The Secret of Life

They say your forties are a time of discovery, when you finally begin to understand who you really are and what drives you. I've always thought it ironic that you finally get to grips with life just as you start to realise you aren't going to live forever. I've written before about that disquieting sense that you are turning in to your parents. When you realise you haven't a clue what's at Number One. That you're sure today's children are a lot louder than you were at that age. And that teenage girls go to school wearing skirts shorter than the jumper you had to wear for your uniform. But there are a few advantages. You make many discoveries that make life so much easier. Firstly, you don't have to watch reality tv - because what goes on in the Big Brother House rarely comes up for discussion at the dinner table. Secondly, you don't have to feel guilty or embarrassed if someone asks you where you got a particular item of clothing and the answer isn't Topshop. Thirdly, when old school friends or their mums find you that you still aren't married, they no longer try to offer up their single brother or offspring and, rather than offer you an encouraging 'don't worry - there's someone out there somewhere', they are often admiring and even quietly jealous of what they now perceive as your unrestricted lifestyle (don't forget they are older now too!) But fourthly, and this I believe truly is the secret of life - you have discovered that the most important thing you own is a pair of comfortable shoes.