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Middle Age …

One of the hardest decisions I have to make at this point in my life is when to start middle age. When I do decide, old age will always be fifteen years older than I am, because I fear the adage that the four stages of man are infancy, childhood, adolescence and obsolescence.

I discovered a shocking thing just this morning. I am going bald. I do not feel comfort in knowing that God created only a few perfect heads and the rest he covered up with hair. I guess that there really are three stages of follicle recession; hairdo, hairdid and hairdone.

I shouldn’t worry about middle age; I’ll eventually outgrow it. Anyone can grow old if they live long enough. Being old is simply not having died yet; and old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. Growing older is simply a medical problem called “youth deficiency.” Someone once said that growing old is when you first start to forget names, then forget faces, then forget to pull your zipper up, and then forget to pull your zipper down.

Middle age is when your old classmates are growing so grey and wrinkled and bald that they don’t recognize you. A woman is past middle age when her husband doesn’t embarrass her anymore (or is that the husband is not able to embarrass his wife?). Middle age is when you stop criticizing the older generation and start criticizing the younger one. You are getting older when you try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks only to discover you're not wearing any.

Old is when you want to lie about your age to the point that it would make your children illegitimate. Childhood is the time of life when you make funny faces in the mirror, while middle age is the time of life when the mirror starts to get even. I might someday admit that I’m pushing middle age, but not until people think I’m pushing it from the other side. Youth is too tremendous to waste it on the young.

I have found out why grandparents and grandchildren get along so well; they have a common enemy. The first half of our lives is made difficult by our parents and the second half by our children. The young and old have all the answers, while those in between are stuck with the questions. Middle age is when you understand the curse; “May you have children just like yourself!” Most of the fun you might have during middle age is ruined by having to set a good example for your children. They say there are three signs of growing old – loss of memory and ... well, I forget the other two. I have always been taught to respect my elders, and someday I will reach the age when I won’t have to respect anybody. Some future day I will exclaim, “You young whippersnapper.” At least I’m not already so old that when I order a three-minute egg, they ask for the money up front. You are still young if the night before still makes the morning after worth it.

In all seriousness, I guess that age is a question of mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.