The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday
THE MIDLIFE MOT
HEALTH AND WELLBEING 1 Are you fitter now than you were 10 years ago?
a) You must be joking, my tummy hides my toes and I puff just walking up the stairs b) I try and walk 5,000 steps a day and play tennis occasionally: not bad c) I walk 10,000 steps at least a day and own a kettlebell for resistance exercise. Use it or lose it, right?
2 Do you pay proper attention to what you eat?
a) Yes! I love a roast, cream on my pudding, cheese and biscuits b) I lay off ready meals and usually get my five a day – just the odd takeaway c) Thirty fruits and veggies a week, only a little sugar and mostly a Mediterranean diet. I’ve also started trying fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kefir
3 How’s your sleep?
a) I toss and turn a bit, but I find a tot of whiskey helps b) Black-out blinds, a hot bath and de-stressing meditation before bed usually works c) Sleep is the basis of midlife health, my top priority. I have custom-moulded silicone ear plugs, a Tempur neck pillow with silk pillowcase, eyeshade, 240mg magnesium glycinate supplement at bedtime and a few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow. Zzzzzzz…
RELATIONSHIPS 4 Are you getting enough love and physical contact?
a) I can’t remember the last time someone held my hand or gave me a hug. b) I hug my spouse when we’re watching TV and in bed sometimes. My children aren’t very keen on cuddles anymore, but I love stroking my dog/cat c) Humans are designed for hugging. If I am alone, I hug myself. Wrapping your arms around your body (or someone else’s) stimulates the “love” hormone oxytocin, lowers cortisol and can even reduce pain.
5 Women only: how are your hormones? Are you menopausal? Do you know?
a) A few hot flushes and I don’t sleep that well b) I feel a bit flat, cry when I don’t know why and my joints ache c) My eyes are dry, I have a burning mouth, recurrent UTIs, severe headaches and tinnitus. Ladies, ALL of the above could be due to lowering oestrogen levels – if you have any of these symptoms go to your doctor and have a conversation about HRT
6 When was the last time you felt seriously out of your comfort zone and learnt something new?
a) Can’t teach an old dog new tricks
b) It feels so exciting to pick up a new skill or hobby. Wild swimming? Fell walking? Why not?
c) I have a card on my desk that says: Do something that scares you every day – which my friend crossed out and wrote: “Only one?” Did you know
The old model of threestage lives – education, work, retirement – no longer works
companies started by 50-somethings are twice as successful as those founded by younger entrepreneurs? a) My father was a lawyer, like me, my parents always wanted me to be a member of the golf club and we still holiday exactly where I did as a child b) My parents are getting older and I’m finding myself locked in the same kind of rows with my brothers and sisters as we had when we were children, only somehow they are more bitter as it is about looking after Mum and Dad and the inheritance. I need to think about this… c) Now that I am 50 I finally feel like I am throwing off the shackles of my family. I feel free to be me and make my own decisions
8 How would you start to look for a new job?
a) Dust off the old CV. It’s on paper, so maybe try and get it, um, uploadable, if that’s the word. Seems like a lot of work, though. And the garden needs attention… b) I emailed a headhunter the other day – embarrassing because my email is thebrowns@gmail. com. She suggested I get my own email address and Zoom account – without the silly-face setting the kids left on it. I’ll get a new portrait photo while I’m at it c) I’ve souped up my LinkedIn profile and every week I reach out to five new people and introduce myself and then add them to my network. My profile leads with my skills, how I am a great problem-solver, am superresilient and have a growth mindset. I’ve also created a strong narrative about my life up until now, which fills in some of the gaps in my CV. It’s all about a convincing story and I’ve practiced telling it
MODERN LIFE 9 How do you rate your tech skills? What can you do?
a) I have minions who do all of that for me. I love a bit of WhatsApp, though, and I can even do the FaceTime thing with my kids b) I’m pretty handy on Zoom, Team, Excel spreadsheets, Google Docs, Adobe – officey stuff. Not such a whiz on social media, beyond a bit of Facebook c) I just bought a load of
Non Fungible Tokens and am using StreamYard to broadcast simultaneously to LinkedIn and Facebook for my thought leadership. I regularly update my socials – LinkedIn, Twitter, Telegram, Insta, but haven’t got my head round TikTok yet
10 How about personal finances, pension etc?
7 How do you feel about the influence of your own family and their expectations of your life – are they still relevant?
a) It’s all stuffed into a drawer somewhere. Terrifying. Pass me the wine, will you? b) Went through it the other day. We’ve got all sorts of different pensions from different places, but I’ve made an appointment to go and sort it next month c) We’ve unified all our pensions and we manage them on Transact. We updated our Wills, did powers of attorney for each other, have appointed an executor and started planning for inheritance tax and so on
THE BIG STUFF
11 What have you always wanted to do? What is your purpose? What is your legacy?
a) Er. Pay the bills, feed the family. Um. Watch telly and mooch about. You know… b) When I was young I dreamt that one day I might… and I still might. It’s like an itch that needs to be scratched. Maybe this is the year… c) This time of life is all about purpose – doing something I feel good about, which makes the world a better place, which takes all my experience and skills and puts them to good use. It’s funny I work a lot of hours on this passion project because I love it. I feel so engaged and proud to be having an impact. I’ve never felt so happy…