Middle age — a poem

Middle aged person shaking a towel on a beach

The new middle age for the lucky ones: travelling, active, and pretty darned healthy

Middle age” became a thing
when I was middle aged
a snorty phrase
as if that dazzling time of life
is nothing, not even a noun
but a joining-word
a tottery bridge between youth
and the ghoulish land of old.
By now I should be getting meals on wheels
but something strange has happened
the middle ages stretch and stretch
the line of demarcation
has become a DMZ
wider ever wider the buffer zone expands
of age without labels, age without clues.
I’m old by the old arithmetic
but not by the new biology.
I planned to write a simple bio
(as in you live and then you die-oh)
but hey I’m still alive
and my bio is inflating
it’s a trilogy—tetralogy—pentalogy
and I wonder if this miracle of life
will ever end.

MP3 recording of the poem

Poem, audio and photo by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0. Please share freely, with a link to this page.

20 thoughts on “Middle age — a poem

  1. Brilliant! Love it.

  2. Long live the glorious middle.

    1. Well said!

  3. I so agree with you. I don’t think I have ever been happier than since retirement. The opportunities are endless.

    1. Lap it up!

  4. Lifetime Chicago says:

    I love this.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    At my recent doctor’s visit, she told me that they now don’t call it old age until 85! That makes for a very big middle. Kind of like my middle come to think of it.

    1. Yes, that makes sense to me.

  6. Robyn Haynes says:

    When did chronological age get to have such a big say anyway? We are as diverse in our expressions of age no matter what number of years.

    1. Indeedl

  7. cedar51 says:

    Well, according to the comment above, I’ve a long way to go until I’m classified as “old” – but I also have a bit of problem in that my elder sister is now in her 90s and even though I reached OAP age and have the gold card, I’m still in my 60s – as far as she is concerned I’m not entitled to even say “old” rather once she declared was an “junior old” and maybe an “apprentice”…
    My other problem is my health, it’s definitely not on the “wellness spectrum” but with self management I usually keep a semi-norm – although I’m now languishing in “winter of discontent” (I’m in New Zealand) and recovering yet again…meds on +-side not normal side…

  8. Well, some people are touchy about their age and maybe that’s your sister’s problem. Be kind to yourself!

    1. cedar51 says:

      yes, I’m being kind to myself – this week I need to get back to my “norm” as next week, I’m off on a personal retreat for some R&R @ http://www.vaughanpark.org.nz/ – all meals provided, no housework or even dishes (just put them in the right container on the trolley); beach a hop/skip/jump away with a nice reserve attached, I can’t eat a certain food item which means morn/after tea always a special treat made…as well as many desserts. Friendly staff…always smiling, short chats as they deal with their daily work…

  9. Fabulous post

    1. Thanks, I’m glad!

  10. Your poems are really awesome. Loved the one on teens and now this. Reminds me of a quote I had read once and it stuck around, “ Youth looks forward, old age backwards, middle age just tired.” Have a great day!

    1. Thank you, I am thrilled you like the poems. There will be many more, I think. I like the quote!

  11. I love these lines. Great work. “a tottery bridge between youth
    and the ghoulish land of old.”

    1. There it is. Or isn’t.

  12. Cheers to the middle age gang