Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Middle Age

A few years ago, when I was studying for my bachelor's degree in Psychology, my Adulthood and Aging class defined Middle Age as that time during adulthood when your children are all adults and your parents are still living. You are, essentially, the middle generation of adults in your family.

This past Christmas (a week and a half ago), I officially became middle-aged because my youngest turned 18.

I'm still trying to adjust to the idea--not because I'm afraid of feeling "Old." Heck, by definition you can't be old if you just turned middle-aged. It's because for so long, I've tried to figure out what I want to be when my kids grow up, and now they are, so now what do I do? "Punt" isn't the most practical advice.

In my career, I'm a dinosaur (mainframe computer programmer). I've done it for 27 years, and it's served me well. I speak COBOL, but almost nobody else does. They don't even teach it in computer school anymore (and if you're in computer school and they're teaching COBOL, flee! There are no COBOL jobs). But I've had enough of it. Been there, done that too much, don't want to do it one minute more than I have to (I still have to, though. My daughter may be 18, but she's not done with high school yet).

For a while, I toyed with the idea of buying a bed & breakfast and letting it support me. I found a website that lists inns and B&Bs for sale, and quite a few looked affordable and lucrative all at the same time. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this is not the life for me. When you own a B&B, you're married to it. But I have got to travel. Plus, I hate to clean and I'm not that crazy about cooking when I have to. I was born without the hospitality gene.

Then I found an online class on how to be a tour director, which is perfect. No cooking, no cleaning. I'd get to talk to people and tell them interesting (and sometimes disgustingly fascinating) things about the places we go, while making sure we get there on time. Now that the holidays are over, I've got to try to find some local work on weekends (can't quit the day job yet) and see if I can get started on the new career.

It's good to think about what I want to be when my kids grow up, because then I don't have to grow up, myself. I think I'm going to like this Middle Age thing just fine.

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