When did I become “that guy?” You know, the curmudgeonly old dude grumping at just about anyone, about nearly anything. Did I suddenly wake up and decide I was old? I mean there are days when I look in the mirror and wonder who that gray-haired old man is staring back at me.
Wondering about where I really am in life, I recently looked up, “middle-aged.” According to Dictionary.com, the term “middle-aged” refers to a person aged 45-65. What? How can 65 still be considered “middle-aged?” Are there a tremendous number of people living to be 130? Weird.
According to one study reported by The Huffington Post a few years back, middle age starts at 35 and “old age” at 58. And here I thought you were “old” when AARP fliers started hitting your mailbox. I don’t feel old, but I’ve often wondered how I would be able to tell.
Although the body is relentless about informing you about the mileage it has on it. Personality wise, though, I’ve always been kind of “old” if you want to think of it that way.
In college, I was fairly set in my ways already. For example, my bedroom or dorm room was always clean and neat. My schoolbooks were organized and each subject had a specific notebook. I was fussy about other things too, most of which I can’t recall now — probably also due to age.
I preferred dinner and a movie or just staying home on a Friday night over “partying,” not being a drinker helped that too. I just liked things how I liked them. But I even had friends who referred to me, at the ripe old age of 19, as “the world’s youngest stuffy old fart.” Which means, mentally, I probably hit middle age about 24. Wow, since I’m about to knock at the door to 50, I wonder what that makes me, just plain old?
I’ve discovered, however, that there are some pretty consistent signs you’re getting there or passed the middle-aged line. First, remember when you heard the sounds of “snap, crackle and pop,” in the morning it was associated with breakfast cereal? Now you hear it coming from your aching joints as you lumber up out of bed.
Patience becomes as elusive as a state of mind as it is a virtue and you want things the way you want them — now. I know this sounds like it would be more associated with a theme of adolescence, but I’ve found those of us in the middle-aged category can be pretty impatient, particularly when trying to get the younger people around us to live up to an obligation. Why can’t they just do what I tell them to do when I tell them to do it? Hey kid, get off my lawn!
Next, everything you look at is harder to read. From the texts on your smart phone to the print on the latest electric bill, no matter how long your arms are, the words are blurry.
Well, here’s something that might make you feel better on this one. In the last several years there has been a move in the design industry to smaller and less-flamboyant fonts on documents, ads, and the like. They’re harder to see, at least partly, because they are smaller. Smaller print is just your bad eyesight — and old age.
Finally, I’ve become the person I associated with the adults around me in my youth. I harrumph when I sit down, I say, “huh,” more often, I have no idea what kids are saying anymore, and I have to stop myself from taking the “faster way” to get somewhere because it always involves a miles-out-of-the-way jaunt through the back country. And there are many other middle-aged signals.
For now, though I need to sign off, I need a nap and someone’s cutting across my grass. “Hey kid, get off my lawn!”
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer in Greene County. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communication, Ltd. More at www.deerinheadlines.com