A weekend full of inclement weather had my wife and kids all hunkered down in our warm den. We were each absorbed in different things—reading, my daughter on Facebook, and my younger daughter and I watching television.
Something on TV prompted Annie (my youngest) to say, “Daddy, what is middle-age?” My wife looked up from her book and smirked at me as if to say “Yeah Stephen, tell her. Tell her you are middle-aged!”
I explained to Annie that middle-age is a point when someone has reached the halfway point of his/her life. Annie paused and didn’t miss a beat.
“Daddy, you are middle age.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I’m 45 years old. And I realize, by all measures, that’s still considered young. But then I started to think about my age and wondered if I had more good years behind me or in front of me.
I still think of myself as a kid. I often act silly (probably why I relate so well to my kids) and I’m known as the zany uncle in my family. But the flipside is I sometimes feel I don’t want the responsibilities of adulthood because…because they suck!
But here was my little 10-year-old girl, who hasn’t completely mastered the art of filtering what she says. The woman who served us at a local coffee shop recently can no doubt attest to this, after my daughter asked if she was pregnant. Needless to say, she was not. The bottom line is Annie just says what she knows to be true.
In my case, she just happens to be right. I am, in fact, middle-aged. If you want to get technical, I’m probably past middle age if trends in length of life are any indication.
I never really thought much about age or aging. I sometimes make the sounds of someone who is aging; grunting as I move through my Sun Salutations in yoga, groaning as I stand up from tying my shoes (I prefer slip-ons) or waking up in the middle of the night to pee. What can I say? The old bladder ain’t what it used to be.
I find myself reminiscing with people about TV shows from the 70’s, or great rock bands from when I was a kid. Hell, I remember having a conversation with a former colleague of mine who was in his mid-20s at the time. Unbelievably (at least to me) he had never heard the term “LP” before.
Sometimes on Saturday afternoons, if we don’t have any plans, I’ll wind up on the couch reading the newspaper and taking a cat-nap.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have lots of energy. I enjoy spinning, yoga, being outdoors and doing silly things with my kids. But if I look closely, there are certain things happening with more frequency that indicate I’ve not only reached the summit, I’m slowly making my way down the other side.
But then I remind myself I had some pretty wonderful life experiences during the first 45 years to get to this point. If I am fortunate enough, the next 45 will be filled with some equally amazing events.
But I also know there will be some challenges too. Such is life. It all solidifies my core belief that we must all live our lives in the moment. We need to embrace each moment and savor its sweetness.
As the great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
—Photo LadyDragonflyCC -Lamb Festival in April/Flickr