Midlife Niceness

OK, so I’m beginning to suspect I’m not going to have a midlife crisis. No sports cars for me. I’m quite pleased about it.

And yet…

Is it not slightly irresponsible to move into middle age without some grand futile gesture of resistance to the idea of mortality? I should do something. After all, the urge to recapture something lost is not completely alien to me. I get it. I’m old now.

I was never going to buy that sports car I always wanted because I have never wanted a sports car. I’m not going to take up a dangerous and expensive hobby because, you know, effort. I’m very happily married so having an affair is a non-starter. But I should do something. Shouldn’t I?

Last Sunday was my birthday. I am 42. That number has a significance to anyone who spent 29% of their teenage years reading and rereading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s the answer to the ultimate question. The meaning of life, the universe, and everything.


I had a think and what I thought was this: How can I mark this milestone? How can I celebrate this not even slightly significant birthday? And I asked myself, what is the meaning of life? Because it isn’t getting a fancy new car or taking up chainsaw juggling, is it? It’s being nice. It’s being generous and gentle and kind.

Now, I will happily admit, I am already a reasonably decent human being. I recycle. I’m in the PTA. I say please and thank you. You get the idea. But could I be nicer? Could I be a champion of niceness? I dunno. Thought I’d give it a go anyway.

An obvious first step would be to stop using Twitter to vent my anger at the world. Not that I think there is anything particularly wrong with being angry about, oh I don’t know, politics or something. You don’t even have to pick a side anymore. Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, you name it, they are all impossibly infuriating. Nor do I have any problem with people getting angry about stuff on Twitter (within limits, of course). It’s just that other people do it better than I do.

Step one then, use Twitter differently.

Step two is to be nicer to myself. Bit selfish? Maybe. But you know, I’M HAVING A MIDLIFE CRISIS OVER HERE, CUT ME SOME SLACK! During my thinking about what I might like to do now I’m, like, well old, I did some thinking about how I kind of like drawing but don’t really do it anymore because I am not very good at it. I also did some thinking about how practice makes perfect. I also did thinking about projects and how I like birds and how maybe I could draw, or attempt to draw, every bird on the British List* as a nice drawing project. Maybe I could even post the drawings on Twitter. It’s got to be better than another rant about Brexit. It will certainly be nicer. You could laugh at the early ones, then, over time, celebrate, or begrudgingly admit, that I have improved slightly. That would be nice.

I had other thoughts too, other ideas, but we can get to them later. We can keep them as surprises. Surprises are definitely nice.

Nice nice nice nice nice.


*For those of you who don’t know but want to, the British List is the list of every bird that has been seen in the uk, even if they only turned up once by mistake or, as in one case, now extinct. It’s a tad over 600 species, so it should take me a while.