I turned 46 years old earlier this month.
I am, as Chrissie Hynde once snarled, now standing in the middle of life with my past behind me.
And you know what? I’m quite happy.
In fact, I freaking love being middle-aged.
I realize mine is the minority opinion, but if anyone has ever told you that middle age is a time to fear — don’t believe them; it’s a golden age.
It’s the time in your life when you still have plenty of youthful energy, but you also have enough experience to direct that energy in a wise way.
I didn’t always think like this. I once bought into the widespread fear of middle age.
I guess we get the impression that middle age is a bummer partly because of how it’s portrayed in pop culture.
I don’t know if many people go through a mid-life crisis in real life, but there are certainly plenty of these existential moments on the big screen, on television and in books.
Take a filmmaker like Woody Allen. Doesn’t it seem as though all of his characters are feckless men going through a crisis of confidence because they lack the willpower and vitality that once drove them?
Or look at a film like The Big Chill, which shows how a group of college friends have lost their idealism as they enter middle age.
Yes, portraying mid-life as a rough period fraught with complications and drawbacks is quite the cottage industry.
Bah. That’s not the middle age I know.
As far as I’m concerned, life has never been better.
I would never want to go back to being young, if doing so meant that I would lose the wisdom I have acquired along the way. I wouldn’t give up the perspective I have now for anything.
More than anything, middle age is a time of balance.
When you’re young, you feel young most of the time – and only occasionally feel old.
When you’re old, I imagine you feel old the majority of the time, with only sporadic flashes of youth.
But middle age is the period when you feel simultaneously young and old, but rather than feeling torn, these emotions co-exist peacefully. At least they do for me.
Besides, you can’t fight the aging process. No matter what TV commercials might say.
As Eagles drummer Don Henley famously said, age is the great leveller. It’s happening to all of us, and it’s happening at the same rate to everyone – one day at a time.
Maybe I’m loving this time in my life so much because I had enough sense at a young age to dedicate myself to enjoying what each stage of life brought my way. I promised myself I would live life to the fullest, whatever that meant at the time.
Being middle-aged is, as the kids say, awesome.
If you haven’t already, you should try it some time.