In the last post I asked just when does midlife begin? But now I’m going to give you the surest clue. Huffington Post tried to outline 40 signs of middle age a few years ago, but even with a list of 40 things they missed the number 1 clue to middle-age.
Sure they did list a few good points – not knowing the current top 10 songs on the pop charts is a pretty good sign for example, but it’s not really foolproof. I know young classical or jazz musicians who wouldn’t know them either. ‘Groaning when you bend down’ perhaps? Hmmm… I tend to groan when I have to stand up again. So no, that’s not really it either. But it does have a similar origin.
You see it has to do with some of the natural decline in our body’s motor and cognitive functioning. Scientists believe most people reach peak functioning around age 30. After that there will be a slow decline in stamina, strength and sensory perception for example. There is a reason professional athletes start retiring in their 30’s after all, and why a 45 year old Jaromir Jagr in the NHL is such an anomaly.
Okay, so what is it? What’s this one true sign? Is it shortness of breath after exercising? Slower running rates? Nope. From my POV, it’s all about the glasses!
It’s in the 40’s and certainly the 50’s that everyone starts reaching for reading glasses. And for those who’ve already been wearing glasses, the dreaded “progressive lenses” (no-one wants bifocals with that visible line, right?).
A rather hilarious event drove home this point to me recently.
At a gathering of friends, a few of us decided to play Pictionary. But the game cards used such a small font that the game almost came to a halt, as only one person had brought their reading glasses. All of the 6 middle-aged folks in the game were affected. So we passed around the one pair of reading glasses with each person’s turn. We even had a progressive-lens wearing volunteer sit in as an impartial ‘reader’ for those gamers who were stumped. It was quite the scene!
So that’s it. That to me is the one true clue to midlife. When you’re starting to have trouble reading your book or the screen of your favourite device, you know you must be middle-aged! Cheers!