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 I Don’t Feel Middle Age, Until I Do

It’s a typical Saturday night, and I am out with my husband and a few other couples for dinner. The restaurant is dimly lit. The menu has tiny print. I push the menu arm’s length from my face, then I pull it closer to my face. Push. Pull. Push. Pull. My tablemates are also doing the menu dance.

Then, in a synchronized movement, my girlfriends and I pull out readers so we see our options. Once we’ve decided, we chivalrously pass our glasses to our spouses, so they too can choose to see the menu.

Years ago I asked my dad how it felt to be 75 years old. At first, he gave me a puzzled look and then, after some thought, he replied, “Honestly, I don’t think of myself as so old. That is, until I look in the mirror and I see some old man staring back at me.”


When I wake up in the morning, before I fully comprehend my whereabouts, for a brief moment I feel almost like I am still in my 20s.


I feel that way too. When I wake up in the morning, before I fully comprehend my whereabouts, for a brief moment I feel almost like I am still in my 20s. But as I try to make my way out of bed, I feel a stiffness — could be my back, my shoulder, my ankle. Somewhere there is dull ache. I try to remember what I did the day before that could have caused my muscles to revolt. I sadly realize that all I did was my usual chores.

I trudge to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and that’s when it really hits me. The face staring back at me is a little startling. It’s got some smile lines, crows’ feet, and age spots. It’s not my mother’s face, but it’s also not the face I am expecting.

After getting over the shock of my reflection, I usually have to pee. My bladder seems to be getting smaller as my hips get wider. I’ve usually also gone once or twice in the night. In fact, I sometimes high-five my husband during our respective midnight shuffles to the potty.

After I brush my teeth, I take a long look at my hair. Once jet black and shiny, it’s now a battleground. In the war between gray and brown, the browns are losing! The grays are mighty and seem to multiple in my sleep. Part of me thinks I should surrender and allow gray its rightful victory, but I’m not ready just yet.


My ego is allowed only a glimpse of sunshine before I sit in my car and hear the voice of a little pig bellowing at the wolf: “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.”


By the time I leave the house, I’m feeling pretty good. My gray has been masked with a bottle of spray-on brown and two Advil have quashed the minor aches. But my ego is allowed only a glimpse of sunshine before I sit in my car and hear the voice of a little pig bellowing at the wolf: “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.” I keep tweezers in my glove compartment for just such an occasion.

Before I start the car, I send a quick text. How big is my iPhone font? SO BIG! People three doors down can read my phone. It’s like a portable billboard in my hand, and I no longer dare type things not meant for public consumption.

I’m not complaining. Really I’m not. I feel fortunate that I get to grow older, and I have to laugh as I watch myself and my peers morphing into our parents. I’m ready for my own kids to ask me how it feels to be old. I plan to tell them it feels just like being young — only with a few more wrinkles, a lot more wisdom, and many pairs of reading glasses.

Photo: Trinette Reed

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