Yesterday, Shelva wrote about her experience at “The Middle Aged Table” for her cousin’s wedding. Like her, I do wonder how I’ve ended up being the one in the middle of life instead of at the beginning.
Lately, this idea of middle age has come up a lot for me and not just because my 37th birthday is in a few weeks. Last night, I heard about a gathering of women – all women I know – who were brought together because they were middle-aged; I wasn’t invited – I’m not sure why, but I suspect it’s because I don’t have children.
Then, a friend today posted about Generation X and talked about how we are in middle age with our houses and our retirement plans.
I don’t have a spouse, kids, or a house. And yet, here I am in the middle of my life.
So how do we define this idea of “middle age?” Is it in years or accomplishments? Family? Possessions?
Middle age seems to be defined – for some – by a certain place in life – the common place of kids and houses and looking to retirement – but that’s not my definition. Instead, I define it this way – middle age is the time when you know who you are and pursue that path with all that you are. I like that. Not stuff, not relationships, not even years – but identity and security in that identity – that’s what makes you middle aged.
But since it seems often that middle aged is defined by something other than the number of years on the planet, and since I don’t have – at this moment – any of those things – spouse, kids, house, retirement plan (okay, I have one, but it’s pretty paltry) – I’m going to say I’m still a “young adult” and enjoy the joy of that “age” while also embracing the identity that each of my nearly 37 years has brought me.
How do you define middle-age? Young adulthood? Old age? Is it a set of things or relationships, a state of mind, a chronological fact, or a matter of identity?