What exactly does “middle aged” mean? I thought it was a spot that is between “young” and “old”. However, I’m still on the young half of the hill; I can see “old” in the distance, and I don’t see “middle age” anywhere around. I am 49 years old (brevet 50). An explanation: “brevet” is a military term for a combat-instigated promotion in rank. So, you’ll see in history books about Colonel So-And-So (Brevet General). Once the war is over, the poor sap goes back to the lower rank. In my chronology, I have acquired 50, but a divorce robbed me of any celebration of that milestone, so I got busted back to the rank of 49 now that my war is over. Not a bad place to be busted back to, I’ll have to add. Another aside: I’m planning a big 50th birthday party for myself. I’m calling it my Mulligan 50th Birthday. Do you know that golf term? When you really mess up a shot, you get a do-over, called a Mulligan. This is going to be my Mulligan 50th birthday.
Back to the landmark of “middle age”. I can imagine that teenagers describe me as “that older lady”. Don’t they know? Don’t they know that at a glance, I can recall clearly a memory from my days in Kindergarten, Junior High School (blergh), college, and any number of adult memories. So you see? I’m not old at all! Because in my mind, I am the same Kindergartener/angst-filled junior-high schooler, co-ed, and young adult with little toddlers around my ankles. I can also recall each of my kids at many ages–sweet-smelling infant in my arms, loveable, tyrannical toddler, knowledgeable Kindergartener, and young adult. It’s like I’m looking through series of negatives stacked in front of each other. I can see my youngest in his yellow puddle boots, and chasing chickens around our back yard, and learning to ride the bike I bought at a garage sale, and winning nationals at the robotics competition, and at his wedding. I’m not trying to sing a maudlin song on a minor key–you know what I’m talking about with memories stacked in front of each other. And those memories are as vivid as Kodak; they don’t fade with age.
But my main question is this. When does Middle Age happen? Or is that term now defunct? I know that old age keeps moving forward as we get older. When we were 9, old people were anyone in high school or beyond. When we were 15, old people were in their 40’s. Now that we’re approaching 50, old means people in their 90’s. It’s the March of the Age! But whatever happened to Middle Age? I think it got gobbled up somewhere in my 20’s. Don’t tell my dad that it’s gone, because he has always, since my very youngest days, described me as his middle-aged daughter because I’m neither the oldest nor the youngest of my siblings.
Here’s to a Happy, Grand Sparkling New Year, full of love and joy.