Who is Middle Aged

America is a culture that is obsessed with youth, or so I hear the pundits say. Pundit, now there is a term that is relatively meaningless. Just one more way to describe a person with an opinion that is not necessarily based upon expertise in the field they are commenting upon.

I am going to be 39. There, I said it. That is twice in one week. My birthday is Friday. In a year I am going to be 40. How many television shows or movies have I seen about people turning 40 and their struggle with middle age. Far too many.

I don't consider myself to be middle aged. Here is my formula for determining when I am middle aged. I have two grandparents who are 94. Take their age and divide it in half. Once I reach that age I might be middle aged. So I have a few years left.

My concerns with aging are relatively simple. I don't like the new aches and pains that seem to show up. That crick in my neck didn't ask for permission to hang out. It doesn't pay rent or contribute anything other than aggravation. The freeloader just hangs out and reminds me that I can't sleep in certain positions anymore.

I played two hours of basketball today. I feel pretty good, but tomorrow morning I'll pay for it. I'll wake up and for the first five minutes or so my posture will resemble a question mark.

Aging is not something that I fear. I am not ready to die. There are so many things to do and so many things to see. When I spoke with my friend about her marriage I spent the majority of the time listening, but I did make a few comments. The primary one was about living life.

Life is not meant to be floated through. It is not something that you just kind of show up at. Life is meant to be participated in. You can't stand on the edge of the room and watch everyone else do a Viennese Waltz around you. You need to grab a hold of your partner and do a little Tango, quickstep your way across the room and back.

We all have moments of fear and doubt. I get that. I understand it. I have made so many mistakes, so very many. Most of my regrets are not about what I did, but what I didn't do. Sometimes my fear paralyzed me and that is what makes me sad.

I can't say that she should live as I would. I can't tell her to do things just as I would and expect her to live like that. Some major decisions are only for her.

But, we have a special friendship and if I wasn't completely honest I would be untrue to what we have. There is a reason why you can find so many quotes in my blog. In fact, I think that it is time to share some of them again. I'll do that in the next post.


Rhea said...

I am already 49. Turning 40 wasn't that bad for me, because, honestly, I had started worrying about it at 36. So by the time it happened, I was used to the idea. I am really lucky as my body is in good shape. Not too many signs of aging. But I guess I should be prepared in case something goes wrong. But I do want to enjoy and appreciate all my good fortune every day.

Leora said...

Strange, you find aging gives you more aches and pains. I've found the opposite. As a kid, I used to get sick a lot (colds, flu, strep, that sort of thing). As a teen I got more and more depressed. My twenties was spent recovering from my depression and discovering who am I, with lots of ups and downs and some more strep.

I'm usually pretty healthy these days. Maybe 28 years of therapy, being a nutrition nerd, and sometimes doing a bit of yoga has helped, who knows. (I'm 45)

Shoshana said...

Happy Birthday!

Jack Steiner said...


That is important, appreciating and enjoying our lives each day.


As a kid I rarely got sick. In fact the first 30 years of my life there were very few signs of any sort of illness or breaks, bruises, aches etc.

I am still pretty healthy, but I find that I notice the wear and tear like I never did before.



Anonymous said...

Come on over to www.turning40.net and share your experience with others achieving this important milestone. We'd love to have you share this post with them. Let me know.



Jack Steiner said...

Hi Mark,

I'll come check it out.

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