When I was twenty-one and fresh out of school, I viewed people in their late 40s and 50s as one step away from taking a permanent dirt nap. I’d heard my parents and their middle-aged friends complain about body aches, constant fatigue, and the best places to shop for life insurance—-and I smugly thought, “I’ll never be like that!” Fast forward thirty-five years, and here I am, checking for chin hairs, mysterious spots on my body, and popping anti-inflammatory pills like candy. At the last party I attended, the hot topic of conversation was the rising cost of groceries, gas, and, you guessed it—life insurance! Yes, I have become my mother. If you’re not sure you should be classified as a “midlifer,” here are the sure signs that you’re already there:
1. Your period ghosts you for two months, plays peek-a-boo the following month, then makes a grand entrance during your son’s high school graduation ceremony.
2. You’ve already scheduled your first mammogram and colonoscopy.
3. The background music at the dental office is the same stuff you jammed to in the 1980s.
4. You chafe easily when you sweat and need to coat your body in powder before leaving the house.
5. Your medicine cabinet looks like a CVS pharmacy stocked with pain relievers, antacids, sleep aids, fiber pills, and anti-inflammatory creams.
6. Most of your clothes are made with either stretchy fabric or elastic waistbands. You’ve also ditched the stilettos in favor of flat shoes with arch support.
7. You wake up at least twice a night to pee.
8. Weird spots, skin tags, and stray hairs start appearing on your face.
9. You own a pill organizer and a heating pad.
10. It takes you twice as long to grocery shop because you’re spending extra time reading labels to monitor your calorie and carbohydrate intake.
11. You gain 10 pounds after eating a handful of gummy bears.
12. You’re a sucker for every miracle cream advertised on the internet, and you only wear SPF 50 or above lotions.
13. EVERYTHING gives you heartburn or gas.
14. You wrench your back while clipping your toenails.
15. Your underwear drawer no longer contains sexy, skimpy lingerie. Instead, it’s filled with comfy granny panties, Spanx, and beige sports bras.
16. Bedtime is now 9:00 p.m., the same hour you and your friends used to hit the bar scene when you were in your twenties.
17. You actually drive the speed limit (or lower). You also get confused by GPS directions and turn the radio down to find your destination.
18. The biggest dilemma you’re currently facing is whether or not to color your gray hair.
19. You’re tired of squinting at road signs and menus, so you finally give in and buy a pair of glasses.
20. Hangovers last much longer and leave you bedridden for an entire day.
21. Your eyebrows have either disappeared or morphed into woolly caterpillars.
22. You frequently lose your car keys, readers, and cell phone. When you finally find them, they’re usually in odd places like the laundry hamper or the refrigerator.
If 10 or more of these statements apply to you, then it’s time to consider a life insurance policy!
Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of Who Stole My Spandex? Life In The Hot Flash Lane and the voice behind the midlife blog, Menopausal Mother. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Independent, U.S.A. Today/Reviewed, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, AARP, Woman’s Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, and many others. You can find her at http://www. marciakesterdoyle.com