The summer of 2005 marked an important event in my life. I had somehow crossed the line into ‘middle-age’.
How do I know? Well, at first there were subtle signs that I could easily explain away. Signs that I chose to ignore for what they were. For example, I became aware that I disliked driving at night. It seems the oncoming headlights were too bright for me. This, I passed off as my eyes being sensitive to the bright headlights. If I had to go anywhere, I would make sure that the sun was still shining.
Speaking of my eyesight, suddenly, I couldn’t read anything without my glasses. This too, I reasoned away with the comment that the printing on medicine bottles and the like is made smaller and smaller. It had nothing to do with my deteriorating middle-aged eyes. It wasn’t ME!
My next hint came at the amusement park. Now, in the past, I could ride any type of amusement park ride there was. Fast rides, swinging rides, spinning rides – you name it, I could handle it. My daughter asked me to go on a spinning ride with her. I had been on this particular ride numerous times, and in fact, I considered it one of my favorites. That all changed! The ride began, and suddenly I didn’t feel so good. I wanted it to be over immediately, or at least I wanted to jump-off. Once the ride was over and my stomach caught up with me, I began to realize that something was up. I couldn’t explain this one away.
Another hint came as I was sitting on my living room floor playing a board game with my family. Normally, before I became middle-aged, I could sit on the floor through the longest marathon of ‘Monopoly’. My legs didn’t fall asleep, or stiffen up. Now, I sit there for fifteen minutes and suddenly millions of pins and needles shoot through them, and getting up is a challenge since they refuse to respond to my commands.
The final straw came as I sat minding my own business in my dentist’s office. There was a twenty-something guy there with his son, who was about two years old. The little boy walked over to where I was sitting and said casually, ‘Hi Nana!’ I immediately said, as nicely as I could muster, ‘I’m not your Nana. Do I look like your Nana?’ What happened next, I was not prepared for, nor did I welcome it. His father looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, you kinda do.’ I was shocked, speechless, and insulted. How could they think that I was old enough to be anyone’s Nana!
With this came the thought that perhaps I have solidly entered middle-age forever. My husband has been telling me for the past few years that I am middle-aged and I should just admit it. “”After all””, he would ask, “”how old do you expect to live to?”” My answer was “”probably to my mid-seventies.”” “”There you go – you are middle-aged!” Still, I fought the label refusing to be called such a thing. Never mind the fact that clerks from supermarkets to department stores called me ‘ma’am’ for the past seven years. This proved nothing in my mind. They’re just being polite.
But, as my daughter began calling me ‘Mom’ instead of ‘Mommy’, I reluctantly admitted that I had entered a new stage of life. I resigned myself to the fact that I am middle-aged! I’m not comfortable here, and I still feel that perhaps I can pass myself off as, not necessarily ‘young’, but at least as ‘non-middle-aged’.
However, as I rush out to the grocery store before the sun sets, making sure I have my eyeglasses with me in case I need to read something on a can or bottle, I have to admit that I am (gulp!) middle-aged!