I figured that my entry would be most appropriately labeled as "mystery meat", so here goes:
When did I become middle-aged? Was it when the songs on the radio became noise? Was it when my pre-teen nieces started using the term "back in the day"? Was it when 80's bootleg alternative music became classic pop rock?
I think I started to get concerned when two of my nieces, both under ten at the time, asked me one of the all-time dreaded questions: How old are you Aunt Penny? I'd never been ashamed of my age. I thought I was still quite youthful and very active. I don’t believe my sell by date had gone off yet (I tried looking for it, but even with a hand mirror I couldn’t tell if I was Made in America, Made by Mattel, or Made for Purchase & Use Before 1999). Heck, my parents were middle-aged, not me. So I smiled serenely and answered truthfully. That was a mistake. They looked at me wide-eyed, and the older of the two exclaimed "Wow! You're older than dirt!" She didn't realize it yet, but she had just nosedived off my "favorite" niece list. I was stunned. I may have even caught a fly while I slogged through, wallowing in self-denial. I was officially in crisis. I did the quick, logical, thing; I took my deer’s headlight spot and deflected it over to my dad. "Well", I stammered, backpedalling like crazy in my own mind, “if I'm older than dirt, then Grandpa is older than cosmic dust!" My dad smirked, giving him an instant facelift. My nieces then asked, "What’s cosmic dust?" I looked at them, innocent faces looking up at me, "really, really old dirt" I replied. Then I pouted like a proper 30-something.
They usually attribute mid-life crisis to men, not women. What do men have to cry or be in crisis about? Men get some wrinkles, grey hair, and a few scars, and they are handsome, dignified, and manly. When a woman gets the same, she is haggish, old, and unsightly. In mid-life, men are expected to blow money, drive fast cars, and seek after younger companionship. In mid-life women are expected to stay out of sight, drive mini-vans, and seek to enrich others lives. I think men get a mid-life and women get a mid-life crisis. I am an archaeologist and you aren’t “historic” until you’re fifty. Heck, you’re not worth collecting until you’re over 100. I’ve earned my gray hairs, the wrinkles are from joy, and believe me, you haven’t seen fast until you’ve seen me on my motorcycle. I refuse to cry. Mid-life, I’m coming at you at well over 55 mph, you can come along or get out of my way!
Penny is an aspiring novelist, educated southwest archaeologist, and avid cross-country motorcycle rider. She has officially decided that mid-life is just a wider than average bump in the road and if you ride fast enough, you may get to see the other side, via air, effectively skipping the entire “over-the-hill” thing. Currently Penny resides in Michigan with family, friends, her motorcycle, and faithful poochy pal Misty, the mini schnauzer, at her side. She currently works as a writer, editor, and communications person for a medical billing software company. Sometimes they even let her out to speak at events and seminars. Public beware! Penny has always been an avid reader and was hooked on Erma Bombeck books by the time she was 10. Perhaps that is why her own life seems so amusing to her. As she says, “If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’ll be pretty bored!”
(Entry #352 Erma Bombeck Writing Contest 2010, Humor Category, Global)