuals.

    I am alot more outspoken now then when I was younger, especially if someone is being obnoxious out in public. I embarrassed my daughter once when she & I were at a concert because I got in someone’s face that was doing just that…being obnoxious. I told her “just wait until you get to my age, you will be the same way”! ;)

    Linda

  11. Adrienne

    @Paula Having been out of the workforce since 2000, my experience is not current but back in my former career as a recruiter, I did see that my older candidates had a much harder time landing jobs than the younger set. Ageism was definitely alive and well in the workplace back then and I assume it still is in today’s job market, unfortunately.

    Trying to hold on to our youth can be a tiresome job that I am frankly not up to. I do enjoy exercising, but I’m not going to exhaust myself and spend hours and hours in a gym so I can hope that people guess my age younger than I am.

    I think it’s cute you wear blue nail polish…Tiffany blue at that. I bet your niece thinks you’re very cool and stylish :)

  12. Adrienne

    @Miss T After being on a strict low carb/Atkins diet for two years, I decided I can’t diet ever again. Food – carbs, sweets, cheese – is too wonderful not to enjoy. One of life’s true pleasures, in moderation of course!

  13. Adrienne

    @Cathi So good to hear that from you. Part of me worries about my 50′s – menopause, husband retiring, grandkids – but you and some of my other 50 and over friends have made me less worried because I can tell you all live full and happy lives.
    I would love to meet you for a coffee or lunch on one of your trips to Napa or anywhere in the Bay area if you ever have the time :)

  14. Adrienne

    @Laura I was told for so many years by a variety of older women that middle age basically sucks. And we have media telling us the same thing. How can we not be scared of middle age when we hear all the negatives? It’s not as bad as I thought it would be and I actually like most of being middle ages (not crazy about certain physical aspects).

  15. Adrienne

    @Kate If you already feel the way I do at 27, you are way ahead of the game in a big way! I wish I could have figured out all this stuff when I was in my 20′s. I would have saved myself lots of heartache and frustration!

  16. Adrienne

    @The enchanted home You have boiled it down into two phrases:

    “It’s all about quality over quantity” and “It feels good to weed out and keep the “good stuff’”.

    These ideas apply to belongings, experiences, thoughts, people, and food. To everything! xo, A

  17. Adrienne

    @Suburban Princess I agree that being an older parent has its advantages – I know I have more patience and could offer more structure as an older parent than I would have in my 20′s.

    I thought about “nothing to prove” after I published the post. I used to think I had to prove myself in every way – at work, to friends and family, in relationships. There is an acceptance and a certain amount of slowing down and letting go that come with age.

  18. beingFab

    Adrienne, that was such a lovely list, I’m gonna ask my mom to read it too.I guess the main thing is to be at peace with yourself at any age, and it becomes easier as you grow older because you know and love yourself more. Really wonderful post.

  19. Catherine Robinson

    A great post Adrienne…as a 51 year old I’m right into that bracket! I agree with all of your list…but especially
    No’s 10, 13, 15, 16 and 20!
    I think sometimes people forget what a privilege it is to grow older..age does bring wisdom and acceptance..I know I will never be that young girl or woman again…but I’m enjoying the ‘me’ I am now…I am so proud that my husband and I are still in love after 30-years together and that our daughter is growing into such a gorgeous, wonderful young woman …I count my blessings…life really is what you make it and how you look at life…it’s always better with a smile :)
    Have a great day!

  20. Fashion, Art and other fancies

    Ah, on being middle age. This is such a good topic of conversation.
    Am slowly approaching middle age and I adore it. I must confess that I like the idea of my personality maturing; as life does.
    Society has become so age related.
    But I do not allow that to dampen my spirit. I embrace my fate. Do the best I can and enjoy life.

  21. jill815

    What a great post. I hope you will submit it to IFB Links a la Mode because it needs to be read by as many people as possible. I so agree with you on everything you’ve written here. I will be 42 next month. I still feel I am a bit in the mommy trenches because I have an 8 year old and a 4 year old, but the light at the end of the tunnel as far as getting some more freedom from kid chores is growing brighter.

  22. Adrienne

    @La Vie Quotidienne Wisely put, La Vie. Every age has its advantages and disadvantages…when we are young, I don’t think we know what the advantages are until we aren’t young anymore.

    For many, middle age provides us with years of experience that allow us to recognize the advantages of our middle years now, instead of later when they are behind us.

    I, too, would like to remain in my middle years for a long, long time. :)

  23. Adrienne

    @Mariette’s Back to Basics Mariette,

    So sorry to hear about your devastating illness. I admire that you were able to recover and that you came out of it with new views on living.

    If we were asked to boil down what we really want into one phrase, I think most of us would say we want to be happy, or have joy in our lives , or to experience contentedness (which are three ways to say pretty much the same thing). The more we appreciate each day and enjoy each moment, the more likely we are to have what we want.

    And you are completely correct in pointing out that Hollywood (media in general) does not provide us with good role models. Nor do they help us find the happiness, joy and contentedness in our own lives – they do the exact opposite, in fact.

    Love your comment, by the way.
    xo, A

  24. Adrienne

    @TerriI wouldn’t go back to my teens or twenties either. I often think how hard it would be to be a young person today. I did such silly and downright stupid things when I was young, I am sure photos of my escapades would have ended up on Facebook or Twitter. And the emphasis on having a perfect body, perfect face was around in the 80′s when I was growing up, it wasn’t as in-our-faces as it is now.

    As far as #15 goes, it’s not that I don’t want to express my opinion when I hear something I don’t agree with, it’s just that I often don’t want to engage. The moment you open your mouth in a debate, you are stuck there for the duration. Plus, expressing an opinion that conflicts with a friend can make things unpleasant and/or awkward. Why go there? I like to keep most conversations with friends and family lighthearted and sans controversy. Once in a great while I feel it necessary to express myself if I get my back up about something. But that rarely happens anymore.

  25. Adrienne

    @LRS4AMANDA Oh those difficult people -most of us have them in our lives in the form of a family member, an ex, a difficult boss or co-worker, neighbor, fellow classmate. When you can’t get away from them, you must learn to manage the situation. I spent many years coping or rather ‘trying’ to cope with a difficult individual (who is not a family member, neighbor, co-worker, or classmate). After 12 long years, this person is mostly out of my life and my husband’s, but the stress and negativity really took its toll – both emotionally and physically. I learned that you really have to watch out for toxic people in your life. Get away if you can, if you can’t seek out tools to help you manage the relationship.

    Good for you for confronting that obnoxious person. I am rarely confrontational (I’ll bet you are too), but sometimes it is just plain necessary!

  26. fojoy

    What a great post! I love #9 & 10, and have yet to really experience #18…
    For me – its being happy with who I am and not try to be what other people want, or think I should be.

  27. Anonymous

    Love it! All so true. The one thing I would add (or rather, expand on, as you sort of hit it in #15) is that now I am able to decide how I want to react to something. When I was younger my emotions ruled, and I let whatever behavior felt good at the moment fly. Now I’m able to acknowledge my feelings and work out my next move, without giving in to the gnashing of teeth and depths of despair – and the bad behavior that goes with it. — Queen Lucia

  28. Vanessa@Luxuria

    Lovely post Adrienne and so much for me to take note of! I am actually paranoid about anyone using the term “middle-aged” for me, but I like your logical explanation:-)
    I’m not sure I am as settled in middle-aged as you are . I still sometimes feel like I am either treading water, or swimming the wrong way. I feel I have more work to do ;-)

  29. Jen-uinely Inspired

    What a great list! I turn 39 this year, and have to admit I’m freaking about a bit about being in my 40s soon. The good thing is though, is that I don’t feel almost 40. I really do believe that you are as old as you feel.

  30. Adrienne

    @Catherine Robinson You are a stunning 51 year old. Some of the most beautiful women I know (or have seen) are in their 50′s and beyond.

    So being curious, thinking positively, moderating opinions, posture and a smile and staying away from rude individuals struck a chord with you….those are some of my favorites – and the most noticeable changes since my youth (especially thinking positively and not putting up with others’ poor behavior).

    It is an enormous privilege to grow older. Have you heard that song that has the lyrics “when I grow up I want to be an old woman”…isn’t that the truth! A very good goal to have :)

  31. Adrienne

    @Fashion, Art and other fancies Love your comment – especially the part about our personalities maturing. It made me think of a fine wine or an aged cheese – they become more complex and more refined as time goes by.

    Being overly concerned with or fighting your age is sure to dampen our spirit. It really is awful the way getting older is frowned upon, as if there were something we could do to prevent it (and keep living).

  32. Adrienne

    @jill815 Do you think this post is okay to submit to IFB even though it’s not fashion-related?

    I would find a post about what it’s like to be in your 40′s or 50′s and have young kids. You are one of at least five bloggers I know who are in their middle years and have small children so I know it would be a popular topic.

  33. Adrienne

    @fojoy Finding a great hairdresser, cobbler, seamstress and manicurist takes time and trial. Once you find good ones, hold on tight and treat them well!

    I believe you can never be happy or content trying to be someone you’re not. I would imagine trying to be someone else would lead to lots of UNhappiness and result in some destructive behaviors.

  34. Adrienne

    @Anonymous Queen Lucia,

    That comment deserves it’s own number..#26. I remember those days of saying before thinking and unbridled emotions were free to roam wild. The pendulum swung very high in each direction – I would be very happy at times, then very sorrowful or angry at others. Such is the life of a dramatic teen. Everything is a BIG deal!
    Now that we are older, we can sit with our emotions, knowing that they will change with a little time – I am more apt to sleep on decisions now instead of jumping to conclusions or being quick to react to someone.

    So wise of you to bring this up. Thank you.

  35. Adrienne

    @Vanessa@Luxuria I detested the term Middle Aged too until I looked objectively at it. Back in the 80′s it became a common thing to talk about. People would be discussing middle aged crazy or have mid-life crisis all around me (my parents and their friends). It made me scared to think I might go through the same phase and act all nutty – or worse, marry someone who did. But it turns out, according to wikipedia, only 10% of people have mid-life crisis. And often it’s attributed more to a stressful event that just happens to occur in mid-life such as loss of a spouse, elderly parents, retirement.

    I wouldn’t say I am settled in middle age….I just am trying to focus on the positives. If I wanted to be very revealing, I would discuss all the crappy things about it. And maybe I will. Every age, as La Vie pointed out, has its good and bad. I think it’s a bigger adjustment moving into the 40s than it was moving into my 30′s. And the 50′s may be harder still. Time will tell.
    From what I know of you, you are a very, very positive person who loves life and appreciates all she has. From where I sit, you are doing very well, my middle aged friend. xo

  36. Mademoiselle Poirot

    Hi Adrienne, this post is so great and I like every single point. It’s odd, when I think “middle aged”, I still think old-ish looking ladies in comfy shoes… I think a lot of so-called middle aged people today don’t really fit that picture and it makes me happy to know that we have the freedom to be what we want, not what is expected.

    That also means wearing great dark-blue Dior nail varnish – a fab looking colour, elegance with a difference ;-)

    Wishing you a lovely week, Love from London xo

  37. HHL

    My dear friend, each point kept speaking volumes to me as I worked my way down your wonderful and well thought out list. I have printed it and posted it my desk board as a reminder that having one’s age begin with the number 4 is good place in life to be. xo HHL

  38. Adrienne

    @Mademoiselle Poirot The term “middle aged” usually makes us think of the women you describe: old-ladyish wearing comfy shoes. Several generations ago, I think women between 40 and 65 were expected to be old-lady looking. But with life spans being longer today and a realization that we don’t have to jump from young to old just because we reached a certain number, we can save those comfy shoes for a much later date.

    Your Dior polish is so fantastic….it’s going to be a toss up between that and the Chanel navy once I’m off my spending freeze!

    Hug from sunny California! xo, A

  39. Rebekah

    This list is being printed on my printer right now. I’m packing it for my birthday trip in a couple of months. On the morning of my birthday, I’m re-reading this list and pondering on one point per day for 25 days. You have been elevated to my daily Bible reading.

  40. Anonymous

    Spot on! I remember a friend, who was in her 80′s at the time, telling me that for women, the 40′s is our best decade as we’re old enough to know who we are, but still young enough to have energy and be attractive. I liked my 40′s, but now that I’m in my early 50′s, I like this decade even more. I’m even more aware of who I am; I may have to exercise more and be more careful with what I eat, but I actually feet more fit now–perhaps because I am now exercising (I didn’t need to in my 40′s, but am aware of the need as I age), and am more aware of my body. I also think I have better style. The bad things have been worsening eyesight–what a pain it is not to be able to read small print!–and hot flashes (I refuse to do hormone replacement therapy). Thinking of your post on alcohol and caffeine consumption above, maybe limiting both will help with the hot flashes.
    MMH

  41. Adrienne

    @Anonymous MMH,

    I too see that my style is better and overall, I am much more content and happy with my self and the choices I made in life than I have been in previous years. But the physical changes take some getting used to. i don’t have hot flashes yet – am dreading them – and my eyesight, although weakening, does not require glasses to read fine print. However, I do have the sagging skin, lowered energy and several other typical traits one would expect to see in a woman my age.

    I am happy to hear you are enjoying your 50′s. I had some other women in their 50′s say similar things and that makes me both pleased and relieved to enter my next decade.

    Thank you for your insight. A

  42. Michelle Roebuck

    Great list! My addition may be similar to others, but, alas, I don’t have time enough to read all the comments:

    When the need is great and I am able, I can listen to other people’s dramas and help them process without directly involving my own energetic resources – i.e. I don’t make their burden my own nor do I hold an expectation of any sort that they should actually follow my counsel. They either will or won’t at their own discretion.

  43. Adrienne

    @Michelle Roebuck Wonderful addition to the list! And I completely agree with you. I can be much more objective when it comes to others problems and I am better at giving advice (if asked for it) that is constructive rather than accusatory or preachy.

  44. La Dolfina

    Hello Adrianne,
    What a perfect day to land on your blog!
    I love your list!
    As Victor Hugo said,
    30 is the old age of youth and 50 is the youth of old age!
    I am your newest follower thanks to the enchanted home.
    Happy weekend
    Terri

  45. Lisa

    Also found you on Enchanted Home, what a great post. This makes me feel so much better about turning 44. I especially agree about the good posture, the importance of relationships with those that keep us looking good and exercise to be healthy not to necessarily be a tiny size. Enjoyed this.

  46. kim at northerncalstyle.

    Great piece Adrienne!

    I finally gotten around to reading this and I’m so glad because I must have missed it the first time around.

    All so true! Life really does get better and I think we get more satisfied too.

    The best part about aging is really not caring so much about what other people think of you. I also feel I try to be kinder and more polite and yes shut my mouth a lot more too!

    Love it!
    Kim :)

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