How would you define middle-aged?

BenitoChavez

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I was at the grocery store today and the cashier lady called me "young man". While I may be young relative to her (I'm guessing she was late 50's, early 60's) I'm currently 35 which is half of 70. When I think of 70 year olds I think of gray hair, walking with a cane, those diseases that get more common as you age. You know, old people stuff. What's more is that I feel middle-aged. I've slowly put on weight over the years, I get random aches and pains for no apparent reason, I've started napping whenever I can find the time, etc. So I did a quick google search which was no help. Some sites say middle age starts in your thirties and some say it starts in your fifties. So I come to you fellow CFCers. How would you define middle-aged?
 
I was at the grocery store today and the cashier lady called me "young man". While I may be young relative to her (I'm guessing she was late 50's, early 60's) I'm currently 35 which is half of 70. When I think of 70 year olds I think of gray hair, walking with a cane, those diseases that get more common as you age. You know, old people stuff. What's more is that I feel middle-aged. I've slowly put on weight over the years, I get random aches and pains for no apparent reason, I've started napping whenever I can find the time, etc. So I did a quick google search which was no help. Some sites say middle age starts in your thirties and some say it starts in your fifties. So I come to you fellow CFCers. How would you define middle-aged?
This might make an interesting thread on its own.
 
Halfway between birth and death? ;) Since I fall into your old person category, I would put middle age between 35-45. But mostly it is how one's mind feels about your body.
 
I was at the grocery store today and the cashier lady called me "young man". While I may be young relative to her (I'm guessing she was late 50's, early 60's) I'm currently 35 which is half of 70. When I think of 70 year olds I think of gray hair, walking with a cane, those diseases that get more common as you age. You know, old people stuff. What's more is that I feel middle-aged. I've slowly put on weight over the years, I get random aches and pains for no apparent reason, I've started napping whenever I can find the time, etc. So I did a quick google search which was no help. Some sites say middle age starts in your thirties and some say it starts in your fifties. So I come to you fellow CFCers. How would you define middle-aged?

See bolded. Yeah, you're middle aged.
 
I think using this math for the definition works for me.
I am roughly that age, and just yesterday realized that I barely know anyone in their 20s. All my close friends are in their 30s (with the exception of my ex girlfriend and a former student). So I don't think I count as young either anymore.
 
I think that up to 60 you can still be said to be, generally, "middle aged".
Most people probably have a midlife crisis at around 40.
I'm 58 and there are times when I feel 30 years older than that.

When I moved into this building in 2013 and had to first convince the manager that I was serious about wanting an apartment and would like an appointment, she asked if it was just for me or if I had a roommate, husband, kids...

I told her, "We are three middle-aged ladies, two of whom are cats."

Once she'd parsed her way through that, she laughed and set up an appointment.
 
I was at the grocery store today and the cashier lady called me "young man". While I may be young relative to her (I'm guessing she was late 50's, early 60's) I'm currently 35 which is half of 70. When I think of 70 year olds I think of gray hair, walking with a cane, those diseases that get more common as you age. You know, old people stuff. What's more is that I feel middle-aged. I've slowly put on weight over the years, I get random aches and pains for no apparent reason, I've started napping whenever I can find the time, etc. So I did a quick google search which was no help. Some sites say middle age starts in your thirties and some say it starts in your fifties. So I come to you fellow CFCers. How would you define middle-aged?

Several clues.

1. Your body hurts.

2. Young cute things start becoming more annoying than cute.

3. Hangovers last more than a day.

4. You start putting weight on. Getting rid of it is harder.
 
I was at the grocery store today and the cashier lady called me "young man". While I may be young relative to her (I'm guessing she was late 50's, early 60's) I'm currently 35 which is half of 70. When I think of 70 year olds I think of gray hair, walking with a cane, those diseases that get more common as you age. You know, old people stuff. What's more is that I feel middle-aged. I've slowly put on weight over the years, I get random aches and pains for no apparent reason, I've started napping whenever I can find the time, etc. So I did a quick google search which was no help. Some sites say middle age starts in your thirties and some say it starts in your fifties. So I come to you fellow CFCers. How would you define middle-aged?
To my mind, "middle age" is a stage of life more than an age bracket. Some of the hallmarks could be, but wouldn't be limited to...
  • Ascending to a more senior role in your career, which could include something managerial or professorial. I remember being in college with a guy who had gone back to wrap up the bachelor's degree he'd started 30 years earlier, but never finished. His employer was ready to promote him to VP, but had a policy of requiring a bachelor's degree for their higher positions. There was a woman in one of my classes who looked be in her late 40s or early 50s, who went back to school just because she felt like it.
  • Having an "empty nest", kids who have moved on to the next state of their lives, but you're not nearly ready for a rocking chair by the fire. When I was in Normandy several years ago, I spent a day in the company of two American couples whose youngest kids had just gone off to college. The four friends had packed their bags for a months-long tour of Europe practically the next day. I think one of the women was younger than I am now.
  • I remember a friend's mother buying a motorcycle when her daughter graduated high school. She'd ridden them when she was a young woman, but had given it up when she got pregnant. She was a country music fan and wanted to take a road-trip down South.
  • One of my college professors had recently divorced her husband, come out of the closet, and married her girlfriend. (She said she was still friends with her ex-husband, with whom she had adult children.)
  • Having significant money to spend may be a factor. There are things a 50-year-old might be able to afford that they couldn't have done when they were 22. I remember when I was a kid, a friend of my mom's was taking a whole year off to travel around the world, which boggled my mind at the time.
There's a dismissive stereotyping of people at this stage of life having a "mid-life crisis", but I don't think this stuff is a crisis of any kind. Revisiting some of the things you wanted to do when you were young is totally valid, imo. I asked the guy in my class why he never finished college in his 20s, and he just shrugged and said "life happened." None of the parents here seemed to regret having had kids, but having done that, they were doing the next thing, which was often something they didn't have time or money to do while raising their children. There was no "crisis."
 
To my mind, "middle age" is a stage of life more than an age bracket. Some of the hallmarks could be, but wouldn't be limited to...
  • Ascending to a more senior role in your career, which could include something managerial or professorial. I remember being in college with a guy who had gone back to wrap up the bachelor's degree he'd started 30 years earlier, but never finished. His employer was ready to promote him to VP, but had a policy of requiring a bachelor's degree for their higher positions. There was a woman in one of my classes who looked be in her late 40s or early 50s, who went back to school just because she felt like it.
  • Having an "empty nest", kids who have moved on to the next state of their lives, but you're not nearly ready for a rocking chair by the fire. When I was in Normandy several years ago, I spent a day in the company of two American couples whose youngest kids had just gone off to college. The four friends had packed their bags for a months-long tour of Europe practically the next day. I think one of the women was younger than I am now.
  • I remember a friend's mother buying a motorcycle when her daughter graduated high school. She'd ridden them when she was a young woman, but had given it up when she got pregnant. She was a country music fan and wanted to take a road-trip down South.
  • One of my college professors had recently divorced her husband, come out of the closet, and married her girlfriend. (She said she was still friends with her ex-husband, with whom she had adult children.)
  • Having significant money to spend may be a factor. There are things a 50-year-old might be able to afford that they couldn't have done when they were 22. I remember when I was a kid, a friend of my mom's was taking a whole year off to travel around the world, which boggled my mind at the time.
There's a dismissive stereotyping of people at this stage of life having a "mid-life crisis", but I don't think this stuff is a crisis of any kind. Revisiting some of the things you wanted to do when you were young is totally valid, imo. I asked the guy in my class why he never finished college in his 20s, and he just shrugged and said "life happened." None of the parents here seemed to regret having had kids, but having done that, they were doing the next thing, which was often something they didn't have time or money to do while raising their children. There was no "crisis."
"Life happened" is a good answer to give people who ask about things that are really not their business. "Life happened" is why mine didn't go as I'd planned, and is a combination of many things - some of which I've mentioned here and some of which I prefer not to say.

As for "young man" annoying anyone... my eye surgeon addresses me as "young lady." I'm going to be 59 on my next birthday. It's not that he's ancient; he probably is within 5 years of my own age, but this is either his way of putting people at ease (since he knows some people get nervous in any medical setting) or he, like many, tend to underestimate my age by a decade or so.
 
To my mind, "middle age" is a stage of life more than an age bracket. Some of the hallmarks could be, but wouldn't be limited to...
  • Ascending to a more senior role in your career, which could include something managerial or professorial. I remember being in college with a guy who had gone back to wrap up the bachelor's degree he'd started 30 years earlier, but never finished. His employer was ready to promote him to VP, but had a policy of requiring a bachelor's degree for their higher positions. There was a woman in one of my classes who looked be in her late 40s or early 50s, who went back to school just because she felt like it.
  • Having an "empty nest", kids who have moved on to the next state of their lives, but you're not nearly ready for a rocking chair by the fire. When I was in Normandy several years ago, I spent a day in the company of two American couples whose youngest kids had just gone off to college. The four friends had packed their bags for a months-long tour of Europe practically the next day. I think one of the women was younger than I am now.
  • I remember a friend's mother buying a motorcycle when her daughter graduated high school. She'd ridden them when she was a young woman, but had given it up when she got pregnant. She was a country music fan and wanted to take a road-trip down South.
  • One of my college professors had recently divorced her husband, come out of the closet, and married her girlfriend. (She said she was still friends with her ex-husband, with whom she had adult children.)
  • Having significant money to spend may be a factor. There are things a 50-year-old might be able to afford that they couldn't have done when they were 22. I remember when I was a kid, a friend of my mom's was taking a whole year off to travel around the world, which boggled my mind at the time.
There's a dismissive stereotyping of people at this stage of life having a "mid-life crisis", but I don't think this stuff is a crisis of any kind. Revisiting some of the things you wanted to do when you were young is totally valid, imo. I asked the guy in my class why he never finished college in his 20s, and he just shrugged and said "life happened." None of the parents here seemed to regret having had kids, but having done that, they were doing the next thing, which was often something they didn't have time or money to do while raising their children. There was no "crisis."

A lot of those thigs seem a later than middle age to me. Empty nest? Women are still giving birth in middle age.

As it seems to me the big shift is that at a point in your early to mid thirties you just stop giving a monkeys about what others think of you. It's terribly liberating.

Also people stop giving you flyers to nightclubs, police no longer stop and search you, security guards no longer regard you with suspicion and strangers desist from asking if you want to fight out of the blue. Sad about the nightclub flyers, but overall a clear win.
 
It's when your more precocious peers start dying on you in mundane, rather than "socially tragic?" ways.
 
I was at the grocery store today and the cashier lady called me "young man". While I may be young relative to her (I'm guessing she was late 50's, early 60's) I'm currently 35 which is half of 70. When I think of 70 year olds I think of gray hair, walking with a cane, those diseases that get more common as you age. You know, old people stuff. What's more is that I feel middle-aged. I've slowly put on weight over the years, I get random aches and pains for no apparent reason, I've started napping whenever I can find the time, etc. So I did a quick google search which was no help. Some sites say middle age starts in your thirties and some say it starts in your fifties. So I come to you fellow CFCers. How would you define middle-aged?
Thirty five. I'm borrowing from Dante to answer. He begins the Divine Comedy "Midway on the voyage of our life." There's a psalm that puts the human lifespan at 70 (or 80 if you're a strong man). Dante sets the action of the Divine Comedy in 1300, when he was 35.
 
Also people stop giving you flyers to nightclubs, police no longer stop and search you, security guards no longer regard you with suspicion and strangers desist from asking if you want to fight out of the blue. Sad about the nightclub flyers, but overall a clear win.
I guess I've been middle aged my whole life.
 
A lot of those thigs seem a later than middle age to me. Empty nest? Women are still giving birth in middle age.

As it seems to me the big shift is that at a point in your early to mid thirties you just stop giving a monkeys about what others think of you. It's terribly liberating.

Also people stop giving you flyers to nightclubs, police no longer stop and search you, security guards no longer regard you with suspicion and strangers desist from asking if you want to fight out of the blue. Sad about the nightclub flyers, but overall a clear win.
Security guards and store employees don't tend to be suspicious on the basis of age unless you're a child or a teenager. They have other reasons.
 
Security guards and store employees don't tend to be suspicious on the basis of age unless you're a child or a teenager. They have other reasons.

You've never been a young man. Even a young white man will be stopped by police and followed round the shop by security guards.

Please don't deign to tell me my own lived experience.
 
I was at the grocery store today and the cashier lady called me "young man". While I may be young relative to her (I'm guessing she was late 50's, early 60's) I'm currently 35 which is half of 70. When I think of 70 year olds I think of gray hair, walking with a cane, those diseases that get more common as you age. You know, old people stuff. What's more is that I feel middle-aged. I've slowly put on weight over the years, I get random aches and pains for no apparent reason, I've started napping whenever I can find the time, etc. So I did a quick google search which was no help. Some sites say middle age starts in your thirties and some say it starts in your fifties. So I come to you fellow CFCers. How would you define middle-aged?

I agree with Valka that this would have been an interesting thread of its own. That said, I'm inclined to agree with BirdJaguar's 35-45 range, depending on the person.

I think of my friend who's probably 41 now, at least 40, but could pass for 30. He's probably aging better than anyone I know, and always has youthful energy as well.

I think of my friend who's 36 or 37, but has started talking about how he has aches that he didn't have when he was my age (early 30s). He doesn't look middle aged quite yet, but is starting to feel it.

I wouldn't put any of my friends within a year or two of my age in that category yet, though. They're in that window of not fresh-out-of-school anymore, nor would you take them for it, but not old enough to have kids of their own who would be teenagers, even if they had decided to have kids in their early-mid 20s. Which none of them did, which probably helps in reaching middle age later.

The important thing might be that I still feel as good as I did 10 or 15 years ago, probably due to being in better shape than I was in my 20s, still recover from injuries quickly, and still have the metabolism I had when I was in college, or at least pretty close to it. Although several of my close friends who are also very close to my age don't have their former metabolisms anymore. Maybe I got some good genetics in that area from my mom, maybe it's an accumulation of lifestyle differences.

It is sort of weird, though, having friends who are putting themselves on diets or becoming aunts or uncles. That wasn't happening at 25.
 
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