“The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”
*Henry David Thoreau*
I have been finding myself slipping ever so slowly into what is commonly referred to as “middle age” apparently halfway between birth and death. At 43 I’d like to think that I still have a few years before I officially hit that middle mark. This middle age business can take its toll on the ego sometimes, especially at those times when I am being called “ancient” by my smartalacky teenagers. I don’t feel ancient or old at all…really.
In fact I still expect to see that smarmy teen looking back when I look into the mirror, to see traces of age where there wasn’t before, tells me time passes quickly… much too quickly.
One day I’m young and full of attitude. I am a self-proclaimed knower of all that is worth knowing..I have the world by the tail and can do no wrong…and then…
and then… I really don’t know what happened…time passes like it always does, it goes faster than you think it will…it seems to be going faster and faster and then, in what seems like a blink of an eye….you wake up and take notice. It’s like waking up from a dream and find you’ve been asleep for far too long.
There’s a moment that sticks in my mind; a time that time made me wake up; it was probably the first time that society sent a subtle message to me…
“You are getting old, you”
I wasn’t ready to hear that…
I was in the car changing radio stations like a maniac, as I do. I found a song from my youth…I think it was AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, this was a favorite of mine in earlier days: to me it symbolized youth and fun and….rebellion…..back when I was a youth full of fun and rebellion….and so I hear the song and all those feelings rushed back and it’s like it was yestersday…I am a punky 14-year-old clad in my black leather jacket and spiky hair, wearing pounds of makeup and tons of attitude….I’m right back there and it’s fun, I enjoy this… Music does that to me. I enjoy stepping back into little pockets of my past with music…it was all good up to that point…until the end of the song when the radio station proudly proclaims itself as classic rock station…..What?! How can that be classic rock? I remember when that song came out….what?! Are they implying that the music of my youth is old? ….what?!….that would make me old….NOOOOOO!
(I think it was this screaming that woke me up)
That wasn’t the first time nor the last that society has tried to point out to me that I am no spring chicken anymore…this bothers me….another thing that bothers me more than anything is my generation’s acceptance of this “old” label.
It seems that a lot of people my age are in too much of a hurry to be old they do seem like a bunch of old people–I can’t help but notice this.
It is a sickness how rapidly they embrace…….eeek….Nostalga!
I hate to say it….
I do admit however it can get tough to fight off that sick and pathetic nostalgia that tries to knock on the door of my conscious mind. I’ve seen it in others before. I watched the generation before me: The baby boomers embrace nostalgia like nobody’s business. Ka-ching Ka-ching. I enjoyed feeling smugly superior. I guess the kind of smug superiority that comes with the flush of youth and ignorance.
I’ve also watched how the boomers have looked age square in the face and said: “Not me, not yet.” I have always admired spunky older people.
I just have never seen myself as becoming one of those spunky older people…
I know I’m repeating myself when I say this, I guess old people do that, but I don’t feel old. I do feel the privilege of experience, I remember a fair bit of history and I feel more solid and sure of myself. I am more realistic; life has stung me a few times but I appreciate a whole lot more and I’d like to think that I’m a much kinder and compassionate person in my “old age”
In fact I have never felt better. I hate to brag but I am in the best shape of my life, mentally, emotionally and physically. I feel on top of my game. I also am at a crossroads. In a sort of in-between time. I am in a state of flux and in a transition and for the first time I don’t know what I’m transitioning into. I surprise myself daily. That I am writing this amazes me…
I came across the definition of a mid-life crisis that I thought…interesting..
“A midlife crisis is experienced by many people during the midlife transition when they realize that life may be more than halfway over. Sometimes, a crisis can be triggered by transitions experienced in these years, such as andropause or menopause, the death of parents or other causes of grief, unemployment or underemployment, realizing that a job or career is hated but not knowing how else to earn an equivalent living, or children leaving home. People may reassess their achievements in terms of their dreams. The result may be a desire to make significant changes in core aspects of day-to-day life or situation, such as in career, work-life balance, marriage, romantic relationships, large expenditures, or physical appearance.”
THAT sounds a tad too familar…so what am I to do?
I’m gonna’ crank up that Classic Rock station, dig out my old leather jacket, put some purple dye in my hair and fight fight fight all the way baby!
The Middle by Jimmy Eat World (You Tube)
Diary of a Middle Age Man: 12.2.12 (smallsteps2health.wordpress.com)
Apes have midlife crises too (cbsnews.com)
Study: Hairless, Middle-Aged Apes Still Middle-Aged Apes (motherjones.com)
Suicide By Hanging/Suffocation Doubles In Middle-Aged Men And Women (medicalnewstoday.com)