What is old age?

by Irwin
(Lakeland, FL)

What is old age?

Here I am almost 73 years of age and to some individuals I am considered old. In today’s world I guess that means I am a “senior citizen”. But what does that mean?

Aging is something we all face and decide, hopefully gracefully, how to react to it. If I were say 50 or 60, these questions might, in today’s world, seem academic. But in my seventies, they are no longer academic.

When I was a teenager or perhaps even a bit younger, I thought that people in their fifties were old (I can still picture my grandmother and grandfather when we used to visit them on Sunday afternoons). They appeared to move slower and had either white hair or gray at best. However, today, at this stage of my life, a fifty-year-old seems relatively youthful. Especially so, since my oldest son has already reached 52 and the other son will be 49 later this year.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said:
“To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.”

Isn’t it funny how we tend to think that other people are the ones that grow older until one day we look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “When did I get so old?” It is only then that we finally realize that we ourselves have also aged.

Aging can be compared to various events that occur in life. For instance, isn’t the bearing of fruit from various trees and then eventually those same trees lose their leaves and appear much older, a form of aging?

I tend not to think about aging and instead think of all the things I am and can still do without any assistance from others. It is only when I realize that there are certain things that I either no longer care to do or no longer feel that I could do (without some type of assistance from others) that I truly recognize that – yes – I am, in fact, getting older.

Dependent upon one’s current age, there are various schools of thought as to what is considered old in today’s world. If one were to ask individuals aging from say 18 to 29 when a person becomes old, chances are the response would be at age 60. But looking at a different demographic group, let us say – those individuals looked upon as middle-aged, and the response would be that one does not become old until they reach age 70.

Taking it one step further, should you ask someone that has reached age 67 or even 70 - chances are that their response would be that the average person does not become old until they reach 74 or 75 (Hmmmm – looks like I am not old yet although there are days my body may tend to differ with my mind on that particular subject).

What follows are a few thoughts about aging by some people you may recognize:

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter..
Mark Twain

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
Henry Ford

First you are young; then you are middle-aged; then you are old; then you are wonderful.

And for my last quote which I purposely saved for last due to the way it is worded:

How does one keep from "growing old inside"? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.

How about you? How do you measure how old you are?

My own thought process relates to that age – old - adage, “age is merely a number”. You are as old as you say you are in your mind. If anyone would have told me years ago that I would be doing what I do now, day in and day out, I would have laughed at them. Lately we started going to a gym and so we hit the gym three days a week and line dance three days a week.

When not doing that we are usually on the street running errands or traveling either to see family or just to see this magnificent country of ours. While we do have our moments when we sit down to watch some TV and unwind, never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought I would be as active as we are in our mid-seventies.

What about you? How active are you during your retirement years?

Until next time!

Comments for What is old age?

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Silver lining
by: Yoga girl

If you stay positive you have a chance on a silver lining. Negativity creates tension and establishes a bad attitude. Focus not on a number (your age) but on how you are engaged in life. When focused on your intentions you are more likely to find a creative way to bring about a positive result. Everyday you can be a rock star!

My response to each of you
by: Irwin

Sean, Sharyn, James, and Anonymous:

Thank you all for your kind comments to my thoughts on aging. I feel certain after reading each of your comments that we all feel about the same way when it comes to aging.

As I said in my post - age is a number - it is how we deal with each day that matters not necessarily that we are 72, 75, or 80 years of age.

I am just happy to wake up each morning knowing that I have another day to do my best to be happy and bring a smile to someone's face.

Again, thank you all for reading my posts. Have a fantastic week.


by: Arthur C. Ford,Sr.,poet/editorAnonymous


Arthur C. Ford,Sr.,poet/editor

I think "what old age" is varies on quality of life
by: Sean Sullivan

Old Age is how you feel not how you look. I notice around me a lot being a young man of thirty that I have three sets of parents that are in there 60+. Some are slowing down having a hard time moving around asking me for help. Where others are kicking my butt in soccer and lifting weights.

Old Age is how people perceive you. I used to think 50 was old, but now that i'm 32, 50 is the new 30 lol. When I was a teenager we always laughed and said "oh they must be in their 30's" This is a great topic to discuss.

I think that people should know that its a state of mind and you are never at the old age if you don't feel like you are :)I would like to bring this to our site and maybe take a survey to get "older" peoples thoughts.

Check us out at www.eldercarereferralsamerica.com

just retiring
by: Anonymous

I have a few more weeks to work and have been just looking for a new place to live when i more to the town my daughter lives in.

a lot of the places we looked at seemed to be people who were selling to move on to rest home and i must admit it was depressing to see scooters, handrails on toilets and chairs in the bathtub. it is a retirement town i am moving to clearly but although they were lovely places i couldn't help thinking this is my future.

your comments came at an apt time....i am going to live my retirement and not think of getting older in the future

What is old age?
by: Anonymous

Yesterday was my 78th birthday. I am close to 80 - wow! Inside is the little girl; my personality I'm told, is outgoing and warm. I reach out to others and let them know I care.

My birthday was celebrated with my darling husband of seven years - wonderful restaurant, wonderful food, good conversation - stopped for ice cream to bring home. It doesn't get better than that - ha!

A birthday is a special time to reflect on your life - all of it - make the changes you can, and be ever so grateful for every day you are here.

So - it really is just a number, and it's anything you choose it to be.

I choose to live life the very best I can as long as I am here. Hope you all do the same.

Agree with U*
by: Sharyn~~~CANADA

Dear Irwin*

Yes, l read every word. U r so right. We must keep active, our body & our mind! People must keep active for as long as physically possible, if not they get into a rut.

l live in a seniors' complex and there are older people that live here, and most times l do not see them from 1 month to the next!

Myself l am female 65 and because l am so active, l feel younger & look (if l do say so myself) younger. To keep fit, l do the gardening around the building, pick up trash, and water the flowers l planted in the gardens around the building!

What a difference that makes to our community here. Some older people here say "wow" looks very nice, while other people say "why bother". The latter r depressing older folk that l tend to avoid cause l can't be bothered with those who are so down & out. l just go about, beautifying the grounds in this complex & appreciate the positive comments l receive.

l also drive 2 ladies to the store whenever, to buy groceries & look after 2 young girls after school 4 days a week (paid) Just finished up bowling for the winter, our team came in first place, and so l won some money there instead of a trophy, nice.

This morning, l am on my way downstairs to clean up an older tenants garden, it is Sunday & very quiet out there, a good x to do it AND l am picking up a few extra dollars in the process!!

U have a grt day Irwin & your wife too.

You are as old as you feel
by: James

I guess the feeling of old age depends on each individual and their physical and mental conditon.

Some people keep themselves healthy, both mentally and physically, through exercise and activities such as helping in the community, writing, reading etc.

Of course some people cannot change their situation. Perhaps they live alone and lack friends and relatives. That can be depressing and lead to inactivity, which leads to being older than you are. The same can be said if you have a dibilitating disease.

As for myself, some days I feel young and sometimes I feel old.

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