“The party’s over.”
Those words from my — how can I put this delicately? On the brink of elderly — doctor, apparently marked the end of my youth and the beginning of middle age.
It’s not a moment I was expecting. Like most people, my inner age is much different from my outer age. Time stood still for me at around 33. Old enough to have the chutzpah and means to do what I like. Young enough so that, if I screw up, there’s still time to fix it.
Either way, I wasn’t ready for my doctor’s harsh edict. Perhaps because middle age isn’t what it used to be. If 30 is the new 40 and 50 the new 60, how do you define middle age? Even the experts can’t agree.
Here’s one recent article from the venerable BBC that suggests it begins at 55.
That usurps research out just two years ago, stating that middle age begins at 35 and ends at 58.
Whatever the age, the number that got me into this mess was the one on the scale. My doctor’s proclamation came after he noticed that, for the second appointment in a row I’d gained, ahem, a few pounds.
“You need more exercise,” he said blithely.
Apparently, keeping up with an 8-year-old and generally running around like the proverbial chicken aren’t enough. Nor is a slowing metabolism (it happens when you reach a certain age, you know) much of an excuse.
His advice was to find something I’m passionate about.
And that doesn’t count a really well-made crème caramel.
Someone I recently saw for the first time since high school confided in me that she, too, had faced the middle-age bulge.
“I had a double roll of belly,” this incredibly svelte woman told me. She looked down at her smooth pecs. “Not a single sit-up,” she confided.
“How on Earth, then?” I asked breathlessly.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that she began to evangelize. Change up the resistance. Go uphill, then faster, then slower. “And you have to do weights,” she said, intense eyes shining brightly. Apparently if you do, you become a lean, mean calorie burning machine. She’s up at 5.30 to go to the gym “and I’m never tired anymore.”
She began to put me off. But perhaps she’s got a point. This New York Times article says she does.
So, is the party over? Oh no, no, no, doc. The party’s just begun.
But I might have to change the definition of party.