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Musings from a middle-aged birthday girl.

2009-10-13 - 10:56 a.m.

It was my birthday on Friday. I turned 37. In acknowledgement of this, Iím making an effort to embrace my middle-aged-ness. While I think of this as a positive thing, not everyone is welcoming the sentiment.

The people who seem the most horrified by this statement are people who are older than me. My mother, for instance, is not keen on thinking of her daughters as middle-aged. People at the office also tend to think of me as a spring chicken, but I think thatís partly because the boomers have made the organization very top-heavy when it comes to age: I canít remember the exact average age of an employee here, but I think itís in the 50s.

To all the naysayers I reply that Iím pretty sure the average life expectancy in Canada is in the mid-to-high seventies. Well, 37 is getting to half-way there. Is that not the very definition of middle age? If age follows a normal distribution, the standard deviation around the middle would mean that we technically enter the phase of ďmiddle ageĒ a bit before we hit the exact center, no?

And while I think Iím aging pretty well, I cannot deny that I am aging. I look in the mirror and see the flesh on my face succumbing slightly to gravity (letís not talk of that same effect on my boobs now that Iím almost finished nursing, mmkay?). I am seeing traces of evidence that I both frown and smile written onto my skin. I have the odd grey hair showing up to the party on my head.

Is this cause for despair? While a tiny part of me (the one thatís ridiculously afraid of death) is shouting ďyes!Ē, the rest of me is determinedly shaking itís head. Age is normal, I repeat to myself. Age is natural. Age means that, hopefully, Iím gaining some wisdom.

I can tell you that you couldnít pay me enough to live through my early-to-mid twenties again. My thirties have been the best years of my life. Not the ones during which Iíve generated a lot of captivating stories of my adventures, but the most stable and filled with love. I dare say I had enough craziness during my teenage years and on into my twenties to last me a lifetime, and I remember much of them fondly, but now, having and raising my kids, spending at least one evening a week with my mom, getting to watch my grandmother dote on my kids - her great-grandchildren - well, I feel like Iíve hit a sweet spot right now, yíknow?

So if my late 30s are indeed my ďmiddleĒ age, Iím not going to try to push that away. All the people I love most are alive and well and spending time with me and each other, and I donít want to take that for granted. I intend to savour this time and try to store it up in the form of pictures and memories.

But that doesnít mean I wonít continue to go to the gym, and I intend to try to cut back on the baking consumption for a bit now that Thanksgiving is over. After all, aging gracefully still requires a little work, now and then.

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