If you were backed into a corner and forced to give an answer, what age would you say is “old”? What milestone birthday is The One that tips a person beyond the top of the hill into a mess of wrinkles and infirmity? How old do you have to be to be considered a senior citizen, an elderly person, an old geezer?
How old is “old?”
I suspect that line is a shifting one for all of us, that the number grows higher with each passing year.
Old age is relative to our current age.
Ageism is rampant in our country and culture, subtle and sinister in that people who practice it probably don’t even realize they are. I’ve been on the receiving end of it a few times, and it’s shocking. In my mind, I’m not old! (Showing up to film a Tim McGraw music video comes to mind….) But if I’m older than you, relatively speaking, I might be. Or not.
Depends on how big a jerk you are.
But wait–that’s part of the problem. If I think you’re a jerk (which I don’t, really) because you treat me differently because I’m older than you, that’s giving mental ascent to your prejudice. It is buying into the thought that at some point Old Age < Youth. It’s agreeing that at some point you become less valuable because of your age.
You do not become less valuable as you age, but your currency (what you have to offer) may change. In many important ways, your value increases.
Never apologize for your age as if it’s something to be sorry for!
My God, growing old is the price you pay for long life, and it’s a privilege not everyone shares. What you gain over time in wisdom and experience is invaluable! By the time you reach midlife, you’ve endured heartache, you’ve survived tragedy, you’ve learned so many lessons your life is a textbook. You have amassed a wealth of experience from the wise and poor choices you’ve made. You’ve born consequence, you’ve collected milestones, you’ve celebrated new life, and you’ve mourned the passing of those you love.
You have grown rich over time but you have to understand and value the currency.
Anyway…today is my birthday. I’m 53 and I woke up with a pain in my middle knuckle, of all places, and my first thought was, “Did I jam my finger in my sleep??” But then my second thought was, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! HOW CLICHÉ IS IT TO WAKE UP WITH A NEW AILMENT ON YOUR 50-SOMETHING BIRTHDAY?!”
So I ignored it, took a birthday selfie in bed, and posted it as a proverbial finger to aging.
Clearly, I’m winning the internet.
It’s fun to watch old episodes of Friends on Netflix, and when this episode (with Brad Pitt, about Ross making out with their librarian when he was in high school) showed up not to long ago, it inspired this post.
I’m pretty sure if any of the Friends cast watched it now, they’d think Mrs. Altman was pretty darn cool.
I am proud to be 51. I never sweat over an age. My dad turned 90 last year and now is doing quite well for his age. I am proud of how well (medically) he is doing. My mother lived to 84. I have long life in my family! I see to many people dying at young ages. Just today I rode a bicycle on a trail for the first time in about 10 years.
Happy Birthday! This post is fantastic!!! Thank you for giving voice to what so many over 50 are thinking!!! Good job!
LOVE THIS!! And how, I don’t know, but I missed Friends episode. Hilarious!
Ha, Diana :). I happened to see that episode again, and searched til I found a clip to use. It’s not great, but it sure makes the point, huh? 🙂
I enjoyed your post. Thanks for the insights and your thoughs on age. I am way over 50 and don’t give my age too much thought. In fact, I kind of have a hard time remembering it because I just don’t feel “that old”! There is freedom in being older but I have to say, I am not super thrilled with the dismissal I notice in younger women’s eyes sometimes.
They have no idea what they’re missing, do they? But if they’re fortunate enough, one day they’ll understand :).