Midlife feels good, doesn’t it? Most of the time you’re not feeling old. Most of the time you wondered when you’re going to get to that age that your parents and grandparents were when you thought they were old.
How do you know when you’ve entered midlife? Is it an age? A feeling? Does your body suddenly go south? Do wrinkles just pop up everywhere?
I think midlife is different for all of us. The other day the girl that cuts my hair told me all about her dating world, her plans for children, her plans for love and life. She is in her early 20s. We giggle at laugh at the same things, and then there was suddenly a moment when I said, “When I was your age…”
Oh no. Did I really just say that?
I did. What’s more, I told her about my favorite orange pants, the ones I wore when I was a kid and how it wasn’t even weird to have orange pants because there was orange and red and brown on all my clothes, in our house, and on our hats, gloves, and coats. I told her about growing up in the 60s and 70s. The colors were groovy, baby!
Midlife Here I Come
There are other days when I feel like: Here I am midlife! I’m an adult. Deal with it. I make adult decisions. So there.
Then there are times, like when the president was elected, and I realized I was his age, his generation, and suddenly I felt very grown up and midlife. Not old. But grown up.
Oh sure, mortgages and marriage and family life make you a grown up. But finding out you’re basically the same age as the president? The person who was always supposed to be older than you? That’s grown up in a whole different way.
Does a Changing Body Make You Start Feeling Old?
For me, it’s not the wrinkles or the changing body or the increased responsibility that brings midlife to my mind from time to time. Most times, I don’t think about those things. I don’t really care. I know, I know… there are beauty treatments that can plump and fill and make you look younger (or more scary) but I’ve never been into them.
In fact, my beauty regime is a fraction of time and effort compared to when I was in my 20s. I try and wear sunscreen now. That’s about it. I never did when I was younger. When I was in my 20s we were part of the “mall bangs” generation. I rolled my hair in hot rollers and put on gobs of hairspray and makeup. Now, I blow dry, put sunscreen on, and go. My makeup routine is a few minutes long.
So it isn’t the physical change that makes me feel midlife. It isn’t the expectations of what midlife would be like when I was a kid. I used to think that at this age I would be a grandma by now, mostly because my own grandparents were this age. I didn’t think I’d be a new mom or new wife or on a second (or third) career. But these are the moments that are so good about midlife. These moments when you’re just going along, feeling like you’re just figuring things out and you’re as curious for knowledge as you were when you were a kid. There isn’t anything different now, except that you run slower. Maybe.
When do you start feeling old? Some days I might say “right now!” But not today.