I cheerfully used the…

I cheerfully used the term 'middle-aged' to refer to myself the other day, and a friend (of the same age) asked me, somewhat bewilderedly, why it doesn't seem to bother me to call myself middle-aged. And I didn't really have an answer for her, except, well, my life is awesome, and I was miserable for a lot of my twenties and thirties, and while I do on occasion miss the body I had in college, most everything else in my life is better now.

I'm no longer drowning in work misery, at a series of dead-end temp secretarial jobs that made me cry in the morning before I got on the bus and commuted an hour an a half to get to work. One job fired me for having a bad attitude about filing. Another fired me for taking a long lunch because an out-of-town friend had come to visit -- even though I clocked out the time, AND I had no work left at my desk, so if I had come back on time, they would have been paying me to sit there. One job I spent day after day after day taking tiny little snowglobes and other novelty items out of boxes, checking off that the right amount was on the list, which it always was, and then putting them back in boxes. In a windowless room, by myself. Many jobs had me sit at a phone in public view, a phone that almost never rang, and nonetheless refused to let me read, because it didn't 'look professional'.

Okay, the miserable work detailing went on longer than I planned. Trust me, there was more. (Oh, right, the cook who threw a plate of loaded food at a waitress next to me who got an order wrong. The truckers at the pancake joint who tried to stuff their tips down the front of my hideous and low-cut uniform.) The point is, I now like my job a lot.

The rest is great too. Everyone in my family mostly has their health at the moment; fingers crossed that lasts for a long time. My kids are sweet and no longer brutally exhausting infants and toddlers. I love my house. I get to live in Chicagoland, in a neighborhood with great public schools. I am no longer in the midst of tons of poly relationship drama -- which at times, I'll grant you, was fun and/or exciting, but was also often miserable and/or exhausting. My romantic relationships are lovely and stable these days -- and you know, if they weren't, I think at this point I know myself well enough that I could handle romantic issues way better than I did at twenty, or even thirty. Gods, I spent a LOT of time just kind of emotionally flailing.

And you know, even the body is doing okay. It's maybe not getting as many wolf-whistles on the street as it did at twenty. But that may be in part because I don't wander around in tiny cut-off shorts and button-down shirts tied up under my breasts to expose as much of my stomach as possible. :-) I think this body is actually stronger than it was in college, after all the weight-lifting (both children-lifting and actual deliberate weight-lifting). It's eating healthier too. And if it needs regular sleep more than the twenty-year-old did, and occasionally throws its back out for a day or two...well, that's a fair trade-off, I think, for everything else. For knowing who I am.

So far, middle-age is pretty awesome. I could happily stay in this spot for a long, long time.

I do admit, I'm a little scared of 'old'. But a) that's a ways off, and b) reports from the front don't necessarily sound so bad either. Keeping reasonably healthy does seem to be key. Maybe it's time to go lift some more weights...

1 thought on “I cheerfully used the…”

  1. I was at a Christine Lavin concert a few years ago, and she said a very similar thing, including that she was tremendously relieved to be in her fifties.

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