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11 July 2008

Turning 43

If 45 is the middle age, then 43 is the dark age  TURNING A year older and being quiet about it is impossible within our high school batch, thanks to the very modern, very interactive, and very proactive Yahoo!Group Web site linking most of us around the globe. Expect a bang of birthday announcements immediately after someone posts a thoughtful "Happy Birthday Joey" message. Last month was monumental: the enterprising Leah Morris-dela Rosa collated the names of all June celebrants (“celebrators” in our batch lingo), and Richelle Joson-Ligot, the resident muse of poetry, song, and dance, decoded each one's name into witty birthday greetings (“Sana o-Kaye na o-Kaye Inductivo ang bertdey mo!&rdquo). Noise ensued.

In Yahoo!Groups, it doesn't really matter if the whole world makes noise about our age. Hey, we survived the age-defying adolescent years together, so what's the big bazooka about aging publicly? We all know how old we are. Besides, greeting each other is a big-heart gesture. Arim Fermin wrote, “the fact that people actually greet each other during birthdays over the e-group(s) . . . proves that the batch is a solid, friendly, and caring organization, with lots of good organisms.”

Personally, I don't mind noisy birthday celebrations. Dinner parties, SMS greetings, and singing Tagalog birthday songs in Ybanag delight me. And I don’t care if Anchie Casareo calls me “kuya” for being born a few months ahead of him. He looks younger, anyway. (He must still be using Eskinol Master for Men. I want to maim him right now.)

What gets my goat this year is that I'm much closer to being middle-aged than I've ever been before. According to Richie Rosales-Parr, middle age begins at 45—and that's two years away. I'm not sure if I'm ready to be called middle-aged, especially after living all these years of riotous singlehood. I wrote Chiqui Tolentino-Desphy this week:

Oh my, are we now middle-aged? Pero sige na nga, I'll accept the fact that I'm about to gray, my knees will shake and my lungs will scream when I climb the fourth floor of my flat building, my teeth will fall, and my buttocks will sag.

I'm not being vain. I'm moaning about health issues that come with aging, and I'm not sure I'm ready to cope with losing the agility of mind and body. I happened to be in bed surrounded by bosomy women the day I hit 43. A hospital bed, that is, trying to battle gastroenteritis with a squad of big (bosomy) Bengali nurses injecting my about-to-sag buttocks with antibiotics. Antibiotics on my birthday. What irony.

And take this: last Monday, the New York Times reported that a new research conducted by French scientists revealed that men in their forties may face serious fertility problems. It suggested that couples trying to conceive a baby when a man is over 40 years old have more difficulties than those families in which a man is younger. So much for the joys of bachelorhood. Down, boy.

Uh-uh, Four-Three, that witless figure, a number with no claim to fame beyond its resemblance to the Philippine president's height. It's a nuisance, an annoying figure that sounds like the equally annoying Punjabi money-lending scheme in the Philippines called Five-Six. And if 45 is the middle age, then 43 is the dark age.

Hmm. Say that again: I'm in the Dark Ages! ¡Qué horror! ¡Madre mia curdapia! ¡Dónde está cleofe cabel!

On that note, I look forward to the Middle Ages.

Related Stories: Turning 41 | Turning 42

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