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Thu, April 25

Middle-aged Musings: It’s all just about the numbers

I read a study this week that claims old age now starts at 74, making middle age technically start nine years after we’d normally consider it to start.

Right or wrong, I interpret this to mean I am now 39, not 48. This is VERY exciting. I’m not thrilled at celebrating my 40th birthday again, but it beats the 50th, I guess.

As a newly-minted 39-year-old, I’m trying to figure out what will be different for me.

The biggest thing I can see is that I am now closer in age to Chris Hemsworth. I still have a chance with Thor.

Riding my bicycle should come with less aches and pains now. My body was in much better shape at 39 than 48. I was riding 20 miles several times a week on my road bike. I’ll try that out tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll be fine. No one will call 911 about a pre-middle-aged cyclist gasping like a fish on the side of Highway 89. Really.

At 39, I was working until about 2 a.m. and then bouncing up at 7 a.m. to take kids to school. I’ll attempt that feat next – I hope my newly-youthful hip recovers from that first morning bounce.

My 14-year-old dog was 5 when I was 39. We’d hike for hours together. She would do triple my mileage because she always ran circles around me, literally. I just leaned down from the sofa to tell her of the plan to hit the trails at dawn tomorrow. She lifted her head off the carpet, snorted at me and flopped back down. Hmmmm, maybe that study didn’t include old-lady dogs.

If I’m remembering correctly, my first time at 39, my metabolism was still working. (It became defective around 40 or so.)

So, I think I’ll try a bacon cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate milkshake for lunch. It shouldn’t be noticeable on the thighs at all at my youthful age. Right?

I like this plan in my head. However, I’m realizing this means I have nine extra years to work until I can retire. I’m not fond of that. At all.

After writing that last sentence, I got up to let the dowager canine queen out to potty. I stood up too quickly, got dizzy and started to fall. I twisted my body to land away from the lump of dog on the floor so I didn’t crush her and her aging hips, and caught my considerable weight on my wrist. I didn’t hear a crack, but I did hear some choice words coming out of my mouth.

As I got up off the living room floor, all I could think of was that could’ve been my hip. Did I have a grateful dog after that contortion I pulled off to save her? If you count opening one eyeball at me and then rolling over as thanks, then I guess she was grateful.

Since my first thought went to my hip during the graceless fall, I guess I’ll just accept that I’m really 48 and my Christmas present this year will be hitting 49.


I already think every arm pain is the “big one” and I’m getting ready to join Fred Sanford’s Elizabeth in the sky. I can only imagine what I’ll be like at 60 and my arm starts to hurt.

So, my excitement on that new age report has waned while writing this column. I’ve decided that the study doesn’t mean I’m not middle aged. It just means I’ll have more time to be middle aged until I’m considered old.

Again, yippee.

It’s all just a numbers game anyway, I guess. If you feel young at 50, 60, 70 or 80, more power to you.

I’m pretty sure I won’t be one of those aerobics-taking, brisk-walking, mentally-bright 70-plus women.

I’m pretty sure that by 65, I’ll have fuzzy slippers, a heating pad, a real housecoat, more cats and knitting needles. No, I don’t knit. I just figure I’ll need something to poke my old husband with when he’s asleep in the recliner.

Until then, I’ll keep trying to get fitter, learn new things and pretend I’m younger. I mean, after all, I have two years until AARP and Modern Maturity find out where I live.

Until next time, Robin


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