Monday Gravy: The New “Middle Age”

My friend turned 55 over the weekend.

He talked about being a senior citizen now.. at least in California.  He mentioned the upcoming “senior moments” he’d be experiencing.  I protested wildly.

“No!” I asserted. “I hate that term.  The only reason we can’t remember things as we age is because of all the stuff crammed into our brains. It has nothing to do with our capacity to remember.”

Even as I wrote it I saw the fallacy.  The more we have to remember, the older we are.  It does have to do with aging.. and that’s that.

My friend’s claiming to be a senior citizen was especially disconcerting because since we are the same age, it meant that I was one, too.  He makes a good point, though, when he says he probably won’t live to be 110.. dispelling that trendy adage about 50 being the new 30 (or 40.. I forget which it is right now).

Technology and medicine keep raging into the 21st century with innovations that prolong life. Let’s face it.. that’s true. People live longer, healthier lives than ever before. Maybe that’s part of my objection to the “senior citizen” reference.

But I suspect it’s something else.  I’m not ready to die.. at least I don’t think I am.  That long, slow decline from age 40 (or even earlier, some say) gets faster with every year.  I find myself not denying it as much as ignoring it. But maybe I do both.

My friend is right.  55.. or even 50.. is not the new middle age.  We are way past that.  It doesn’t mean we are dead or dying,  just past middle age.  And with everything our modern world gives us to look forward to.. I still expect vitality and joy.

Come to think of it.. what’s ever been so great about “the middle” anyway?  It’s safe, it’s sandwiched in between two extremes.

I am officially past middle age and while that slapped me silly when I realized it, it also cracked open doors.  Doors that lead to more of who I really am.. doors that fling wide to parts unknown.  And that doesn’t necessarily include The Early Bird Special at 4:30 pm.

I like the sound of that adventure..

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7 thoughts on “Monday Gravy: The New “Middle Age”

  1. I love your point about “sandwiched”, middle and all, because it denotes the idea of responsibility, let’s face it without the pnut butter in the middle it’s just bread, so it’s alot of pressure to be squished into the center of all that’s happening and be the “reason” for the insanity of our world. Dang it! I really wanted the easy life of no more kids, job, bills, all that… isn’t that what comes later?…please, (she begged)

  2. Michelin.. Thanks for the kind comment. You make a good point about the “middle” as a bonding agent for the two halves. In our youth we are, let’s face it.. clueless. In our more “senior” half, we finally get it.. and while all responsibilities don’t magically disappear (doggone it).. I’m finding a bit of respite in claiming myself–finally!

  3. I think you are right. One extreme (youth) is “clueless.” It really was kind of squishy trying to hold everything together in the “middle” years. I’m really liking this time in my life. And adventure? Now I can explore avenues that I couldn’t before. Breathing room. But even as I think that, I also know I won’t have time to explore all the things I’d like to in this life. One look in the mirror reminds me that time is marching forward. Good thing this life isn’t the end.

    • Great thoughts, Karen. Not having enough time to do everything we want is a good thing, I think.. it denotes passion. As someone I know recently said, “If you can accomplish everything you want in your lifetime, you’re not dreaming big enough.” I loved that!

  4. I think you are right. One extreme (youth) is “clueless.” It really was kind of squishy trying to hold everything together in the “middle” years. I’m really liking this time in my life. And adventure? Now I can explore avenues that I couldn’t before. Breathing room. But even as I think that, I also know I won’t have time to explore all the things I’d like to in this life. One look in the mirror reminds me that time is marching forward. Good thing this life isn’t the end.
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

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