My grandmother, who is twice my age, is always threatening to die. “Yep,” she tells me, in that matter-of-fact way that only wise old people can, “I’m about ready to take this show on the road.”
It amuses me when she says it, and saddens me. But it also stops me in my tracks because if her predictions are right, and my math is correct — then I’m officially middle-aged.
This is it. The notorious half-life point. The infamous midlife milestone that lands men in the bucket seats of exorbitantly priced sports cars and spins women into torrid affairs with beefcake boy-toy trainers, neither of which sound like torture exactly, but …
But over this?
Forgive me. I thought middle age would be different. With all the credit it’s given (or blame it’s bequeathed) for sending forty-somethings into existential marriage-busting, job-quitting, marathon-training tailspins, I just thought that becoming halfway-to-dead would be more dramatic. More disruptive. More electric.
I always assumed that balancing atop the very fulcrum of my own personal timeline would be all-consuming, wholly engrossing, 100 percent distracting. Maybe I secretly hoped it would.