Tuesday, March 06, 2018

We're All Way Older Than We Thought, I Think

Hi, I've just been on an emotional roller coaster and I'd like to take you all with me as I ride it one more time.

Okay. So.

I'm sitting here in my living room, working—and by working I mean I have an empty screen in front of me, curser flashing, and I'm staring around the room admiring certain things about it and intermittently stalking strangers on Instagram. I don't know how I got to this one celebrity's page, but I'm there, and I don't know who the heck she is. Someone from Parks & Rec, a show that I've tried to love many times but cannot (I'm sorry about that).

She looks like she's a few years older than me—but also, she has probably had help in the fountain of youth department because Hollywood. So maybe she's older than she looks. I don't know.

(I'm thirty. I suppose that's relevant here.)

It's a picture of her and a guy, and the caption is like, 'Middle-aged people enjoying a night out,' or something.

So, of course, I scroll up and look at the picture again, trying to figure out how old the woman is, because she really doesn't look that old, and I've generally thought 'middle-age' is a million years away for me. But if she's already considered middle-aged then so am I and that is a terrifying thought.

It's a fan account, not the personal account of the star herself. I have nothing to Google. I try, 'Girl Parks & Rec brown hair.' I find her. I click on her Wikipedia page. She is thirty-three. She was probably being facetious, calling herself middle-aged. But what if she wasn't? What if I stumbled and fell into middle-age without knowing it?

I frown. Is thirty middle-aged? Am I middle-aged?

Barclay's sitting on the couch eating a piece of toast. I say, "Barclay, what would you consider to be middle-aged?"

He frowns too, but his frown is because he's never thought of this before and has no idea what he considers to be middle-aged and also he probably doesn't care and just wants to eat his toast. "I don't know. Forty?"

I frown more, because at first I'm like, Okay, so thirty isn't middle-aged, but then I'm like, Forty isn't very far away.

I go back to Google.

What is considered middle-aged?

Google gives me a Huffington Post article titled "40 Signs You Are Middle-Aged." The Huffington Post probably knows about this sort of thing, I think. I click on it.

The article starts out by assuring me that I am not, in fact, middle-aged or even close to it. 53, says the article, is when you start middle-age. I think that's a strange and arbitrary number, but suddenly I feel like a fresh baby child.

But then I'm like, if the answer is 53, why do they come out and say that in the very first paragraph and what's all this article underneath?

It's a list. Of course. Because of the title of the article. These are the 40 Signs You Are Middle-Aged.

Having been duly assured that I have a solid 23 years until I will be considered middle-aged, I allow myself a little skim.

The first on the list is about losing touch with technology. I smile. I'm fine. I'm a spring chicken.

Number two: Finding you have no idea what 'young people' are talking about. I think of my friend Kate, who is a high school teacher, and who regularly has to explain to me what young people are talking about. They have a whole new language! I don't know it! Where did it come from? They're saying words I recognize, but I can tell they have all new meanings now. I'm frowning again.

Number four: Needing an afternoon nap. Do they mean needing only an afternoon nap? Because I would nap morning, afternoon, and evening if certain tiny members of my family would allow it.

Number five: Groaning when you bend down. Dude, I groan when I think about bending down. I groan when I walk across the kitchen. I groan all day and in my sleep. I'm groaning right now because I've been sitting for too long. SITTING. Not even sitting on a horse; I'm sitting on a very cushy chair. I'm a Groany McGroanerson.

Number Seven: Talking a lot about your joints/ailments. Uh, check. See number five.

Number ten, thinking policemen/teachers/doctors look really young, thirteen, choosing clothes and shoes for comfort rather than style, seventeen, forgetting people's names, number nineteen, misplacing your glasses/bag/car keys, etc, twenty, complaining about rubbish on tv, twenty, enjoying getting socks for Christmas, twenty-four, complaining more, twenty-six, moving from radio one to radio two...!!!

I HAVE BEEN MIDDLE-AGED FOR AT LEAST TEN YEARS.

I hit the back button. The article below the Huffington Post's "40 Signs You Are Middle-Aged" is another Huffington Post article titled "25 Surefire Signs You've Finally Hit Middle Age."

Do I click on it? Of course I do.

(But I'll spare you.)

I feel like I'll get a bunch of comments from people older than me being like, "You little tiny baby, shut up and enjoy your little tiny baby life," and a bunch of other comments from people my age being like, "Oh no I also love naps and CBC Radio Two!" and the teenagers will just be like, "You're really flonking your flizzit right now, flibberty-jibbit fleek Netflix, Hundo-P Squad goals bae."

When did this happen?