Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mid Life Crisis


Many of us baby boomers are having a midlife crisis. The crisis is not that we have reached midlife, but that we are leaving it. Middle aged is such a useful adjective, but when it no longer fits we don't have another good descriptor.
We are on the doorstep of Medicare and still think of ourselves as middle age – hmm, that fits if we plan to live to 130. So a new label would be a good thing.  Sometimes we hear a news story describing a person in the story as "elderly," and then we hear that they are near our age. Yikes!  
There is the term, "senior citizen", but we baby boomers tend to think we’re a little too cool for that (and too young). If we’re not middle aged are we late aged? Sounds a little foreboding. So who are we?
That middle-aged label was so convenient, so broad, and so nonspecific. I used it for years to describe myself.  When I was a school psychologist my favorite Halloween costume for school days was “middle aged, middle class, matron,” i.e. myself. That seemed better than scaring my little clients with a green monster face or a goofy cartoon character, but now I can't use that anymore.  I can’t be that anymore.
So who am I now, if not middle aged, three quarter aged? Clumsy, too specific.  I like baby boomer. The best part is that it has a kind of powerful quality to it, as if we are the ones booming. With so many in our demographic corner that too conveys a sense of power. 
I'm not sure if another good label exists or if it’s even necessary, but I'm sure that I need to quit thinking of myself as middle aged. I'll keep looking and until I find something better, I guess I'm a baby boomer.

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