I am a big believer that making mistakes in life is all part of the journey. Often the greatest successes come on the back of - what feels like at the time - the most gargantuan failures. We get back up, dust ourselves off and move onto better things.

Then there are the mistakes that fall into another genre entirely. Yep, the “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” variety. And, as a woman in her mid-forties, this is an adage that rings true on so many levels.

When you think about the annals of history and human existence, the Middle Ages are synonymous with being fraught with peril. And, at times, navigating middle age - or midlife - can seem equally dicey.

There are definitely days when being stretched on a medieval torture rack or placed in thumbscrews would be far preferable to masquerading as a responsible adult.

Here are three midlife myths we need to bust:

Worrying about getting older

Midlife sometimes feels like going through puberty in reverse, certainly as a woman with menopause looming. Many of us will remember that special lesson at school, aka “being a teenager: how your body will change”.

I feel there really should be an equivalent tutorial rolled out as you hit your early forties titled “middle age: how your body will change”.

I’m in the “best shape” I have been for years. That “shape”, however, differs markedly from how being “in shape” looked in my twenties and thirties. I’m not talking about fitness levels, but rather body composition.


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While I’m roughly the same weight as I was in my early thirties, the clothes that fitted me back then either hang off me like an ill-fitting poncho or make me look like a sack of potatoes tied twice. Everything sits, well, differently. And I don’t just mean the clothes.

Yet, here’s the kicker: I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have. Middle age is an impressively liberating creature.

Saying “if I can just get through this week …”

Ah yes, the little white lie that we whisper to ourselves each Monday morning: knuckle down and next week will be better/quieter/less shambolic.

The reality: it rarely is. Instead, the trick is simply to ride the wave of chaos as best you can and surf towards the weekend without wiping out or getting sucked beneath the swell.

Some weeks you land on the beach with a salmon in your mouth. Others you end up in the belly of a whale and are subsequently spat out looking like a decomposed prune. Them’s the breaks. Will next week be better? Probably not.

Imagining you will be effortlessly chic

I spent my teens reading glossy magazines where a staple theme was that every fun-loving, girl-about-town needed to nail the perfect “day-to-night” outfit.

The idea being that you could be suitably attired for a dreary office setting, swanky restaurant or trendy nightclub alike with the clever use of a cardigan, banana hair clip and a few strategically placed safety pins (or something along those lines; I never quite grasped the concept).


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Then the sartorial stakes levelled up and the onus became on mastering the essence of a “capsule wardrobe”, a premise purported to take the agony out of choosing what to wear by utilising a handful of items to create multiple stylish outfits.

I’m pleased to say that, at the age of 46, I have finally conquered the capsule wardrobe. Or at least my version of it. I simply peruse the clothes airer each morning, select whatever is dry, put it on and voila, good to go. No fuss, no muss.

Tune in next week for my top tips on how to brazen out a gardening fleece as haute couture.