In the middle of the middle…
So it’s no secret that I’m 47 now. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Truthfully, the worst thing about being 47, is answering “47” when someone asks how old you are, especially if she’s obviously 29, and there is no lie that you can tell that will legitimately put you in the same generation.
When I was a small boy, I asked my old man about the year 2000. I asked him how old I would be and he replied “35”. I almost fell over. 35 seemed ancient. Hell, he wasn’t even 35 at the time. By the time that 35 rolled around, I was more than prepared. I was truly in the prime of my life; great physical condition, riding high in my career.
I was taking an acting class at that time. I was rehearsing some character when the instructor asked me some questions about my character.
How old is the character?
Middle-aged, I replied.
How old is middle-aged?
50, I guess.
She snickered. I guess she knew what was about to happen.
What is the average lifespan of an American? She asked.
72, I answered proudly, secure in my knowledge of trivial facts.
So what would be the middle of that?
I swallowed hard as I did the simple arithmetic. 36?
Yes, that’s right. 36.
I can only imagine the horror on my face at the realization that I was a year away from middle age. No one had told me. As soon as I ran into someone older than me, I asked them when does middle age start. I was relieved when they responded, 40! I had 5 more years left.
Truth be told, those 5 years were great. A couple of minor aches and pains, but no big deal. When I turned 39, the old man told me. “Wait til 40, you won’t be able to make it through the night without getting up to pee.”
Silly man, I laughed at him. That’s a wives tale.
I think I got up to pee for the first time on the night after my 40th birthday.
When you’re a kid, you imagine where you’re going to be when you finally grow up. Wife, kids, dog, house, all the things that Madison Ave tells you that you need to have. I was on board until about 36, when I realized that I didn’t want any of those things.
A few years ago, I was sitting around with the fellas discussing the entire world. We were on the topic of dating. I said “Im sure glad that I don’t have to be trolling around the bars at 40, looking for dates. I wouldn’t want to be that guy. One of the guys was in his 60’s. He replied, I would.
It’s all about perspective.
I was thinking about man in relation to the animal world. Take a Lion for example. A cub is born and he can walk in a few days. After a week, he’s running and playing with his litter mates. By 2, he’s fully grown, killing his own food and living on his own. The Lion is in peak physical shape for the majority of his life, say 12-15 years, then he starts to break down and he usually dies within a year.
Now look at the human: Completely hopeless and dependent at birth. Can’t walk for up to a year. Takes 18-25 years to reach full physical maturity, spends 10 years in the prime of his/her life, then slowly breaks down from 35 until the eventual demise at 80 or so. I’m not sure if consciousness is worth it.
In the end, 47 isn’t really that bad. I can deal with the aches in the morning. And I don’t really mind that I can’t run anymore. I never really liked running anyway. The middle paunch is a fair trade for all those great meals over the year.
Getting up to pee 3 times a night is annoying, but it’s not the end of the world, and the endless stream of flatulence is a gift for a stunted adolescent.
Being 47 isn’t bad at all; hell I didn’t really want to go out with a 29 year old anyway. But my god, what the hell is the purpose of all this ear-hair? Is there a need for it at 47 that wasn’t there when I was 15? It certainly doesn’t filter out all the stupid things I hear on a daily basis. And how is it possible that it grows back in 48 hours after clipping it? Pretty soon, I’ll be braiding it.
And what about the night cramps? Who’s idea was it to create a cholesterol medicine that gives you calf cramps when you’re the most vulnerable.
And carrying around two different pairs of eyeglasses is a pain in the ass too..
Now that I’m thinking about it… middle age sucks…