I guess I’ve been in a kind of shock over the past few months, but as I was looking in the mirror today, it struck me: I’m 40. How the hell did that happen? How in the world did I become a creature that a man in his 30s (always my benchmark for solid adulthood) would not look twice at? How did kids born when I was an adult get to be adults themselves? Why is my hair thinning, my skin sagging, my body aching?
And the biggest question of all: Why am I surprised?
I’ve been calling myself middle aged for a couple of years. The main thing I’ve noticed is I don’t get as many appreciative looks as I used to, but somehow the age thing never played a part in my understanding. I thought it was just because I don’t take care of myself, and that’s part of it of course, but also it’s because my place in society is shifting.* And I didn’t ask it to! I’m still talking to people the same way, but more and more I find myself confused by their responses. People of all ages seem to be connecting with me differently, and I’m just now putting two and two together.
People seem less interested in what I say, but more obliged to listen; the folks who are dismissive and those who are intimidated seem to have switched places; I'm surprised when others seem to be put off by my enthusiastic manner. I fear it makes me seem unstable and/or on drugs. Being compared to a puppy was cute when I was 16, but now it seems weird. However, I think I still look good in a ponytail, but who knows?
Like I said, I’m wondering how I got here without noticing things were changing. But it’s pretty clear now that I’ve arrived at a destination. When I figure out where that is, I’ll let you know. It just struck me, is all.
Oh, I just realized the biggest question of all: Why don’t I know what I’m doing by now? Sheesh.
*I first typed “shitting”, which is also fitting. My place in society is shitting. Indeed.