Stuck in the Middle (Age) with You

I seem to be mired in a deep rut these days.  The sides are slippery and I feel like even if I could climb out of it, there is a deep sink hole waiting to swallow me up just outside this rut.  So maybe I’ll stay right here.  This is that crazy time “Middle Age”*** – can’t quite pull off young and not yet ready for the retirement home.  Somewhere between having to worry about birth control and funeral arrangements.  Here are ten truths I’ve discovered about middle age:

1.  I had it good back in the day.

But I didn’t know it.  I thought I was fat. Now I am all set for the next famine.  I had boundless energy.  Now I can barely lift the remote.  I could play poker all night, work all day, and sling meals effortlessly. Now I can barely make reservations.  I managed a household on top of a full time job and 2 robust and active boys.  Now I manage to get from the bed to work to the couch and call it a good day.

Someone is bound to notice this hairdo.

2.  Beauty is a full time job.

In my younger days, I could still turn a few heads (especially if those heads had been drinking).  Getting dolled up meant enhancing my natural assets with a touch of mascara and lip gloss.  Now I fill wrinkles with spackle and cover age spots with a thick layer of “age defying” shellac. Even industrial strength hair coloring cannot cover what is growing out of my head, and my chin hairs are alarming in both their length and strength.  My moustache is envied by Justin Bieber.  I’d give myself a pedicure if I could reach (or even see) my toes.  But I don’t know why I bother because…

3.  You become invisible.

Somewhere around 43 or 44 you will become invisible – no matter how beautiful (or loud, or funny) you are.  Children are cute, youngsters are hip and savvy.  Oldsters are entitled to respect and senior discounts.  You are just there – sort of – if anyone even notices.  All those things you thought you’d do if you were invisible – not happening.

20120310 Amazon motorized scooter

 I traded my roller blades for this (Photo credit: kbrookes)

4.  Half the distance takes you twice as long. 

I can no longer open jars by myself, my eyesight is failing faster than my vision insurance covers new lenses, and my teeth are wearing down.  I have fillings older than many billionaire CEO whippersnappers and they are working loose at an alarming rate (the fillings – not the CEOs).  My joints are achy and any rapid movements could land me in traction.  While I don’t yet need a hover-round, I am not exactly zipping about on foot, either.  I’ve traded sexy shoes for comfortable ones.  I spend 2 hours a day on exercise – an hour dreading it, half an hour trying to talk myself into it (by promising myself a bowl of ice cream afterward), and 30 minutes letting the dog drag me down the sidewalk.

5.  Your brain will let you down.

I can’t remember things.  Except at 3:00 a.m.  Then I remember the name I couldn’t recall when I saw that old acquaintance today.  I remember what I meant to get at the grocery store but couldn’t remember where I left my list.  I remember birthdays on the day of – too late to send a card, but if I’m lucky, not too late to call or Skype, if I could remember where my cell phone is or remember my Skype password.  I remember to feed the dog when she begins gnawing on my leg.  Then I remember I meant to get dog food.

6.  Your life is filled with wonder.

You wonder why bad things happen to good people.  You wonder how many times a heart can break.  You wonder how a One Minute Manager can make 8 hours seem like a year.  You wonder why liars, abusers, thieves, perverts, killers and other rat-bastards get to breathe the same air as the most innocent child.  You wonder if you’ve done enough with your life.  You wonder what you did to deserve the bounty you’ve been given.  You wonder why monogamy seems so hard for so many.  You wonder if you’ll be remembered for your wit or your chocolate chip cookies, or for walking around with your skirt tucked up in your pantyhose.  You wonder why it takes 10 minutes to consume a pan of brownies but 7 hours on the treadmill to get rid of them.  You wonder where in the hell you left your car keys.

7.  You have enemies.

Time, insomnia, karma, and gravity.

8.  You start hanging out with well-educated rich people.

Pharmacists, orthopedists, ophthalmologists and MDs.

9.  Your roles change.

Your children are grown, even if they still live in the basement.  You’ve imparted all the lessons you’re gonna give ‘em –  they still know more than you (for a few more years, at least).  Your parents are off enjoying their retirements and spending your inheritance.  They’ve imparted all the lessons they’re gonna give you and they still know more than you (for a few more years, at least).  You get to worry about both and can control neither.

10.  This is the time of your life.

You’ve done a lot of hard work.  You watch your children work to find their way in this world, and you remember the journey.  You know who you are and what you are.  You’ve seen enough to know what is coming down the road…if you live long enough you’ll lose family members, friends, acquaintances and co-workers to disease or accidents.  You enjoy the health you have left, even as you feel it slipping away.  You will never again be as young as you are today.  Youth and beauty may be leaving you in the dust, but you know that experience, wisdom and treachery trump all that, anyway.

***I am middle-aged if my life expectancy is 114.


Filed under General Mumblings, humor

61 responses to “Stuck in the Middle (Age) with You

  1. WSW

    Thank heaven I’m not the only one living the dream. If I could spend the time I waste looking for my handbag everyday at the gym I’d look like Jane bloody Fonda rather than Germaine gawdhelpus Greer.

  2. I’m middle aged too, because my life expectancy is 114, too. Got any wine? Or chocolate?

  3. Cheer up Kate! It isn’t that bad! Just think of all the time you have for Words with Friends, watching reruns of Love Boat and to learn how to play bridge and canasta! 🙂 I can say that since I have hit my “prime of life” too!

  4. Arlee Bird

    Are you talking to me? Yeah, I think you must have written this for me. I was feeling kind of depressed before I read this and now I’m really depressed. You can’t see my tears because I’m invisible.

    • Yes, Arlee. I was speaking directly to you. Buck up, man…according to the commercials on TV all you really need is a little replacement testosterone, buddy.

  5. You hit the nail right on the head with this post. I was thinking some of these same things as I limped around the apartment again today because I went out of town last week & did a little more walking than I have been. The sprained knee from June just won’t heal, much less get any exercise. I’m growing talons because I can’t manage my own pedicures anymore. Very well written – I wish I had thought of it!

    • Ooh, sorry you are hobbling around. After my surgery this summer I was amazed at how long the healing process took. Years ago when I had my appendix out, I was back in school within a few days. Sigh.

  6. I am middle aged if my life span is 128. I rather enjoy being invisible, as long as I don’t analyse it too much!

  7. I’m pretty sure I could do all the things I used to do, if i wanted to. I don’t want to.

  8. Well, if the average woman’s life span is 78, I crossed the midpoint into the other half of my life a few years ago. I hear you on feeling invisible. But as hard as it is to face these realities of getting old, I cling to the fact that I can now feel like I don’t give a shit about most things and tell people I don’t give a shit and mean it. Getting old really strips you of all the shallow parts of life, doesn’t it?

    • I remember my grandmother saying how liberating it was to be old and not have to give a shit any more (maybe she didn’t use those exact words, but now that I think about, she probably did). I live in the land of old people – and apparently they all want to look young judging from the vast number of cosmetic surgery centers here.

      78 isn’t all that far off for me – it used to sound so old, now it just sounds exhausting.

      • It does to me, too. I am writing a post right now about how exhausting it is being my age! But then I remember my Gram who lived to 100. In her 90s she was still healthy, could outrun me, rode bikes, laughed a lot and enjoyed every day. I try to learn from her take on life. Truly letting things go, the small things that don’t matter. It does a world of good for your peace of mind. I’m still a work in progress on that front though. haha!

  9. I think the lovely Peg-O-Leg wrote about her feelings on this topic a month or so back, but I can’t remember for sure – my memory is pretty well shot. What were we just talking about?

    • Wait, don’t I know you. Your name will come to me…probably in the middle of the night. I may have read Pegoleg’s post, but being old like I am, I can’t remember. Even reruns seem new to me…

  10. That’s the irony of it all. When we are young and things are easy we are too silly to notice it! I am still in the dumb youngsters category (age wise) although most days I feel like I really need to call my doctor to adjust arthritis meds.

  11. I hate feeling invisible, and yet that is what it is. But, maybe I can make invisibility fun and play tricks on people.

  12. So I’d never call myself a feminist, but it really lights my fuse when I start thinking about the “women become invisible at a certain age” concept. It terrifies me, because I don’t always realize how much a woman’s sexuality informs her day-to-day life until she feels invisible. And then I get pissed off at a) myself, for apparently caring about being noticed, and b) the world, for placing such an emphasis on a woman’s…fertility.

    Anyway. You rock. At any and every age.

    • Well, Jules, the human species would have probably died off long ago if not for that little fact that fertility has always been a desirable attribute. I don’t mind so much that people don’t “look” at me as much as when they don’t “listen” to me.

  13. Funny, sad and spot on. Isn’t it great to have perspective? When it gets really bad (especially the acne, you forgot the acne) I remind myself that at least I never have to do high school again. 🙂

    • How could I forget the acne? I wouldn’t do high school (or the years immediately following) over again, but I would love to have the years with my children back.

  14. There’s nothing more to say. Perfect as is!

  15. Katy my dear, I think this is the best thing you’ve ever written. Right on in so many ways. In addition to choosing the middle of the night to remember all the stuff you forgot during the day, let’s add lying awake fretting and worrying until your stomach is tied in knots – same time period.

    Delightfully, tragically true – all of it.

    • Best? Better than “Does this Cement Make My Butt Look Big”? Because that was one of my most popular posts of all time. This one was therapeutic to compose.

      Worrying is one of my hobbies…I have to admit I’m pretty good at it.

  16. Your last line is the most interesting because the interesting thing about middle age is you don’t know what middle age is until you get to the end of your life and look back. If you die at 40, 20 was middle age. If you die at 100, then 50 is middle age. Much like you, if I am now middle aged, then I can expect to live to be 110, though I think I only have another 25 or 30 years and hopefully they will be relatively healthy years.

  17. Deborah the Closet Monster

    #7 cracks me up. #5’s “3 a.m.” bit also cracks me up, but with a little bit of a side of “d’oh.” I’m glad to hear it’s just going to get better from here, at least! 😉

  18. Tar-Buns

    Ah, the joys of aging. Ain’t it fun?
    Lately my husband is watching my memory and jumping on me when I don’t recall some factoid of importance to him. Sometimes he’s sure he’s told me something and I remind him that that is NOT always the case. He probably told one of his buddies cause that’s where I hear some of what’s going on in his mind.
    Stupid middle age … I’d be happy to ditch the hot flashes and be able to sleep through the night without waking up and spooling all those things that need to be done. Sigh…
    Well said!

  19. Am I the only one that used the calculator feature on the laptop to figure out what 114 divided by 2 totals? Anyone? Anyone?
    I appreciate the head’s up that I am invisible, being that I am 43 and all. Guess it is time I dyed my hair orange. I was holding out for this very moment. I can’t wait.
    The enemies made me laugh out loud – hard.
    You’re good, Katy. Even when you are stuck in a rut.

    • Glad you can laugh – with me, right? Not at me -right??

      You still have a year or two of visibility. Plus you are Joe and Charlie’s mom so you will get attention when someone wants/needs something.

  20. I turned 55 this year, I was happy. Twenty years ago I almost lost my life that I am still walking makes me joyous even with all the issues including invisibility.

    Yeah, sometimes I get pissy about it. I resent like hell some of it. But you know I am grateful.

    This made me laugh, all of it. I am so right there with you!

  21. The best part is that you never lost your sense of humor.

  22. Funny, enjoyable and bitter-sweet. I will be 65 in March and about 5 years ago I realized that I, too, had become invisible. I started wearing a wig for a bit — something I’ve always done for the change (I have a great cut with silver patches in my hair) — and suddenly I got second looks. Welcome, but sad. I’ve been job hunting for 4.5 years — another challenge. But I enjoyed your take on things. Very funny!

  23. You see? This is why I don’t understand WordPress. THIS is the post that should have been FP’D. Are you not using tags properly? Because that piece of mine…um…I whipped that one off. But THIS is lovely. I don’t get it. I wish I had written this piece. Thank you for being so gracious and coming to my place. I’m right with you in the Middle Place.


    I still dance on tables and do crazy stuff because I am an attention whore. I’m shameless. And I intend to be that way forever. Even when they stick me in the Jewish Home!

    • I do not understand WP at all, either. I thought your piece was, good, though. Some of that stuff? I am dumbfounded how some of that is considered Press-worthy.

  24. I just turned 55. I know what you’re feeling, but I also know that times earlier in my life weren’t all that great either. I guess I feel lucky to be living the life I’m living right now, dizzy brain and achy body and all… 😉

    • Every day my eyes open up is a good one…no matter what is going on around me. I’m glad you can appreciate the moment you’re in despite the dizzy brain and achy body. That has got to be tough.

  25. Honey I buy spackle by the boat and vat load at CVS. I shake my head when I see a young perky Mom with toddlers bucked into the grocery cart and think, ‘how did I ever do that?’
    But the good news is, we are as young as we’re ever going to be RIGHT NOW.

  26. Katy,
    it’s NOT about how you look…it’s about who you are.

    And You are Faaaaaaaaaabulous.

    I know 20 year old women who are invisible because they are boring as hell.

    You. Are. Not.

  27. Hahah, I laughed out loud when I read this. What a fantastic sense of humor you have!

  28. Pingback: 5:33 am. And Inspired. – Lead.Learn.Live.

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