Is anyone else turning 40 next year? And how do you feel about that?
Once upon a time, I went to college. A friend introduced me to a new song called “Growing Old” by The Origin. It was a great theme song for college freshmen tottering, as we were, between kidhood and adulthood. That’s right, I was 17 and somehow worried about growing old and succumbing to all those things that make adults boring.
Take a walk downtown
see the monkeys goin’ round
full of pride and greed
they try to tell me what’s going down.
Was it you who held your dreams
deep in your soul
well I’ve got mine, yeah,
I’ll be the one to rock ‘n’ roll.
How many time have you lied outside
to make yourself feel fine
How many times have you cried inside
I’ll tell you
I’m not growing old
It also had a great, upbeat sound which made it very catchy. Here’s a sample. (Yes, I still have both the cassette and the cd.)
What constitutes a mid-life crisis? First of all, when is one in the middle of one’s life? Second, what is a crisis, exactly? Third, who determines whether or not one is in a crisis? Fourth, am I getting too philosophical about this?
Okay, it is reasonable to predict that many people will freak out a little bit upon facing their fortieth year. I’m not going to pretend that we should all feel so grateful to have had so many good years and hope for at least that many more, even though it’s probably true. I’m going to say that it’s relatively normal in our society to want to stop the clock or even turn it back (note: normal does not always equal healthy). According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, people between the ages of 35-50 have the most cosmetic procedures. (I’m going to be optimistic here and say that beyond 50, we begin to accept ourselves for who we are… or that’s my hope.) Some people turning 40 have big surprise parties with black balloons and silly “over the hill” gifts. (Hint, do not do this to me.) Some throw their money, figuratively speaking, at a fast vehicle to try to slow time for themselves. There are those who take it as a wake-up call to begin participating in triathlons, gaining a measure of control over their aging bodies. Some just find it all very depressing, while a few are so psychologically healthy that they hardly notice the milestone.
I can’t say where I fit into the picture yet; I still have a little time. But I can see the writing on the wall- I have a tween entering middle school next year!- and I hope I weather it all with some amount of grace. If not, I hope you’ll forgive me for whatever strange behavior I might engage in over the next few years. Maybe 50 will be smoother.
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