Middle Aged, Middle East

I think I've suddenly become middle-aged. Despite the fact that I'm only 28. I'm what you might call "middle-aged by association." My dilemma is that my family demographics put me squarely in line with people 5-15 years older than me. Because I have 2.9 kids, all my friends are between 32 and 45 because people that age tend to have kids the same age as mine. So we hang out. And I started looking around me lately, and I thought "I'm totally middle-aged. I hang with middle-aged people."

What's more, I do middle-aged things. My idea of an "evening out" is parking on a couch in someone's living room and chatting. And it's not like we talk about youthful things like Fall Out Boy or Hillary Duff or who was prom king last year. We talk about middle-aged things like budgeting and fuel-efficient cars and good binky brands. We make jokes about gaining weight and killing the grass in our front yards by using too much fertilizer.

"Getting ready for bed" no longer means brushing my teeth and saying my prayers. Now that I'm middle-aged, "getting ready for bed" starts 2-3 hours before I actually go to bed. It means stuffing some sort of sustenance down my 2 year-old's throat so he won't wake up hungry at 3:00 a.m., bargaining with my 4 year-old over who gets to squeeze the toothpaste, reading scriptures, explaining to the 4 year-old what happens if we let go of the iron rod (we die a slow, painful death), saying prayers while the 2 year-old climbs on our backs shouting "Neigh! Neigh!", singing a song or two to calm things down, and then hoping the little ones fall asleep without hearing scary noises from under the bed. And to add to my middle-aged-ness, it no longer matters that it's cool to stay up until midnight. Though I know it's painfully square, I desperately try to be asleep by 9:30. I'm totally middle-aged.

As if that's not enough proof that I'm middle-aged, I now take pictures like this and think to myself, "Aw, how cute." Only middle-aged guys do that. 20-something guys think, "Dude, why's that kid snorting a flower? Give the poor guy some rubber cement!" But I say "No!" to rubber cement and "No!" to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart! And that's why I'm middle-aged.