As I approach it, the exact day I enter middle age has become more salient. Reanna routinely refers to people in their late 30s as “middle aged” and I feel taken aback. Since I’ve been thinking about such things, I’ve thought of the 30s, at least, as just plain old “adult.”

I am 39, a couple of months from my 40th birthday. When do I hit middle age?

Ah, that’s what I thought. I turn middle-aged at the end of this September.

Funny, the same website gives five more years, just by adding a “d.”

  • Middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. Various attempts have been made to define this age, which is around the third quarter of the average life span of human beings.  – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_age

I first misread this one as “middle third,” somehow, which liked–very intuitive. For men in the US like myself, however, whose average lifespan is 75.6 years, it places middle age between 25 and 50 years old. That means I’ve been middle aged since 1996. And that Reanna, as a Canadian woman with an average lifespan of 82.9 years, has been middle-aged since six months after her 27th birthday.

As my friend Julian pointed out, though, it actually says the third quarter: For men in the US from about 37.8 until about 57.7. It’s less intuitive for me, but lines up better with what people seem to mean by middle age.

I like that one as well. It may be the most accurate. Or perhaps this one:

  • middle age – (1) when every person you meet is only a composite of other people whom you have met. (2) a time when you’ll do anything to feel better, except give up what’s hurting you. (3) later than you think and sooner than you expect. (4) when a narrow waist and a broad mind begin to change places. – www.theabsolute.net/minefield/tmdict.html
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