I became interested in writing about age as a “non-traditional” graduate student in my early forties. Not just self-conscious about being older than my classmates, I also couldn’t help but notice that sometimes I was older even than the professor. As we discussed race, class, and gender as key aspects of identity, I began thinking about age. My fellow grad students were finding life partners and wondering whether to have babies, but I was parenting teenagers and dating after the end of a twenty-year marriage. My life stage seemed just as important as my middle-class, white femaleness. I became fascinated with the ways midlife was portrayed—and overlooked—in the texts we were reading. I began researching this topic and found midlife anxiety in a wide variety of nineteenth-century publications: conduct books, medical texts, and advertisements, but especially in novels.