Is it just me, or is anyone else tired of being told middle age is the end of the road? I saw a review for a new book by Laura Fraser, All Over the Map, which was described thusly:
Laura Fraser, bestselling author of The Italian Affair, buys readers the plane tickets and takes them in search of adventure and romance as she wonders whether it’s possible, in midlife, to have it all.
Does this imply that by midlife, we should admit defeat, curl up our toes and die? I can’t tell you how many books I’ve seen that seem to take this same stance, but then try to be uplifting with the seemingly shocking message that maybe there still IS something to live for past the age of 30!!! It’s like they’re saying, “Who do you think you are, trying to have a life at this age? Get real, it’s over.”
Why don’t they just come out and say it, that if you haven’t seen and done it all by age 30, you might as well give up, it’s never going to happen, and you can just sit back and watch the grass grow and wait to die, because DAY-UM, you’re over 40, you missed it. You missed your chance. You should have done something BIG before now.
I don’t need entire books philosophizing about why you should or shouldn’t dye your hair to hide the gray (seriously, there’s a book called “Going Gray” by Anne Kreamer. I am not making this up. Non-fiction).
I don’t need books telling me why I should be doing strength training (Strong Women Stay Young, by Miriam Nelson and Sarah Wernick). I’ve been working out for years. Did these authors somehow miss the rise of health clubs in the 80s?
A quick stroll through any bookstore will probably lead you to more titles about reinventing yourself after 40 than Oprah could cover in a year.
They all seem to be saying, “Hey, ok, the Grim Reaper is stalking you but good news! There’s still breath in your body, we won’t call the undertaker just yet.”
Honestly, since when did 40s = dead? So that must mean by the time you hit 50 you’re already decomposing. Why is it such a revelation that someone in their 40s would still be interested in travel, or romance, or learning, or anything else?
I’m not quite dead yet.