There’s very little point in playing the numbers game

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STEVE CANAVAN: The case of the 'kitchen' door is open and shut

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Anyone who saw Jerry Hall sashay across the dance floor in her glitzy dress recently couldn’t help but think ‘if that’s middle age, I’ll take it’.

The soon-to-be Strictly Come Dancing star is 56 and according to a new survey that means she’s just entered an important chapter in her life – the one that most of us dread, if we’re being honest.

But there was Jerry, complete with full mane and a vampish swagger, making getting older look just a little less scary.

A few years back, middle age was officially defined as starting at 35 and ending at 58.

Aside from the fact that was always a pretty grim prospect, the numbers never did quite stack up.

I know blokes well into their 30s who I’d officially still categorise as adolescents. Many of them are unlikely to achieve the mental maturity required to move on into their middle ages until they’re at least 49.

So it was about time that the age bands received some attention and 55 has now been plucked from the air as the magic figure that heralds the start of middle age and the end of all that lovely, virile, youthfulness.

And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

Despite the fact there are now more over-65s in the UK than under 16s, it’s impossible and pointless to try and lump people into middle and old age any more.

Plenty of us will be forced to work well into our 70s, an increasing number of couples aren’t having children until they’re in their 40s and the average first-time house buyer is 35.

On the flip-side, TV presenter Fern Britton waited until she was 53 before getting her first tattoo and 50-year-old Nancy Dell’Olio insists on dressing like a teenager let loose in her local branch of Ann Summers.

Heck, even 68-year-old Sir Ranulph Fiennes appears to have acquired a thatch in his quest to look young.

At the end of the day, age really is the last thing that we should ever worry about.

When you think about it, the alternative to getting older is being dead.

It’s best to tick the years off with gratitude and leave the survey-makers to draw their own conclusions.