I'm In My Second Trimester
Life is getting noisier and that barely perceptible white noise that seems to be omnipresent is not merely the sound of florescent lights, copying machines and computer fans humming, it is the sound of 78 million baby boomers' muted whining as they reach middle age. It is the unspoken thought that in a Zen-like way fills the room with its unspokenness.You can't actually voice the words "middle age" unless you want to either get slapped or get into an excruciatingly boring argument about the true meaning of middle age. Many back peddling late thirty-somethings and even past-40 somethings are trying to convince me that middle age has been pushed back. "You know, because of cultural and health differences today, middle age is getting pushed back to age 50 or later," the conversation usually starts. "No, you are thinking of adolescence. It is a social construct. You can act like an adolescent and push back accepting responsibility and adopting a mature thought process even till your age, for instance. Listen Einstein, middle age is a simple math equation," I say. If I haven't been slapped by now, I forge on. "Take the age you expect to live, divide by two. Pad, say, 6-8 years on either side of that and you've got middle age," I dead pan. "So, you're planning on living to 112?" "Well no," They concede. "But middle age just makes me think of what my parents were when I was a teenager." "Bingo," I say. We the original tie-dye and bad grooming generation are more afraid of becoming our parents than of living next to nuclear waste. It has grown to phobic proportions. By my own equation, I turned middle age about five years ago, so I've come to terms with it -- the key word being "terms." Try thinking of middle age in sporting terminology. Think of it as a Super Bowl length half time. Now is the time to regroup and examine your first half strategy. Examine whether you are ahead or behind on the giant exploding score board of eternity and Karmic scoring. If you look up and find that your imaginary scoreboard is sponsored by an alcoholic beverage or a fast food conglomerate, you're in trouble. But don't worry, middle age is your time to be in the locker getting taped up, shot up and psyched up for another go at life's all-star team of travails. This is a great time to look at the game films for highlights and areas that need improvement. I'm sure your parents will be invaluable technical advisors in this endeavor. They can probably supply piles of photos and reels of super-8 footage of your first half performance. Expert analysis is another matter. At his point you need to seek out the advice of your coach, guru, priest, bishop, shrink, stock broker, hair stylist, bartender or health food store cashier for the "truth." There are only two rules to looking at middle age as a half time: 1) You can't change what happened in the first half; and 2) You have to go back out on the field eventually. If this sport analogy isn't working for you, try a different terminology. How about trimesters? So, giving you the benefit of the doubt, say we are all going to live to 90. Then you could be in your second trimester from age 30 through 60 and you'd never again have to deal with the term "young," "middle aged" or "old." Even what was formerly old age isn't all that scary when you call it your third trimester. Remember, we're smarter than our parents. We can, like, deal with this.