Re-up: The middle years – it’s not all oleo and parties, you know.

This post came to mind recently, and as it amused me to write it, I’m running it again. ‘Cause I’m fly like that.

Not long ago, I learned that the Daily Mail had compiled a fancy list telling you about how your body shrinks and withers as it ages.

Big whup. Do you know how long it takes for that happen? You’ll spend years going “Am I in decline now? How about now? Is it now?”

That’s where your olds can come in handy – I am middle aged, and I know what it looks like. Hereunder, a useful checklist that you might want to clip and keep handy.

Sign #1 that you might be middle-agedYou still think in terms of “clipping”.

Sign #2 – You’re attracted to middle-aged people (and a little creeped out by the youngs). If you look at beautiful people in their early twenties and think “well, aren’t they silly and cute! Will they be leaving soon?” – but a cute, gray haired, wrinkly person at the school open house elicits a quickened pulse? You’re middle-aged. (Note: Exceptions made for Daniel Radcliffe, Ryan Gosling, and Karen Gillan).

Sign #3 – Certain songs bring you back to a certain place and time — you just can’t remember why. Occasionally a song from the early 80s will brush against my ear I’ll be there, man, in an instant: BOOM! Transported back to an emotional state, filled with a kind of pleasant longing. And I’ll have no idea why. If this happens to you? You’re middle-aged.

Sign #4 – They keep changing the names of shit. Creme rinse, taco chips, oleo – alas, all have gone the way of the Apollo program. But your local bodega and/or online merchant should have no problem providing you with conditioner, tortilla chips and margarine. If you can remember to call them that.

Sign #5 –  You have living memories of life being actually-factually suckier.When I was a toddler, Captain Kirk kissed Uhura, and it raised a genuine, furious ruckus across the land – a mere handful of years earlier, inter-racial marriage had been illegal in most states. Women weren’t admitted to Harvard (having been relegated to Radcliffe) until I was in junior high. And after I graduated from college, a promising young President signed into law a requirement that gay men and women serving in the US military lie about themselves every day. Funny how the day seems a smidge bit brighter when I remember bullcrap like that.

Sign #6 – The list of things that you will never, ever do gets longerSinger in a rock n’ roll band? Not happening. Cartwheels? Ditto. Actually getting all those books read? Oh, you make me laugh, you scamp!

Sign #7 – On the other hand: The list of things you actually do do gets longer, too. Don’t get too excited – most of these are pretty dinky. Like: I actually make my bed most days now, and it only took until I was past 40. And I floss. Occasionally. But I also tell people off when they deserve it, and I no longer carry disagreements & general unpleasantry in my breastbone, and I have finally found a way to get regular exercise that I both enjoy and actually, you know, do. Which I’m told makes it work a whole lot better.

Sign #7, corollary – You keep getting bigger. Sometimes this is physical – which, you know, we all need to figure out how to deal with that in this particular stage of the patriarchy – but that’s not what I mean. My mother once told me that there is no “up” – as in “grown up” (“There’s no ‘up’ to arrive at,” she said at some point in her late 50s, when you would think that, if there were an up, she would have found it) – and she’s mostly right. It’s just that “up” keeps moving. As a person, I am bigger, broader, more UP, than I have ever been and it’s kind of awesome. Who am I kidding? It’s totally awesome. The Daily Mail may declare my body to be shrinking, and whole sections of society and the economic sector may think that I should quietly bob my hair and go away – but fuck them. Cause I’m bigger now, and I like it.

Sign #8Pimples on top of wrinkles –  Cause nature’s a big ol’ juicebox.



  1. Lise

     /  May 23, 2012

    Daniel Radcliffe is a CHILD, Ryan Gosling has the name of a baby duck and is a pleasant looking young man, but Daniel Craig is *hot*. He has grey hair, wrinkles, and wears his reading glasses at a funny angle. These things appeal to middle aged women. You are, of course, spot on about everything else. I think I supplied “creme rinse”.

    • Indeed you did! : )

      But re: Radicliffe, Gosling, and Gillan – this is why they’re exceptions, silly! Daniel Craig will do just fine, though.

      And Mark Ruffalo! As someone said about Ruffalo the other day – his last name describes what I’d like to do to his hair.

      • caoil

         /  May 23, 2012

        Radcliffe is adorable (mind you, his co-stars are not exactly lacking, either) but it’s more of a “well, if I was a similar age I’d be smitten” feeling.

      • Lise

         /  May 24, 2012

        It does occur to me that a baby duck is a duckling, and he’s not called “Ryan Duckling”, is he? No, he has the name of a baby goose. Glad I cleared that up.

  2. dmf

     /  May 23, 2012

  3. CitizenE

     /  May 23, 2012

    40s…just wait.

  4. CitizenE

     /  May 23, 2012

    And believe me you will quickly see that the waiting takes far, far less time than it used to. Hits before my granddaughter’s mother were born? Lady Madonna, children at your feet…

  5. stephen matlock

     /  May 23, 2012

    “Actually getting all those books read?”

    Ahem. So this is your excuse? THAT YOU’RE GETTING OLDER?

    • Lise

       /  May 24, 2012

      …it’s good to have a muti-purpose excuse, don’tcha think? I have an even better one: “I’m a midwife! I work 24 hr shifts! Do know how sleep-deprived I am?!” Even though I’ve been mostly a midwifery ADMINISTRATOR for 4 years now and never work more than 12 hrs at a time anymore

  6. Forgot my pseudonym

     /  May 28, 2012

    You missed #9 ‘you give directions using landmarks which have been demolished and buisnesses which were bought out decades ago.’ My mother does this, and it drives me batty… Except lately I find I just can’t be bothered remembering what the big bank on the corner is called this month, or which chain now runs all the drug stores.