On the Eve of 44

Time keeps on tickingIt’s Birthday Eve for me. Tomorrow I’ll wake up the big double-four. And how do I feel about that, you may ask?

Honestly? I. Don’t. Know.

Is it just me, or is 44 kind of the no-man’s-land of ages? Caught in between youngish and oldish, 44 just kind of stands there with a blank stare before offering up a shrug and an apathetic “Eh.”

I mean, I really can no longer pretend to be young. And to be perfectly honest, this kind of stings because there are still many days when I feel like a fraud — like I’m just pretending to be an adult and at any moment someone is going to recognize that I’m just a kid wearing eyeliner and mom jeans.

So even though I may still feel young, in all reality I am not. Heck, according to actuaries I’ve already cruised past the halfway mark of my life expectancy. But here’s the thing: I’m not really old, either.

And therein lies the rub. (And that right there didn’t make me sound old at all.)

Poor 44 seems to be caught in a custody battle between young and old. And in the meantime, 44 is just kind of there.

I’m too old to find it fun to pass around the Jello shots, too young to find it fun to pass around the blood pressure cuff. Too old to have kids (I think), too young to have grandkids (I hope). Too old to get ID’d buying a six-pack of beer at Git ‘n Go, too young to get the $3 senior discount at the movie theater.

At 44, I can no longer in good faith claim to be “just over 40.” But I’m not yet close enough to the next decade that it feels good to boast, “I’ve still got a couple good years ’til 50, by golly!”

If 44 were ice cream, it would, of course, be vanilla. But not even the good vanilla with the little black specks of real vanilla beans — the Super Savers No-Name Best Value brand that’s more yellow than white and tastes like disappointment.

Eh. 44. Whatever.

Maybe this is a license to just do as I darn well please. You think I’m dressing too young? You think I’m acting too old? Geez, I’m 44, what do you expect?

I do believe I’ve officially reached the awkward stage of middle age. But instead of that gangly pre-teen in braces and an “I’d rather b texting!!” T-shirt, I’m that 40-something wearing skinny jeans while I get my grays colored.

So, ready or not, here I come. Bring it on, 44.

I guess we’re stuck with each other.

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