"MIDDLE age is just a state of mind," said Maggie, as she looked in her compact mirror and smacked her lips in appreciation.
I have to agree. I'm coming up to my 51st birthday shortly and while my body can't move as fast as it used to, my mind thinks it's still in 1985. Back then, middle age was pinpointed at 36, but as our population ages, we are starting to redraw the cut-off point where we think we have gone over the hill. New research shows that most adults now consider middle age to start at 55.
A learning website called Love to Learn conducted a survey among 1,000 adults who believe that middle age not only starts at 55, but continues until we are at least 69. However, a sizeable minority, including myself and Maggie, believe middle age is a state of mind.
The Love to Learn survey also found that, far from getting depressed about middle age, adults in their 50s were upbeat.
Gill Jackson, director of Love to Learn, said: "More than half said they have more confidence and experience than younger people and are less afraid of making mistakes."
All of which brings us right back to Maggie.
"Middle age is just a state of mind," she said again. When she repeats herself like this she's usually building herself up to tell us something. "What have you done now?" asked Josie.
Maggie glanced furtively over both shoulders before pulling down her top. There, on her left boob, just above her nipple, was a small tattoo of what looked like an open book. Fifty Shades of Grey had obviously left a big impression.
"Eh ... why have you got a tattoo of a book on your boob," asked Patsy.
"Oh, for gawd's sake. It's not a book, it's the wings of a dove," she retorted.
We sat there thunderstuck before Patsy said: "You know, when you finally do hit middle age and your boobs drop even further, the wings of that dove are going to have the span of an albatross."
"You're one to talk.
"You could tattoo a whole flock on yours and there would still be room for a bird table."
They both went into a sulk until Josie said: "It's very nice Maggie and ... well ... brave."
"Not really, it's only henna. It comes off."
That's it -- middle aged or not, we're all getting one!