I don’t know if 50 or 60 is the new “middle-age” but I do know that being over 30 means that I can’t recover as fast from strenuous physical activity as I used to be when I was younger. Case in point, I’m still sore and achy from savate *a week ago*, on top of the sore and achiness I racked up in class yesterday morning.
All of the women’s health info really start at age 30 — maintaining bone mass to prevent osteoporosis, increased infertility problems, increased risk for cancer, all of that — not to mention muscle-wasting and increased fat-deposits if I don’t push my body to increase muscle mass. Let’s not even talk about those lines around the mouth, eyes, and forehead that used to go away once I stopped making faces when I was younger but now seem to stick around.
It reminds me of what my colleague, Ron, My Favorite Vegetarian, used to say to me: “Inside, I’m still that 23-year old guy, but then I look in the mirror and say, ‘Who’s this old man?'” (Ron, BTW, is in his 50s.)
I’m a kid of the 1980s — grew up on the original Star Wars, under Reaganomics, drank Tang, watched _Three’s Company_, _Fantasy Island_, and _Max Headroom_, dubbed VHS tapes of John Huston movies like _Sixteen Candles_ and _The Breakfast Club_, rocked to Duran Duran and Def Leppard, wore parachute pants and jams and leg warmers, had feathered hair, and said, “cool,” “sweet,” and “awesome,” instead of “wacked,” “tight,” or whatever pop culture nowadays put into the mouths of my students.
There’s a Bowling for Soup song called “1985” which makes me laugh and laugh and laugh because I get *all* the 80s references in the lyrics. It’s hard to believe that 1985 was nineteen years ago and that my eighteen-year old students were born in *1986* — the year I was a freshman in high school, discovered Douglas Adams, and bought Journey’s last album (on tape cassette, no less) because 1986 was the year that they broke up, that if I had had a kid in college or shortly out of college, then they’d be in middle school by now.
I’m glad — pleased as punch — that medical technology has human lifespans extending and marching to that century mark so that the mid-30s isn’t really middle-age these days; but it’s still weird to see so much time has passed and to feel, inside, that I’m still that kid, drinking Tang, oohing and aahing over _Tron_, seeing on TV East German soldiers, standing on top of the graffiti-d Berlin Wall and in deep shadow before the spotlights, and seeing just how much a sissy George Michael of Wham actually was.