Middle age is the period of life beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. Various attempts have been made to define this age, which is around the third quarter of the average life span of human beings.
According to Collins Dictionary, this is "... usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 40 and 60".
The OED gives a similar definition but with a later start point "... the period between youth and old age, about 45 to 60".
The US Census lists middle age as including both the age categories 35 to 44 and 45 to 54, while Erik Erikson sees it ending a little later and defines middle adulthood as between 40 and 65.
In many Western societies, this is seen to be the period of life in which a person is expected to have settled down in terms of their sense of identity and place in the world, be raising a family, and have established career stability. It is also a period often associated with the potential onset of mid-life crisis.
I've come to a realization - I'm middle aged. Yup...I've reached that "designation". What does it mean? I don't FEEL middle aged. I thought middle age would mean I would FEEL old. I will soon be 47 - and being part of this "group" can't be denied any longer.
I've reached that magical age where the friends I grew up with are becoming grandparents - I'm going to be a MeMaw Donna in June when Pam has her first child. I went to-prenatal exercise class with her mom! I potty trained her - or better said, stood there in amazement when she basically decided to do it herself - My dear son required TRAINING!
Friends my age often have no young children left at home and have entered that "empty nest" season of their lives - I too have an empty nest. As bad is may sound, I was not sad when my little birdling left home. I was concerned that this little guy who could not remember to brush his teeth would remember to pay rent on time and to turn the stove off, etc....but he did. He has done very well in his life thus far - I think, I can consider that a job well done.
And finally - Hormone Hell - So many of my friends are here - either by natures cruel sense of humor or medically induced. With so many friends having babies the realization has hit me - that entire season of my life - has ended. While mine ended with a much needed hysterectomy - still - that part of me is forever gone. Don't get me wrong, I do not miss my monthly period - the annoying, painful, miserable time that made me feel bad 3 weeks out of every month. The days of hoping that my feminine protection would not fail before I could get to work are over - happily for me. I've entered the season of needing calcium to keep my bones strong, I chose to use HRT to alleviate my peri-menopausal symptoms, which anyone who spends any amount of time with me, is most thankful that I do use this medication.
My body and weight is the biggest thing I really notice. Things aren't where they used to be. It's much harder to lose weight - even with working out religiously and eating clean and healthy - the body fat seems mysteriously immune to these proven methods of removal. 10 years ago, I would be 20 pounds lighter after this amount of effort - no more. Another by-product of a slowing metabolism and hormones that no longer perform the way they once did. And well, I like to eat and drink - and life is too short to never enjoy my favorites - but all in moderation.
However, there are some wonderful things about being middle aged - Confidence, maturity, the ability to shrug off the little things as truly not being life changing events they once were in my 20's - example...someone talking about my ever changing hair - would have kept me from doing what I do now - CHANGE it all the time!
I also have continued to learn that balance is important - I have a tendency to become focused on one or two things and they become my life - I have realized that I can balance work, play and rest and that I am a happier person with balance in my life.
So....I think this season called Middle Aged won't be so bad.