That Awkward Stage – By Pip Helix (Davin’s Den)

Mid-way through my fiftieth year, I am finding that I am in that no-woman’s land between not being young anymore, and not quite being old, either.  Of course, that all depends on the relative age of the person calling you one or the other, but for the sake of argument, let’s just say that this age, “middle-age”, is a strange limbo in between other, better quantifiable places. 

If you are “young”, you are a “young lady”, and you have “your whole life ahead of you”.  Well, only elderly men call me “young lady” these days, and far be it from me to argue with them.  All those years bring wisdom, right?  However, I do still sometimes hear “miss”, which is like a fresh breeze in a swamp of “ma’am”.  Ma’am.  How dare you?  Ma’am is for middle-aged…oh.  Dammit.  When did that creep up?  Well, no matter what my birth certificate says, Ma’am is still a damning title.  It’s the sensible shoes of greetings. “Hello, you no longer young, drying up and becoming invisible old MA’AM.”  It’s a condemnation to the slippery slope into brittle bones and liver spots.  I hate “ma’am”.

Not being “young” anymore actually does have some high points.  I am less and less often asked when I intend to procreate.  Although, with my baby face and having only been married in recent years, it still occasionally comes up, and I have to gently let the person down by assuring them that “that ship has SAILED”.  I’m not upset about that one bit, but you would be surprised how often I have had to console others regarding the fact that I have not (nor ever wanted to) spawned.

Another high point about no longer being “young” is that I have passed into the “Don’t give a damn” years.  Not quite to the point of the infamous Walmart denizens who show up in public places wearing inadequate amounts of clothing, and that which they have put on is usually suspiciously stained, but I won’t freak out if my jeans aren’t the right style or if my car isn’t up to the Jones’ standards.  I have so little desire to keep up with them, or anyone else, and I don’t mind telling them so.  Most of the time, I really don’t give a damn about what others think I should be doing, wearing, or not saying.  Letting go of those petty anxieties is great.

Of course, there are the physical changes to deal with, and only when I get lazy enough to really let my hair roots go do I get any indication of exactly how grey my hair has gotten (a shocking amount, actually).  Perversely, my face has decided to break out now more than at any other time in my life, so there is some hormonal back-sliding going on, as well as the tendency to forget everything and be achy after what was once minimal activity.  Even so, we are still not into desperate territory there.

But I have had a couple of indications that it won’t be long before I have irretrievably stepped over into the land of well and truly OLD.  I got my first “senior” discount this year, at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Atlantic City.  I was chatting with the counter clerk, and I think she just wanted to be nice, and offered me a discount on my coffee and sandwich.  Yeah, baby, nothing wrong with a discount!  Only, when she said that it was a “senior” discount…it felt like a punch in the tailbone.  A WHAT?  For ME?  After a second to think, I simply said “thank you”, because, hey, why pay her more money?  Even though it was probably just to be nice, that was a tough line to cross, like my first grey eyebrow hair.  Here it comes…the old.

Talking about very adult old people things, like retirement plans, whether to join AARP, and one’s  “regularity”, is already here, so it will most likely be a blink of an eye before I worry about driving at night, and actually know the bingo schedules of the local church halls.  However, I am consoled by the many commercials on tv of other last gasp “Boomers” still being active and having enough money to enjoy some little luxuries in middle age.  If I am still going to music shows in New York that are general admission, no chairs events, well, I guess I’m still in the limbo between being young (when I could stand there all night), and being too old to do it without a walker.

For now, I’m just going to try not to over analyze it and just live it.  Aches, pimples and wrinkles, and all. The middle, at least for now, is fine.

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