I was reading an interesting blog post the other day about a woman who is struggling with the realization that she is now middle aged. I was completely identifying with it until I got to the part where she mentioned that “forty is barreling down fast.”
Huh? She’s in her late thirties, with small children, and she considers herself middle aged? I scrolled down to the comment section and discovered that lots of her readers are also in their thirties and consider themselves to be middle aged as well. One of them mentioned finding her first grey hair and deciding whether or not to pluck it out.
I was dumbfounded. How can people in their mid or late thirties think they are middle aged? What in the world are they going to call themselves in TWENTY YEARS, when they are in their mid or late fifties? When they figure out that middle aged people don’t pluck out their grey hairs, because if they did, they’d be completely bald? More importantly, what would they call me, at the ripe old age of fifty-six?
Remember when there was a popular television show called “Thirtysomething?” I do, but I don’t remember the characters being classified as middle aged. As I recall, they were supposed to be yuppies (which meant young, urban professionals) who were dealing with raising children, developing their careers, and struggling to maintain meaningful relationships. In short, they were coping with being adults, but there was no suggestion of them being middle aged.
I know the term middle age is rather subjective, and vaguely refers to people in their mid-life years. Exactly what age it starts and ends is open to interpretation. But I don’t want people who are two decades younger than me saying they are middle aged, because that means that if I haven’t aged out of the middle age category yet, I soon will. And I’m not yet ready to consider myself a senior citizen (even if parts of me already look like one.)
Since the blog I read was very well written and the author seems to be a nice person, I didn’t share my thoughts in her comment section. I was afraid it would sound critical, and I have no desire to criticize anyone’s blog. (For the link to her blog, see my comment section.)
But if I had commented, I would have said something like this: “Don’t worry about being middle aged, because you’re not. People in their twenties are young adults. People in their thirties and early forties are simply adults. Middle age starts somewhere in the late forties and continues right up until the exact moment that I am ready to call myself a senior citizen. And that’s not happening any time soon.