I will be 60 in less than a year. When my parents were 60, they were old. Nice, active and old. When does 'old age' begin now-a-days? If you're 45 in an AIDS-riddled African country, you are old and you celebrate wildly unless you are rearing too many of your family's AIDS orphans. You're 45th birthday in Belgium might get you an 'over-the-hill' card even though you are squarely in the middle age group.
I did a little exploring. The World Health Organization says that old age in developed countries starts at 65. Others regard social markers that influence the definition of old age - retirement, becoming a grandparent, health issues, grey hair and a few wrinkles. Dear me - I seem to qualify.
The most intriguing article I found in my cursory search for a definition was from Ohio State University. You are
- young-old between the ages of 55 and 74
- old-old when you turn 75
- middle-old when you are somewhere in the middle of the two
How strange is this? Someone asks you how old you are and you answer "Oh, I'm young-old. Not middle-old mind you. I am definitely young-old." You'd sound crazy.
After ruminating on this question of old age, I've come to some conclusions of my own:
- Retirement doesn't contribute to the definition. It just means a change and opening up to something new.
- Becoming a grandparent is fabulous. It is delightful and affirming and I heartily recommend it.
- Grey hair is easy to deal with and a few wrinkles respond well to facials.
- Health issues, especially serious or prolonged ones, are another matter. When doctor appointments take up too much of my calendar, I feel old, or at least older than I want to feel. But I've made a major discovery about this. I don't give illness a lot of room in the conversation. I mean this literally - the less I talk about it and think about it, the better. How simple is that?
- Doing nice things for other people feels great at any age.
Aging, like eating vegan, is a state of mind. Dahhhh!
See you in 6 days.