Monday, April 16, 2012

Middle-Age: Am I There Yet?

Thanks to Bookalicious Pam for the prompt. She recently tweeted, “What is middle age?”

Wow. What IS  middle age? Am I there yet?

Looking at longevity stats for Western countries, life expectancy is roughly 80-85. Depending on sooo many factors.

So midlife begins at 40?

I did not feel middle-aged at 40. No. Forty seems young from here.

Now that I’m coming up on 55, yes, I do feel middle-aged, although as I joke in my heading, only if I live to be 108. Not counting on it.

In writing this blog over the past year, I have come to better terms with my own aging.  Despite my whining and gnashing of teeth.

A few downsides: I’m having a realllyy rough menopause, in case this is your first time here.  Holy cannoli—let’s leave it at that—I am so tired of menopause that even I, a menopause princess, am momentarily sick of talking about it.

Why does my health come to mind first of all when I consider my middle-agedom?

Health is not everything, but it is A LOT. If you have good health, little brothers and sisters, do not squander it or take it for granted.

I get migraines, have had some heart rhythm problems, and ridiculously, stubbornly high cholesterol. A few aches and pains. Not bad, all in all, but in middle-age, there can be that nagging question, even for the relatively healthy—what’s the next health problem?

As for the vanity stuff: my body has been rearranging itself, my neck is squishy, I would like to be more fit, but I can walk for an hour without tiring and climb steps easily in our three story house. My skin is paying for having spent years working outside in the southern sun. Too late to change that now.

I have a good husband who loves me, saggy bits and all. He tells me I’m pretty. He doesn’t wear his glasses much, and that is A-OK with me.  

I have a Mom who is my friend, and at 82 is in reasonably good health and I see her often. We take walks together.

I have some siblings who I love, and a few I even get along with.

I have friends. Some of my best friends I have not met in person, but that doesn’t matter.

I have a job; I like working with the community college students that I teach.

I go to church, but I am pretty private about my faith.

I have learned some life lessons that I didn’t know at forty, late bloomer and slow thinker that I am. Keep your eyes, ears, and hearts open, little grasshoppers, and you will keep learning, too.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is when to shut-up.

I’m still not sure what middle age is, Bookalicious Pam. But this, where I am now, seems like it to me. It’s a bit hard won for any of us, but it’s okay. Don’t be afraid.

You will still be you when you are middle-aged.


  1. I am with you. I am clearly middle age - way beyond young but not ready to be old yet. I am beyond menopause (and have used modern medicine to help me with that journey) and have a whole assortment of aches and pains - most of which I chalk up to being an active and alive person whose body is saying, "I'm tired."
    What is middle age? When your kids are all grown up (or pretty much grown up) and you still belong to the work force-- and maybe you are taking care of your elderly parents. Too old to go out and be wild (too tired too) but too young to retire.

  2. Hurray for modern medicine-- without pharmaceutical help, I'd be in a padded room. More power to those who can go natural, but I was nearly incapacitated without my chemicals.
    Yes, on the elder parent theme, I came home from work yesterday to find my MIL had left two doors to the outside wide open. It's a miracle there weren't deer, raccoons, and tom cats roaming the house. Oh, la-la. ;-)

  3. I'm with you on all counts (except the menopause part, haven't had that pleasure yet).

    But it is damm hard to start checking that [45-55] box. I've already cheated twice and checked 44. Age is just a number, I say it and I live it. How come I'm so bothered?

  4. OH, Melanie, don't ask me why, but this blog made me cry. I guess I heard your heart speak today. And you also spoke for me. Maybe it is also because I am feeling so very tired these days. It's like my zen has left me, and I am fighting hard to get it back. :)

    I feel aches and pains now I've NEVER felt before. I am sure it is menopausal, but I really thought, for a while there, I was getting better. Woe be unto me. lol!

    Some days I am up, but most days I am down. So here we go, another day, another week, but let's keep moving forward. :)

    Loved this post, Melanie, thank you for always writing the truth!

    Much love and BIG hugs,

  5. Now, see, Megan, you've given yourself away-- I thought you were maybe 35, tops!
    Who comes up with those age brackets, anyway? As long as you have a 4 at the front of your age, you're young to me.
    May your menopause be a breeze, with you wondering what Virginia and the gang were ranting about!

  6. Oh, Virginia, we'll prop each other up, my sweet.
    I have had a long string of those days, too, and never know how I'll feel when I get up in the morning. We need some relief from the Menopause Banshee!
    Hugs back, my dear!

  7. I'm turning 35 in a couple of months, but with running injuries, stress-related health issues, and other insanity there are days when I wake up and wonder how I'm going to make it all the way to 70. Not in a negative way. Really! Just in a sort of there-is-no-such-thing-as-perpetual-motion sort of slow-yourself-the-hell-down sort of way. Maybe that's some wisdom that's waiting for me at 40 :-)

  8. Desi-- you are already light years wiser than I could have dreamed of being at 35, so by 40, look out, world!;)

  9. Your post is sad in a way, yet comfortable too despite your physical discomfort. I am older than you and understand.

    For me, the sadness isn't with the physical stuff, at least anymore, but knowing I won't be alive when my Grandchildren experience adult life. I want to be there when they graduate college, when they marry and when they have kids. Hope at least I get a peak.

    Glad you are wiser, but hope the menopause thing fades out already. It can be a nasty imposition to life.

  10. I loved this--and my favorite part was the keep learning part. I think keeping an open mind and heart is the key to feeling alive and not merely just living.

    A bazillion, gazillion years ago, when filling out the form for the information that would accompany my name in my high school yearbook senior year, I filled the "life's ambition" line with, "To never stop growing and changing." At the time, it was more a function of not having any idea whatsoever what I was going to try to do with my life, but in retrospect, it strikes me as wise beyond my years. Heh.

  11. Hi Elaine, I hope that you do get to enjoy your grandchildren as adults-- my gran did, and I bet you will too.

    Please keep telling me that I will get through menopause. I really do need to hear that. It keeps me hoping, truly, my friend.

    Hopefully we have many adventures left in store before we put the bucket list in the shredder, so to speak!;)

  12. Hi MM, You were wise beyond your years in high school, and that's still holding true, you young thang.

    Your consistent quality writing on your blog never ceases to amaze me. Don't be surprised when the Today show calls you for an interview, and remember us, the little people. Not kidding!:)

  13. Awww. Melanie, you made me blush. ;)

  14. @HomeRearedChef is squishy today because this made me smile. I think you captured middle age perfectly. We are still growing, getting smarter, though we forget some of what we know and we are beautiful!

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  16. I don't think middle age IS an age. I don't think it exists. I think it's a mindset. I have aches and pains and migraines but I like to think it's because I live an exciting life (heh) and not because I'm growing older.

    I think you, Melanie, will always be young even when you're too old to ambulate on your own.