Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When I Cough ...

There are stages of life that no one prepares you for. If you're a teenager, there are books about driving, self-esteem, dating, not dating, blah blah blah. If you're a new mom, there are probably ten trillion (maybe a slight exaggeration) books dedicated to caring for a newborn -- how to get a baby to sleep, how to get a baby to eat, how to toilet train, how to parent multiple children, etc. Think of something in this area and I'm willing to bet there will be a book about it. There's books on marriage, books on finance, books on death and dying, books on educating yourself and your children. But why, oh why, are there not books on this huge, broad area of middle-age?

Let me answer my own question. The first and most obvious answer is because everyone who IS middle-aged is in denial and thinks they're not quite there yet. If someone admits to it, he is most definitely middle-aged and is really probably closer to senior citizen status. Another answer is because no one really cares about middle-age (except for the person who's stuck in it, confused and dazed!). It's really not a subject that people particularly want to read up on and discuss. But I think the REAL answer is because it's always been a conspiracy. The older generation had such a hard time dealing with it that they thought it would be funny for the following generation to be blindsided by everything, so middle-aged issues were kept hush-hush.

Seriously, what woman wants to read a book about chin hairs, hot flashes, broadening waists and hips, and blurry eyes. Society tells us to cover up age spots, shoot up wrinkles with Botox, dye our gray hair, and buy head-to-toe Spandex to wear under our clothes. Let's get down to the honest truth here. Which book would be more apt to be on a best-seller's list: My Hot Romantic Encounters or When I Cough, I Pee?

I've thought about writing a book for people who are entering middle-age. It would be required reading for everyone after the age of 35, because like it or not, middle-age is pounding on the door at that age. We would NOT discuss people like Michelle Pfeiffer, Demi Moore, or Sharon Stone. Why? Because they're either airbrushed in their magazines, have had multiple plastic surgeries that the rest of us middle-agers can only dream about, or they're just too naturally pretty to be counted anyway. We would certainly NOT discuss middle-aged rockers like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler for the simple reason that they're in their 60's but still dress and act like their 20-year-old versions, and they're so far in denial of middle-age that they don't count either. No, we'd focus on the REAL middle-aged people. People like me. The ones who think they still have blond in their hair (until their hairdresser informs them that the blond is actually gray, or a "mature blond" as it is more correctly called) ... the ones who try to read the newspaper and wonder when they started using such a small font ... the ones who look down at their hands and think, "When did I get my grandma's hands?"

Of course, there aren't any answers for middle-age. It just happens while you're living your life. One day you're changing diapers and wiping noses ... and the next day you're checking out costs of colonoscopies and complaining because commercials are way too loud on TV. You go from dancing at clubs to falling asleep on the couch after Dancing With the Stars is over. The top thing to realize though is that you're no longer cool. In fact, you're so far from cool, you're hot ... but not hot in the good way that kids talk about. You're so hot that you're pretty much fizzled out.

And you need a book, dang it! I need a book! I say we pool our wisdom and resources, put down all of our collected observances about middle-age, and prepare the next generation of suckers youngsters who think this aging process will never happen to them (just like we thought it would never happen to us). We have knowledge that MUST be passed on to those who are coming after us, and it would sure be nice of us to let them know what they're in for. We've already got the title (When I Cough, I Pee) so we're part-way there...


  1. This made me laugh!! I will buy it!!

  2. Already waking up in the night with wet hair and a pillow 2 degrees short of bursting into flames! Start writing, girl...I may need this book soon!

  3. Ahhh but we look younger than our parents and grandparents did at this age.... that in itself is a triumph!! Oui?