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When Does Middle Age Begin?

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Fear of Middle Age


brady bunch kids middle aged

The Brady Bunch Kids are getting older

Last year I took a poll to see when folks thought middle age begins: 30, 35, 40, 45, or 50.  There were over 130 votes and with about 38% of the vote, they voted overwhelmingly for age 40 as the start of middle age.  Shockingly, every other age group had less than half as many votes.  (See the results here)

This was a tiny blow to me since my 40th year is sneaking up sooner than I’d like and according to the non-scientific sample I took, I’d be joining that middle aged bracket on my 40th birthday (sometime in the near distant future).  In my article Middle Aged?  Already?  I tried to create a strong, though subtle, argument for why 45 might be a better starting point for the middles, but ya’ll were having none of it.  I even listed official definitions and medical opinions, junk like that, but no.  Human perception is king.

Sure, I had 2 different people tell me in the last month they thought I was under 30 (totally unsolicited from people who are bad guessers) which is awesome, and yes, I have that great story about the dude a few years back who accused my younger brother of being my dad.  These are fantastic bits of ego-stroking (which I just thought I’d mention publicly), but at the end of the day, once I hit 40, that’s it.  I’ll be middle aged (according to a small sampling of humans), and slipping further behind.  It doesn’t matter how young I look or how immature I act.  My window for having a hip indie band is closing.  And other stuff.  (Kids, spouse, bucket list, etc.)  It’s becoming one of those ‘can’t put off much longer’ things.  Anyway, last month I found a new batch of grey hair, so inevitability is making itself heard.

I’m sure being middle aged won’t really be that horrible, at least at 1st.  It’s not a physical switch that suddenly turns you into the older versions of your parents all at once.  Some of the given age ranges for middle age & old age are bizarre (30-50 for middle age would mean 50 starts old age).  I’ll have 20-25 years of the middles before I move into old age.  Who knows, by then the categories might have all been extended.  And if people start living to 150 or better, that might slide me back to pre-middle aged.  That would be awesome.  Unsustainable, Social Security-wise, but awesome.  Also, unlikely. db

What does this mean for you?  Are you freaking out yet?

the secret phrase is ‘non-scientific sampling’


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One Response to “Fear of Middle Age”

  • Janelle:

    Celebrate by doing something you have always wanted to do. One of my patients celebrated his 40th Bday by sky diving. Not sure I would do that one, however its a great place to start!