Friday, November 5, 2010

Aging (Not So) Gracefully

First of all, yes, I know I'm not "old". But I'm not "young." Does that make me middle-aged? I don't know. Frankly, I don't really care. Or do I?

Just so you know, I am 43. I'll be 44 in just a few weeks. I kinda like the sound of being age 44...maybe because it's a multiple of 11. LOL! Or maybe because it's double-22, which is my favorite number. Who knows. But still, approaching my mid-forties (heck, I'm in them, why deny it), is a good time for some level-setting. I decided to find out if I am, indeed, "middle aged".

From Wikipedia:

"Middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. Various attempts have been made to define this age, which is around the third quarter of the average life span of human beings.
According to
Collins Dictionary, this is "... usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 40 and 60".
Oxford English Dictionary gives a similar definition but with a later start point "... the period between youth and old age, about 45 to 60".
The US Census lists middle age as including both the age categories 35 to 44 and 45 to 54, while prominent social scientist,
Erik Erikson, sees it ending a little later and defines middle adulthood as between 40 and 65."

So, according to the "experts", or people from whom traditional wisdom flows, yes, I probably am middle-aged. Although, I am young-middle aged. ;)

But then, I noticed something here: it's the period *between* young adulthood and old age. If you go along with this article, and believe that young adulthood goes all the way to 40 (I always thought of "young adults" as being about 18 - 25), then wow - I'm just now beyond youth! That's pretty exciting, considering mentally I'd say I'm 27. I've even told people jokingly at times I'm 27, and they believe me. So that's good. Or is it?

Lately, I've been thinking, what if the things that I do aren't "age-appropriate"? For example, I love to collect Barbie dolls, I squeal over cute handbags, I find floral prints to be "old-lady-looking", I still listen to heavy metal, my hair is long and artificially colored, I pay attention to celebrity gossip. Is it time, at this step over into "middle-age" to abandon these things?

And I ask myself, "for what?" Do I want to become a housecoat-wearing, gray-headed, news-watching, Kenny G-listening, quaint lady with no hobbies? Of course not. OK, maybe I should watch the news more, and work some Kenny G into my repertoire; it's always good to expand your horizons, but why launch into something that's boring just for the sake of getting older?

Some additional arguments:
Me: I'm getting close to only having 21 years left in the workforce. It's time to mature.
Me2: So? If you only feel "27," when you retire you'll only be "48", or maybe closer to "36" since you've been "27" for a while look at all the fun left to have? There'll be time for maturity later.

Me: I don't want to be the lady at the bar in the rock club that gets laughed at by the 20-something crowd.
Me2: Why not? If they're laughing, you're doing it right! What's wrong with providing amusement to others? Besides, they'll be having this same conversation with themselves in a few years, and you already know the deal.

Me: Halloween costumes these days are parodies of what I wore when I was in my 20's. And they're doing it wrong! How disrespectful!
Me2: Disrespectful? What a better compliment to something important from the past than to try to recreate it? What would be disrespectful is if they never even tried. *You* lived it - and they're in awe of your awesomeness. Totally.

Me: I actually can remember when phones had dials. And when songs would cut off in the middle of the program on the 8-track in order to switch to the next program, and then resume.
Me2: And your parents can actually remember when there wasn't any air condition, and they had to buy ice every week, and groceries every day so the food wouldn't spoil, and... And besides, you've adopted the new technology (you're writing in BLOG for crying out loud), so just hold on to the nostalgia so you'll have your own "when I was your age..." stories to amuse the kids with.

Me: It's too late to be a rock star.
Me2: Do you really want to be a rock star?
Me: Of course, who doesn't?
Me2: *Really*?
Me: Well, probably not an international sensation or anything like that...
Me2: Would you have ever wanted that?
Me: Probably not.
Me2: So what level of rock star do you want to achieve?
Me: I'd like to play some gigs around town, maybe; mostly just find some friends to work on some songs and maybe have a band sometimes that play together frequently. Not looking at music to make money, just to have fun and be with like-minded people.
Me2: And, why is it too late for that?
Me: Well...I guess it's not too late.
Me2: So, get on it!!

And so ends the argument.


Food Czar said...

Chick, it's never too late to discover who you want to be. Remember, Colonel Sanders was retired when he started KFC. This proves he was not chicken to do what he wanted, and you shouldn't be either!

Barbies4Sale! said...

The "40's" are a breeze. It's when you hit 50, that realized you're in trouble. Ah, to be 40 again. Heck, even 45. But, 55? Just shoot me! ;)

(following you on twitter)