Tuesday, February 10, 2015

That Awkward In-Between Age

            I just “celebrated” another birthday. With this one came the problem of classifying myself according to age. Middle-aged didn’t really seem honest unless I’m planning to live to one-hundred-thirty. But “senior citizen” or “elderly”? That would be my mother. I gave it some thought and decided I’m a ‘tweener—someone between middle age and death. Here are some of my observations about this awkward in-between age. 

            Transportation: My latest car-buying expedition convinced me I’m too old to ever again consider a ground-hugging sports car. I’m over the “need for speed,” and zipping along at 85 mph with only a few inches between the asphalt and my ass no longer carries the thrill it once did. However, I’m not yet ready for an over-sized tricycle or a motorized wheelchair, either.   

'tweeners have to make lots
of choices: Fashion or comfort?

            Fashion:  A recovering shoe addict, I’m learning to manage my obsession of buying the latest styles, regardless of the pain they inflict. But as any addict will tell you, although the urge can be controlled, it never completely goes away. I’ll bypass rhinestone-embellished gladiator sandals for Clarks only if it’s cold or I’ll be doing a lot of walking. I haven’t succumbed to wearing jeans with elastic in the waist but don’t object to a little lot of stretch in the fabric. And those As-Seen-on-TV-waist-extender buttons? A great alternative to Spanx—especially on a hot day. (Right, Shel?)

 Appearance: I’ll admit it: I’m vain. Even at this age, I worry about my appearance. I buy the wrinkle creams and the teeth-whitening toothpaste, and, yes, have even given Botox and fillers a try. I’m fine with my hair being gray, but I’m not ready to crop it above my ears or perm it into wash-n-wear curls. As a ‘tweener, though, I see maintenance taking over my beauty routine. By the time I apply ointments, floss my teeth, take medications, and insert eye drops, my bedtime ritual has already run thirty minutes past my bedtime. Should a beauty routine interfere with beauty sleep? It’s a dilemma. 
Beauty or...

            Manners: I try hard not to harp on the shortcomings of younger generations. In many ways, I think they’re smarter than ‘tweeners were. I hope I haven’t reached the point where I consider it my God-given right to interrupt someone because I’ll forget what I was going to say if I wait for them to finish speaking. Or to pull into traffic at my leisure and expect others to look out for me. However, I have caught myself holding up the line a time or two while trying to decipher the coffee choices at Starbucks. 

Snack A or Snack B?
(A no-brainer. Snack A, of course!)
            Food: Sadly, I’ve come to the stage where eating certain foods just isn’t worth the consequences. Not only the consequence of weight gain but also of heartburn. A juicy hamburger for lunch followed by a greasy pizza for dinner are things of the past for me. I’m trying to teach myself a slice of cantaloupe is as good as a hot fudge sundae (like that’s ever gonna happen), but I haven’t yet reached the point of having a bowl of Raisin Bran for supper. 

            Exercise: My exercise regimen has downgraded from jogging and competitive tennis to a lovely Pilates class and power-lifting a wine glass to my lips while I soak in the hot tub. But I hope I have a few years before participating in chair calisthenics. I came across some exercises in a magazine that required jumping. I gave them a try and was pleased to find I can still get both feet off the ground at the same time, albeit not very high. However, I also discovered that landing hurts my knees, so I’m looking for something that will give me the same results and allow me to keep at least one foot on the ground. 

            Technology: I know a few computer basics and how to text-message. But keeping up with the latest technology grows more challenging every day. I don’t understand half the advertisements on TV about computers or phones or tablets. The other day a salesman at Best Buy showed me an iPad on which I could download 500,000 apps. I couldn’t bring myself to tell this young geek—and I use that term with all due respect—that by the time I downloaded 500,000 apps, I’d be wearing wings and circling that great cellular satellite in the sky.  

            s-e-x:  From time to time, I’ll read about which generation experienced the greatest changes in its lifespan. Some claim it was our grandparents who lived through the Industrial Revolution. Others say it was our parents who ushered in the Technology Revolution. I contend ‘tweeners have faced the greatest adjustments with the arrival of “the pill” and the Sexual Revolution. We went from spelling out the word sex...in whispers...in gender-segregated company...to marching in demonstrations calling for “free love.” And that was all within a range of about fifteen years. Now, yet another “pill” is insisting all the fun doesn’t have to end just because we’re getting on in years. We can massage our mates with exotic oils right after we rub in our arthritis cream.  

            Advantages: For all the adjustments ‘tweeners have to make, there are also advantages. For me, grandchildren would top the list. Acquiring patience is another. Until recently, I was an “annual” gardener. Spent a fortune on blooming beauties at the nursery only to bring them home and watch all the blossoms fall off a week later. Lately, I’m learning that good things—like daffodils and tulips and peonies and roses—come to those who wait. Other advantages? Realizing how quickly time flies and taking the time to live in and appreciate the moment; preferring the scent of fresh basil or honeysuckle over that of pricey perfumes; discovering the luxury of an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Another favorite—learning I don’t have to have all the answers in order to believe.

Grandkids--the best advantage of being a 'tweener!


  1. I'm with you on much of this and SHOULD be with you on others. Except the shoe thing. And the manners thing. I never thought of it as a "God-given right" to interrupt so that I wouldn't forget what important thing I wanted to say, I just thought of it as . . . necessary. So it's rude??

  2. I guess it's not always rude, Shel. With some people, it does become necessary if you want to get a word in edgewise. :-)


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