Rochel Burstyn axe-throwing

Burstyn embraces being officially middle-aged by throwing axes on her birthday.

Featured photo by Franci Feld

A few months ago, I stumbled across My Middle-Aged Baby Book: A Record of Milestones, Millstones & Gallstones by Mary-Lou Weisman. I flipped through the book, which was wisely printed on anti-glare paper and in a large easy-to-read font.

It starts off like any old baby book with a place to list vital statistics — “a page to write down all the things you’ll soon forget” — like phone number and cholesterol count. There’s a section to mark down all your middle-aged milestones like when hair first started growing in your ears, when you first started wearing elastic waisted pants and when you saw your first liver spot.

I was chuckling away at the Nursery Rhymes (“one, two, can’t reach my shoe, three, four, can’t get off the floor …”) and thinking how I was definitely going to buy this for my parents, when I made a horrifying discovery: Right there on the front cover, the book said, “For ages 40 and up.”

And guess who just turned 40? OMG … I’m officially middle-aged.

(To be honest, I had suspected as much. I was slowly noticing that I had more grown up concerns. Instead of the words “zit outbreak” or “bad hair day” striking fear in my soul and causing tremor in my knees, now it’s significantly more adult sentences like “we’re getting water in the basement again” or “your insurance won’t cover that.”)

After that rather jolting experience, I had to make sure to celebrate my birthday with style. I wanted to try something hip and exciting, something young and fun, something I’d never done before … you know, so long as I’d be home and tucked into bed with my warm socks and ear plugs by 10 p.m.

Eventually I settled on the rather exotic-sounding axe throwing, a newish Canadian sport (hence the superfluous e) that’s not as dangerous as it sounds, even if it is commonly mixed with drinking.

For anyone who doesn’t live on the edge like me and my exciting friends (aka a few moms who jumped at the opportunity to get out of the house at bedtime), allow me to tell you about axe throwing:

Axe throwers are in a cage; no one’s standing directly behind them. This precaution is for people who throw axes like my mother bowls — backwards. Many years ago, my mother once famously reared her hand back and let go a few seconds too soon … and ended up bowling all her teammates right out of their seats behind her.

Axe throwing is harder than it sounds. It’s supposed to be a cross between darts, bowling and batting practice — but if your aim is anything like mine, it’s more like being a tennis or golf caddy and constantly picking balls up off the ground.

Even though there’s no place in the Middle-Aged Baby Book to mark down “first time I threw an axe,” there should be! Or at least a section on “things I’ve tried that are outside my comfort zone.”

I also couldn’t help but wonder: throwing an axe for kicks? What’s next? Maybe it’ll be something even wonkier, like paying a fortune for the privilege of being locked in a room and having to figure out how to escape. No, wait, that already exists, too.

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