The Birthdays Just Keep Coming… Am I (Shudder) Middle Aged?

Birthdays.

They are such fun and so exciting when you are a kid. And I have to say, I was pretty ok with them up until the last few years. I was not upset to turn 30. But I turn 40 in a couple of weeks and it has been a bit of a struggle.

Why Do Birthdays Bother Me Now?

Birthdays signify milestones. You are a legal adult at 18 and can buy alcohol at 21. The milestone for 40 is a baseline mammogram. Yippee.

As I turn 40, I admit to feeling old which I realize is a bit ridiculous. I refuse to think of myself as middle-aged. For me middle-aged is 50 or 55, but that only works if I live to be 100-110. And I have no doubt that I will feel differently once I am 50 0r 55.

And it is not that I think that I am dying or anything. It is that I don’t know where I belong.

Throughout my life, I have fit pretty well into groups. The young 20-somethings that can party until 2AM and show up for work the next day. Then I was part of the newly married, but childless set. That one was a bit tricky because we waited so long to have kids that a lot of my friends were moving onto the married-with-children category long before we did.

Where Do I Fit In? 

Now I have a young child, but am nearly 40. A lot of times, that is a hard mix. Do I fit in more with the 40-something moms whose children are early- to mid-teens? Or do I fit better with the younger moms whose kids are my son’s age, but are a solid 10+ years younger than me?

I believe that friendships can cross any and all boundaries, age, gender, etc., but it would be nice to think that I actually fit somewhere. In an effort to put myself out there, I am joining everything you can think of. I just signed for a knitting class and joined the PTO for my son’s school.

Maybe that is my version of a mid-life crisis.

Perhaps… Growing Older Is Making Me Better? 

I know I am not alone in this struggle.

On a positive note, I’m finally working on that goal list I have had forever. I have wanted to learn to scuba dive and take a rafting trip for the last 10 years. Now, it is actually on the schedule. I am taking up new hobbies like calligraphy and bullet journaling.

Sure, I am worrying about wrinkle cream and getting my hair colored regularly. But these days, it’s not necessarily for vanity—it’s so that no one mistakes me for my son’s grandmother.

I am also paying more attention to my health. My older sister was just diagnosed with a heart condition and may need surgery. She is 11 years older than I am, but it still set off alarm bells that I need to be more vigilant myself. 

So maybe it really is all in how you look at things. I am hoping that in a few weeks when my birthday is over, I can keep the motivation that it has provided and lose the negative connotation that it has for me.

Maybe age really is just a number.

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