I turned 69 in December. I am a grandmother of three soon to be four grandkids. I am semi-retired but work as a camp host in the summers in the Superior National Forest. I was surprised to read that middle age is getting older. (More)
Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.
When I turned 40 my friends and family had a surprise party for me. It was also my son’s 10th birthday and my sister’s 35th. My son was trying to teach people with a fair amount of wine in their systems to ride his unicycle in the garage. He was giving them all the advice I had given to him when he learned. The metaphors for balance were lost on the drunks, most of whom spent the night. Others were gathered around the piano singing Christmas Carols. Someone suggested that I was now “on the back nine.” I remember saying that maybe I’d acknowledge that when I turned 45 but 40 seemed a bit early.
Right before my last birthday I read a headline to the effect that middle age ends at 68. Bummer. Pew Research has a breakdown by age groups of when old age begins.
When does it begin? Survey respondents ages 18 to 29 believe that the average person becomes old at age 60. Middle-aged respondents put the threshold closer to 70, and respondents ages 65 and above say that the average person does not become old until turning 74.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the age I am. I don’t want a do-over of any of my earlier years. I have gray hair. Sometimes I am surprised by the face I see in the mirror, but I recover quickly. I am relatively healthy. I do yoga and am still pretty flexible. I can’t read without my reading glasses but I have enough of them so it’s not usually a problem. I am more patient with my grandchildren than I remember being with my sons. Life is good. I jokingly say that if I need a walker, my lawnmower at the campground will work just fine.
I am also old enough to have campaigned in Wisconsin for Eugene McCarthy in 1968. I was an English and Philosophy major and the very idea of a poet for president captured my imagination. In 1972 George McGovern was the Democratic nominee and I canvassed for him too. Perhaps the country wasn’t ready to turn fully against the Vietnam war and McGovern lost in a landslide to Nixon.
I am not an historian by any means, just a maybe old, long time Democrat. I canvas and phone and train teams of volunteers. I spend time on state races for the house, senate and leadership team as well as national races. I am an activist. I am also a pragmatist. When I take political self-assessment quizzes I end up off in the corner with the Dali Lama. Now at the approach of the end of middle age (ha!) I want a Democratic President. Watching last night’s debate made me think that pragmatically speaking, the person most likely to beat the GOP is Hillary Clinton. If Bernie Sanders is the nominee, I’ll work for him. I just feel like the country is maybe ready for evoluionary progress and not a revolution. A revolution requires more than free range anger and vision. It requires a whole lot more committment than just voting and that seems like a stretch to me. But, as I mentioned earlier, I am closing in on old age.