Mark Twain

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Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

O - Old

O is for Old

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

Or specifically - How old is old!

I know I planned to base my posts on personal experience - but really - this particular post would be pretty darn short if I didn't do some research.  It might look like this.

How Old Is Old?

Oh, maybe 95!

The End!

I know.

If you are 25, my current age of 72 is old, but from where I stand, it is not old!  And you can get back to me when you are 72, and tell me what you think is old then!

I managed to find a free ebook on line called 40 Issues for an Aging Society - a Guide for Students, by J. James Cotter, PHD.  It is a very readable quick work - 90 pages printed out (yes, I printed it out) and it covers a broad range of issues (a "starting point") on aging for students (so, inquiring minds do want to know.)  The book is grounded in research with many many references for further reading on each topic.  In his introduction he makes this statement:

"The Aging Tide is coming in.  We have a new frontier of age and aging.  In 1900 about 1 in every 20 persons was old.  By 2030, it will be 1 in 5.  The fastest growing population group is those over age 85."

Wow!  He is talking about me and my generation (crap!!). Those numbers were staggering to me.   In 2030 I will be 83 - approaching that 85 mark.  Being born in 1947, I am at the beginning of this baby-boomer generation that is flooding in behind me.

The third section of his book is called:

How old is old anyway?  The changing View of Age.

It begins with a quiz.

How do you know when you're old?
    A - It's the number of years since the date on your birth certificate
    B - It's how much more effort if takes to walk up that long hill.
    C - It's when society tells you you're old.
    D - All of the above.

His answer?  D - All of the above is the answer.    Hmm....

Dr. Cotter quotes the work of Ken Dychtwald in Age Power.  Mr. Dychtwald suggests a change in the way we look at older ages.  He suggest these categories:

      Middlescence - 40 to 60 years of age

      Late Adulthood - 60 to 80 years of age

      Old Age - 80 to 100 years of age

Ok!  I am liking Mr. Dychtwald's ideas!  I am ok with the label Late Adulthood!!

I am not saying that to be funny!  It is pretty much how I feel physically and mentally.  Granted, sometimes in the morning I feel more like 90, but once I get my "engine running," I feel like I aways did in my 50s!

Increased life expectancy has changed the definitions of old.  Dr. Cotter makes the point that in Ancient Rome the average life expectancy was 20 years!  Gosh!  That sounds sooo short.  Glad I wasn't born then.  In America around 1900, the average life expectancy was 45 years.  I wouldn't happy with that either.  Today, at my age of 72 - my average life expectancy is 84.  Of course Dr. Cotter notes that many elements play into those totals - "the advances in medicine and health care, ethnicity (inequality persists,) and environment."  But as you can see - the definition of "old" slides upward as time goes on.

Not to be a "Debbie Downer" - but I can't help feeling that man is designed by nature to live only so long.  We are organisms, after all, and not meant to live forever.  I wonder if we have finally pushed the envelope of exactly how long we can live productive healthy lives - given the limitations that are probably hard wired into us!  Just a personal observation - not based on anything I have read.

Dr. Cotter ends the chapter on 
How Old is Old
 with this statement:

      "The best definition of old - 
ten years older than your current age."

I was thinking the same thing!  


Susan Scott said...

great post and lovely sense of humour, thank you!

Alana said...

So you are an’original’ baby boomer. I’m 66. It’s funny-I find I have more in common with people I know in their upper 80’s than thiose in their 40’s. Does that make me old? Your body breaking down aside, I know an 87 year old woman with such a zest for life but her body is starting to fail. Natural planned obsolescence. And it’s sad to see, even if it’s the natural way.

Marie Smith said...

I lead a seniors’ book club. The age of the group ranges from late 50s to late 80s. The oldest women in the group inspire me. They are in tune with issues in the world and lead active lives. The number doesn’t mean anything as long as your health is ok. Live every moment you can. So many had their lives cut short. Enjoy now! It could change in a heartbeat!

Anonymous said...

Some really interesting points you have written.Helped me a lot, just
what I was searching for :D.

Sandy said...

Good luck with the a to z. I used to do it, but got discouraged with how little return one got for the amount of work one put in. For every 15 comments I left, I got maybe one in return. Not good odds. Old...well it varies. I'm 68 and I definitely feel older than I did a year ago. I tire more easily doing physical work, arthritis hurts more etc. My Dad 93 feels beyond old and with what he's going through at the assisted living center, my younger brother says he doesn't want to live that long.

Lael said...

Oooooooh answer C on that quiz has really got my goat!
I'm not listening to society about ANYTHING. They don't know me,lol.
I took a life expectancy test created by a university somewhere, and it puts my expectancy at 89 years old. From what I'm learning about quality over quantity that might be too long for me. We'll see.
I just adore your take on being Old. Thank you so much. This is such a great post. I feel like I might want to print it out and read it every few years <3

happyone said...

That saying is so true!!! :)
Though we grow old in this life, in heaven we won't grow old.
We are not bodies with souls, but souls with bodies.

Marie Smith said...

I have commented on your posts but they are not registering.

Wendy said...

I think as we age and grow closer to being "old" we adjust the goalposts lol.