Average American life expectancy is about 82, which qualifies me as midlife. But this isn’t the middle age I dreaded as a young ‘un. I still like pretty, body-conscious clothing. At home, I’m most productive with lively music. I walk a lot.
I have many more work years ahead of me, in a world that would rather hire younger people for less money. (And how is it ok to pay them less when they, too, have bills?) There is no giving up. For many, retirement isn’t even an option.
The spring of childhood and the hot summers of younger adulthood grow distant in my rear view mirror as I roar forward, blasting Springsteen for momentum. Can’t slow down and I don’t want to anyway.
Fall is appropriate, since that is what we have to avoid. Bones get brittle and cartilage diminishes. We must be mindful of physical changes while at the same time, not allowing them to stop us from savoring life.
A benefit of being older is that I can minimize contact with the mean people from my past. I have to see them at sporadic family functions but with so many others in attendance, it’s easy to ignore them and fun to be obvious about it. I need nothing from them.
Previous generations showed respect to elders based solely on age. It’s unfortunate that we have to earn it forever. At the same time, though, it’s rewarding. I want to wear my age proudly; I’ll never look thirty again anyway. I do believe that many of my peers have redefined midlife: hardworking, active, eager to live it up as long as they can.
There is beauty in the changing leaves. We are the Autumnals.