“According to Collins Dictionary, this is “… usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 40 and 60”. The current edition of the Oxford English Dictionary gives a similar definition but with a shorter span: “The period of life between young adulthood and old age, now usually regarded as between about forty-five and sixty.” The US Census lists middle age as including both the age categories 35 to 44 and 45 to 54, while prominent psychologist Erik Erikson saw it ending a little later and defines middle adulthood as between 40 and 65. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association, used to define middle age as 40–60, but as of Edition IV (1994) revised the definition upwards to 45–65.” From the most reliable source on the internet-ask.com
Geez….thanks for this little tidbit of information that honestly was better left not defined! Basically, I am coming to terms with the FACT I have been “middle-aged” for thirteen years, or eight years or three years (depending on the source)…..my fifteen year old self is screaming, “YOU ARE OLD.” Who am I kidding, my twenty five year old self is screaming it too!
Let’s be honest….it’s not like the signs weren’t all there. It’s the tag that feels like a dagger to that inner part of you that is still clinging to that thirty year old self….at least my brain is. (Notice I did NOT say body…that ship has sailed and lost its way back to port!) Let’s talk about some of the signs you are at the half-way point.
1. Progressives-it slowly sneaks up on you. One day you are looking at a menu and then the next day you are sitting at the table attempting to be the Incredible Stretch Woman as you force your arms to extend ten feet so you can read the special of the day. They should rename your 45th birthday the day of readers! (And the day you purchase a Bible with larger font.)
2. Collecting-while some circles might want to call what happens with our change in mindset towards “knick-knacks” hoarding 101, I prefer to call it “sentimental saving.” Remember going to your grandparents house and seeing all the “knick-knacks” and you could not begin to understand why anyone would want curio cabinets full of “stuff” that ranged from the finest of china to the latest trinket at the local Cracker Barrel? Get ready…..it’s coming to your casa too. Now, some of this is actually a very good thing-it shows your sentimental side, which shows maturity! You have reached a point where you cherish that odd little “blinged owl” because you remember who bought it, when and where. It has a story. See, that’s what we missed in our blazing 20’s and 30’s….some stuff that we viewed as “junk” had a story. You hit that magic middle button and you crave “stories” around you!
3. Muffin Tops-no, I am not referring to the delicious muffin top you can grab at Panera in the morning. It seems that every muffin you have eaten from childhood-“middle age day” never really left…..you wake up one morning and voila….muffin top. You can exercise, you can do 1000 crunches daily…but they are still there. One collective group. Embrace it. Sure, work on the jello aspect of your muffin top, but you earned the right to carry a little dessert around town with you!
4. Face Prep-it now takes you longer to prep your face than it does to apply makeup. Product A-Exfoliate. Product B-Cleanse. Product C-Serum. Product D-Moisture. Product E-Skin Corrector. Product F-Eye Cream. Product G-Primer…..are we there yet? Repeat at night, but add in another step-Makeup Removal. What everyone tries to tell you in the blazing 20’s and 30’s is the importance of sunscreen, good skin care, etc…but really….your skin was rockin’! Why bother with so many steps, so much money when you see a reflection looking back of firm, even, bright skin with that beautiful, youthful glow???? Here it is-you hit this magic middle button and boom….sun spots, wrinkles around your eyes, smile lines, skin that looks like it might have been baked at a slow 250 in the oven….and…your cheeks suddenly have decided to migrate south! FACELIFT please!
5. Spanx-all I am going to say about this is they are an amazing invention that I’ve grown to love, but in that same thought process they are a curse to women……You see that woman walking past you in her cute little outfit and she just seems to not have a jiggle in the world? Spanx. Yes. I learned just this year, the world is walking around in Spanx and no one is telling anyone! Buy them now. Allow twenty minutes extra to get dressed as you work to pull them on…but just know…everyone has them on.
6. Grace-this is the sweet stuff of getting “middle aged.” Maybe it’s because of your life experiences or a greater understanding of life and your Christian walk…but you will have so much grace that you are so willing to give to others. Granted, it’s not really “our grace”, but His through us…but you get the point. Compassion, empathy….it seems like it’s easier to give.
7. Oh this one is good! You don’t care what others think! – Act crazy, wave the warms in the air during worship, wear something a little out there, run to the store with no makeup…..you have earned this sweet reward of the middle button-you no longer care what others think of you. You have finally gotten that lightbulb moment of “be you”….people will say what they are going to say no matter what you do…so “be you!”
8. And then comes the sweetest of sweetest signs you have reached the middle button of life….grandchildren. Play, dream, imagine, spoil…..all those things you maybe didn’t have time for in your 30’s due to work or juggling three or four or five toddlers/elementary schedules/etc….now….time is your friend and you can just sit and enjoy.
Middle-Age. The physical pitfalls are real…and things will sag, droop, drop, wrinkle….but in the journey you appreciate the quirks of your own grandparents so much more and well, maybe we will all realize this stage is really the sweet spot of the journey. After-all, we do have a built in muffin top now….
PS-remember thinking how dusty your grandparents house was sometimes? Here’s the scoop-YOU CAN’T SEE THE DUST! It’s a beautiful thing! 🙂