Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
I grew up watching Greg, Marsha, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy. Like the rest of the Brady Bunch generation, I now find myself at an awkward age: too old to be young and too young to be old. I guess you could say I'm stuck somewhere in the middle. The middle of what I'm not sure. It can't be middle age. Can it?
Jan Brady would be the first to tell us that the middle is not the most desirable place to be. She was sandwiched between ever-popular Marsha and cute-as-a-bug Cindy, leaving her in the awkward role of middle sister. Poor Jan.
I don't have to worry about being flanked by Marsha and Cindy. My concerns are much more expansive: I am surrounded by air. It's air that's getting heavier all the time as the gravity of gravity kicks in and my body responds accordingly. Sagging and slumping are doing their best to sneak into my everyday persona. The threats of the upper arm jiggles become more real with each passing year.
I'm hearing creaks and groans, and they're not coming from the furniture. When I bend over, someone in the room lets out a sigh. If I didn't know better, I'd swear the noise was coming from my mouth, but that can't be possible.
Even my skin is stuck in the middle. Around my eyes, I see the start of drooping and bagging worthy of a moisturizer, while other spots on my face show themselves in dire need of an acne solution. I've heard of combination skin, but I don't think this is what the creators of the term meant.
Sometimes growing older feels as awkward as when Peter Brady's voice changed on national TV, or when Marsha had that thing with her nose. Perhaps it's even as uncomfortable as Greg dating his mother (Florence Henderson) in real life, which they did, but only once. Thank goodness. Some awkward moments need no repeating.
Like the rest of us Brady-watchers, I've seen the world (and my waistline) evolve during my lifetime. I've witnessed new inventions like microwave ovens and curling irons. I used to think Twinkies and Wonder Bread were a food group. I remember when telephones were tethered to the wall and when you wanted to change the TV channel from The Partridge Family to Wonder Woman you had to get up off your chair to do so. The idea of a remote was, well, remote.
As was the idea of growing older. It still doesn't come easy, at least not for me. I'd rather be 30-something than an F-word. After you leave your thirties, you stare down the throat of being an F-word for a long time, at least a couple of decades, if you're lucky.
Because awkward or not, there's definitely one thing worse than being in this particular stage of life: the alternative. These are wise words straight from my dad. He's a smart guy who manages to make 80 look young. He gives good advice.
It's advice I should probably heed. I guess I'll pour some more water into my half-full glass and recognize the benefits of being in the middle. For instance, there's experience, insight and knowledge of awkward mistakes I don't want to repeat. And then, there's the obvious choice: Twinkies. Everyone knows the creamy middle is the best part. I think even Jan Brady would have to agree with me there.
Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. E-mail her at
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