When Does 'Middle-Age' Truly Begin?

I was reading an article on being middle-aged, along with the comments readers had left about the article.  Several people (women) commented that they were not middle-aged yet because they were only in their early 40s.  I always thought middle-age started right around that 40 year mark.  Don't you remember your parents getting a bunch of "over the hill" stuff for their 40th birthdays? 

Image: Charline Tetiyevsky via Flickr


Yes, I've heard 40 is the new 30, but if that holds true than isn't 30 the new 20?  Do we really want to prolong our 20s into our 30s, and our 30s into our 40s?  Personally, I wouldn't want to prolong either of those decades.  They were good years,  supposedly, but you couldn't pay me to go back and relive them. Reliving those years would mean - finding a husband, getting married (yes, that means planning another wedding), having babies, deciding if I should stay home or keep my career (I quit), raising those babies, then deciding what to do about my lack of a career (I started this blog) - all over again.  I'll pass.

Anyways, back to solving this mystery of the onset of middle-age.  To solve it I went to dictionary.com, because after all, who has the audacity to override the dictionary on the definition of anything?  Surprisingly, the definition of middle-age was listed as occurring around 45 - 65 years.  What, here I am writing a middle-age blog under false pretenses!  I'm a fraud.  I'm living a lie.

But alas, I decided to check the Merriam-Webster online dictionary for a second middle-age definition.  Don't get too excited, their definition listed middle-age to be occurring around 40 - 60 years.  What a bummer, for a second I thought I was still young.

Okay, and then I remembered one last thing.  Really don't get excited this time.  I was reading a health article a little while back in Newsweek.  They weren't talking about the new, cool, updated status of "middle-age" or anything like that.  They were just writing about the different health tests you need to get during different stages in your adult life.  Newsweek's age groupings went like this:  ages 20-34 had the young group's tests, the following age group was from 35-55 years, and then it went on from there.  I only bring this up to point out that  at age 35, tsk tsk tsk, you're going to start needing the middle-aged medical tests. 

So, I guess the lesson is, um...well, actually, there's no lesson.  I don't know what I've accomplished here.  If it's like all of my other posts than the answer is not much.  I guess I could say age is just a number, or you're as young as you feel, or youth is as youth does (I don't know what that means), fill in your own cliche here...

I'm truly looking for something profound and poignant to write.  The thought that if you were looking for something profound and poignant, you wouldn't be reading my blog, has crossed my mind.  If I'm going to rely on a lame cliche I guess I will have to end with this one - age happens, much like s--- happens.


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