Tag Archives: Kindness

Are we all too immature to be president?


Welcome to Midlife Crisis, a new magazine-style column of a very real account of being over forty and sliding into a midlife mud pool.

Donald Trump has been told that he needs to be ‘more mature’ to be USA President. Yep,  amidst a long running feud with Fox News, Trump was  asked what he thought about criticisms that not only did he need to be  more, ‘kind and mature,’ but that Trump did not, in fact, behave in a presidential manner.

Now, here’s the thing: I can’t be doing with Donald Trump. He’s rude, sexist, doesn’t seem to apparently care what its like to struggle along the bread line of life. But, nevertheless, the immature thing got me thinking. You see, who, if any of us is mature enough to become something like President of the United States, or any country, for that matter? I wake up every day and am often amazed I’m a grown up – and I am 41 (I think…). And it’s not just me. Tonnes of friends I know who have hit our ‘middle aged years’ act like kids, in fact, we mess about so much that we get a right shocker when we look in the mirror and see, not a fresh-faced image staring back at us, but instead one marked by growing wrinkles, dark eye bags and Mr Magica style stick up grey hairs (and don’t get me started on the chin whisker…)

In a recent study into the differences in maturity between genders, it was revealed that both men and women agree men remain ‘immature’ well into their late 30s and early 40s. Now while, yes, I think we can all nod our heads sagely at this, isn’t it also true that we are all immature in our way? Most people I know, if you ask them, say they don’t feel their age and are waiting to grow up. We’ve just

Donald Trump: yes, this man wants to be USA president. Really.
Donald Trump: yes, this man wants to be USA president. Really.

moved house and it feels so grown up, the largeness of the place, the tree-lined garden, the ‘needs a lot of work doing to it’ plot it presides on. And yet I still can’t wait to meet up with friends and stay up till late singing to our dodgy karaoke machine. Ok, sure, come the next (two) days, we suffer more – headaches, aching limbs, slow, pulsing burning behind the eyes, but hey, we’re cool, right? Right..?

With Donald Trump,  his whole unsuitability to become President of the USA (God forbid. Please no, America, NO) is less to do with his apparent immaturity and more to do with him being, quite frankly, a total idiot. Basically, the man’s not a very kind or thoughtful person.

As for the rest of us, I don’t know – maybe a dash of middle-aged immaturity is just what the country, nay the world, needs. Because when we think young, we feel young – and who knows where that energy may take us? Just perhaps, first, we’ll let it lead us to the nearest sofa where our slippers are. We do, after all, as we age, quite like our small home comforts…

What do you think? Post your thoughts below…

My mind’s gone blank, but I’m having a good Northern natter on the radio…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” where I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author… Photo of a Diary

My mind’s gone blank. I’m sat here at my computer and I can’t think of a thing to write. That’s what happens to my head sometimes, long periods of tumbleweed where I can’t think of anything to say and then when I do say something, it turns out to be complete bobbins. As it goes, this is what also happens to me  when I listen to myself speak on the radio. A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by the lovely Claire Carter for the BBC Radio Gloucestershire Breakfast Show – and this week it’s airing, every day, 5 mornings a week. Oh dear lord. ‘Who-hoo!’ screeches the youngest, dive-bombing onto our bed. ‘Ouch!’ I cry. ‘That was my stomach!’ Apologising, the youngest catapults herself in between me and my half-asleep husband and settles down for a listen. ‘Turn it up, dad. Mum’s on in a minute.’ ‘Whhaaaaaaaa!’ comes another yell, this time from the direction of the room of the eldest, the door crashing to the wall as she belts in and belly flops on the mattress. ‘Bloomin’ heck,’ mutters my husband, ‘it’s like WWF in here.’ Ignoring the fact that the coffee I am holding has just spilt all over the sheets, we turn up the radio and settle down to listen.

Now, I don’t know about you, but there’s something about listening to the sound of my own voice that I just find, well, cringey. I’m originally a Dublin lass, but when I was about 5, we sailed the boat to Liverpool and with my mum, dad, sister and new baby brother, we set up home in Leyland, Lancashire, and overnight, I became a fully paid up Northerner. Since my childhood, I have moved about a far bit. I went to University in Liverpool, mixing my voice into the melting pot of accents from all over the UK.  Later, I worked in Manchester, moving down to Bristol with my Southerner husband, eventually settling in the Cotswolds surrounded by a mix of the Queen’s English on one hand and the farmer’s on the other.  And so, when we sit in the bedroom and hear my voice, I am quite surprised. ‘Mum,’ says the youngest, ‘that doesn’t sound like you.’ We all lean into the radio. ‘She’s right,’ says my husband, sitting up, ‘it doesn’t.’ We all nod. ‘You sound nice, mum,’ says the eldest. ‘What,’ I say, ‘like I don’t always sound nice?’ The ensuing silence speaks volumes.

And so, each day this week, in the ‘Thought for the Day’ slot, I am hearing my voice on the radio talking about Gloucestershire. Some days I sound right northern, others I swear I could be from the south, but each time the things that I am talking about come across, well, okay, really. I return home later that morning and switch on the radio only to catch the second slot of the day at 8.45a.m. where they repeat my thought of the day from the earlier 6.45am slot. The thing that really touches me this time though is the presenter, Mark Cummings. Because, even though he doesn’t have to, when he introduces me he talks about my writing, mentioning my e-book, The Boy Who Played Guitar, by name. It makes me stop and think, about how nice people are sometimes and how, even when you don’t ask, they will do something for you, something that can help, something that can make all the difference.

‘Do you know,’ I say to my husband later that evening, red wine in hand, ‘when this week of radio interviews have aired, I’m going to send a thank-you email to Mark and Claire at BBC Gloucestershire. They’ve been so good to me, mentioning my book, tweeting about me, all sorts.’ My husband puts his arm around me and gives me a hug. ‘And they’re running your main book interview this week, too.’ My bottom lip wobbles. ‘Look,’ he says, ‘it’s because you’re so nice, honey, that’s why they do these things.’ I start to cry. ‘You okay?’ he asks. I nod and wipe my nose. ‘Wouldn’t it be great,’ I say, ‘if it all worked out and I really could make a living out of writing.’ He smooths back my hair. ‘What would you write about when you make it there?’ he says. I open my mouth to say something and then frown. I take a swill of wine. ‘What were you going to say?’ asks my hubbie. I shrug. ‘I’ve completely forgotten. My mind’s just gone blank.’ He sighs and we stick the telly on.

Catch me on BBC Radio Gloucestershire all this week at 6.45a.m. and 8.45 a.m. You can also listen to the Mark Cummings breakfast show on BBC iPlayer here

**Out tomorrow: “Thursday Thought”, where I post my local weekly newspaper column to the blog. This week: do we worry too much as parents today?**