9 micro-mistakes that every midlifer makes

Annabel Rivkin and Emilie McMeekan
You’d think, by now, that we’d have learnt. - Getty Images

You’d think, by now, that we’d have learnt. That we would make the mental calculations required to not keep doing the same things and expecting different results. You’d think, wouldn’t you, that we’d KNOW. That we’d be grown-up enough to pay attention. Apparently not. Because we persist in…  

  1. Drinking 25 cups of coffee - Because perhaps the 25th cup will be the one that calms the jitters, gives us the laser focus and stops us seeing colours/demons/floating lights in the corner of the room?
  2. Making plans for things we don’t want to do - We have some key thinking on this. Someone asks you to something in the future that isn’t Hamilton or 10 days  in Mauritius. Take a moment (ha!) to decide whether you would want to do it if it was happening tonight. No? Then no. Ditto being friends with people you don’t really like. Would you be sad or panicked if they called right now? Yes? Then please go and stay away.   
  3. Messing up introductions - We need a system. A better system. Because right now we are all too often introducing ourselves to people we’ve met before, which is insulting. And saying ‘we’ve met’ to complete strangers, which is bewildering. Manners are meant to put people at ease, not panic and offend them. We are too keen. We should just aim for an enigmatic and husky ‘hello’. Which (in Emilie’s case) would require a personality transplant or heavy medication. She is a puppy in woman-form.
  4. Killing House plants - It’ll be different this time. It will. Our fingers will mystically transform into nature-nurturing paws of plenty. A mere glance from us will have those pot plants inching upwards, blooming, producing new and unheard of varieties of petal and fruit… *the sound of plants crying*. Annabel even managed to kill some succulents. Quite hard, that.
  5. TV ennui - Hate-watching season after season of something on Netflix because we are too mentally overloaded to start anything new and get to know the characters and the plotlines and so we sit and stare – inwardly seething – and think  it will suddenly get good and the actors will get un-annoying. 
  6. Misjudging mornings - Mornings are so hot. Not (generally) as in sexy. But as in sweaty. Hot shower. Layers. Forgetting things. Up and down. In and out. Tempers frayed. Keys. Phone. Laptop. Stuff. Boiling physically and emotionally. Can’t even look at a coat. Wool. Ugh. Body temperature may never again regulate. Tights? The work of the devil. Scarf? Can hardly breathe at the thought. Leave house for icy commute in floaty dress. Hypothermic by 9.02am. So cold by lunchtime that we end up buying a coat that we can’t afford and hate for ever and which stares at us, from the cupboard, as a symbol of our failure.
  7. Charging off - Your battery must be 110 per cent charged before you leave the house. Limit the Instagram. Easy on the Amazon. Silence the WhatsApp groups. Even then the day is punctuated by the stress of watching helplessly as your battery depletes itself with all the missed calls, reminders, app notifications, texts, emails. And yet still you resist the portable charger. They are for other people.
  8. Drunk. Again. - After all these years. And all the mistakes. And all the regrets. And all the therapy (‘Why did you feel the need to not be present?’). We persist in thinking that being drunk will make us not only brave, but somehow irresistible. Just as, when booze is free-flowing, we wilfully ignore any concept of units and decide that we are immune to the effects of alcohol. 
  9. Kamikaze chewing - We no longer have teenaged brains (thank God) or teenaged bottoms (shame) – but we also no longer have teenaged teeth. Which we remember only after biting into a vast toffee or slab of nougat. Will it rip out a filling or a crown? We don’t think of pain. Or drills. We think of overdrafts. And bills. And yet…