Being smack dab in the middle of my
forties, and feeling every minute of it, an article about how being
forty (+) doesn't mean what is used to caught my eye.
The article was on the Daily Mails
website (British newspaper) used a movie called "This is 40" as
its taking off point. I haven't seen the movie, but according to
the article it's about how some people in their forties continue to
act like they're much younger.
The movie stars Paul Rudd (an actor
Hollywood keeps trying to cram down our throats, but we continue to
refuse to let it happen) as a character who "pouts and shouts,
dribbles his food and hides in the bathroom to play on his iPad, not
mention his bicycle obsession and cupcake addiction."
I know some people in their 40's,
though not as many as I probably should, and I don't recall any of
them ever acting like a spoiled child not getting their way. But then
I realized this is how Hollywood figures people in their forties
But as with most Hollywood stuff, there
are some kernels of truth to the idea that people in their 40s aren't
what people in their 40s used to be.
I'm 45, for about another month and a
half, and I do things I probably shouldn't do at this age. I play
video games, listen to music that I should denounce as noise, read
comic books and watch cartoons.
I also work, pay a lot of bills, wonder
what in the world is wrong with young people and even occasionally
try to claim things were so much better when I was young, even though
I know that's not true.
When I was young (see?) people in their
40s were old. I mean, seriously old. When I was between the ages of
20-25 and I heard of somebody dying in their 40s, I didn't even
blink an eye. How much longer could they have had, I would wonder.
Back in those days, the long forgotten
1987-92 period, people didn't seem to carry their youthful
obsessions into middle age. Sure, you had some holdouts, usually with
long hair and some southern rock band blasting out of their 1972
Oldsmobile radio. But they were a rare exception and were used as
warnings of what could happen if you didn't apply yourself.
Most people in their 40s had short
hair, even the women, had jobs, a serious demeanor and no interest at
all in anything anybody under the age of, say, 38 might be doing.
They seemed to live such dull, gray lives.
What happened? Well, according to the
article, the big thing was we changed what we thought of as being
middle aged. Despite the fact that going by the average life span
middle age falls between 35-40, we've always winked at each other
and said middle age was around 45-50. Because so many of us make it
anywhere from 90-100.
Now, though, we've apparently decided
middle age starts at 55. This isn't without precedent, at least in
my life. I remember, many years ago, asking a friend what she thought
middle age was and she said 55. I laughed, but apparently she was way
ahead of her time.
I guess there are reasons for this. We
are living longer. The average life span has increased from 75 to 78,
but we probably all have relatives, or know people who have shot way
past that number. And we have much more to keep us younger, or at
least make us think we're younger. I can guarantee you, in 1987 the
sight of a 40 year old playing a video game would have brought the
world to a stand still.
In the end, you are what you are.
Whether you're happy with what you are, well, that's up to you,
but age doesn't really have much to do with it, unless you're
talking about health, which is another topic entirely.
But it does make me wonder, what does
the phrase "act like an adult" mean in the modern world?
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