It must be because my birthday's coming up soon. I've been prompted to think about age a lot lately.
Being older doesn't bother me. In fact, I usually don't think about it at all. When I do, I can't quite believe I've accumulated as many years as I have. Maybe turning 60 will really rock me. That is one gigantic number, indeed.
However, I still have a few more years of being "middle aged" (ha!) before I'm forced to admit that I'm not middle aged anymore unless I'm going to live to be 120.
More importantly, I'm still physically capable of doing the things I want to do. My outdoor pursuits aren't extreme by any means (no pinnacles for me, thank you very much), but I'm able to have those adventures without any pain. I tire more quickly, and my knees sometimes make funny noises, but generally speaking, I'm still able. I'm never the fastest, but I always finish.
The other day at the pool we chatted with a couple who was full of stories about the past: where they used to live, the vacations they've taken, and the places they used to go boating and fishing. Those stories perked us up a bit, because we are always on the lookout for new friends who might want to do outdoors stuff with us. But no, it turned out that they don't do any of those things anymore -- it's all in the past.
How sad for them. And in the not-so-distant future, how sad for me, too. I don't look forward to the days when I can't go on a snorkeling or hiking vacation, or drop my kayak in the water without worrying about keeping up over an 8-mile paddle.
On the other end of the spectrum, we sat near some recent college graduates at the ballgame the other night and overheard them bemoaning the fact that they didn't have any focus anymore. Their job searches weren't going well and, as one of them put it, they knew they had passion and skills, but they didn't have anything to be passionate about anymore.
It doesn't seem so long ago that I shared that feeling, after a final year of college spent joking with my closest friends about the perils of the real world we'd be entering soon. We had no idea what was ahead of us, but we knew that our world was still expanding with possibilities.
Those two conversations leave me bookended between the past and the future. Maybe I am middle aged, after all.