As I enter my mid-60s I think about what it means to be old. I wonder – when will I be old? Like many people my age, I think others would describe me as younger, more active, and healthier than one expects of a 63+ year old woman.
The February/March issue of AARP Magazine featured an article entitled “You’re Old, I’m Not: How Americans Really Feel About Aging.” This short article tells us that the older we are, the older we think old is. That is, people in their 40s think that 63 is old while people in their 60s think that 73 is old. Women think that women are old at age 75, compared to men who think what a 68 year old woman is old. (Men are wrong on this one!)
I am very happy to read that as we get older we are less likely to feel that our aging bodies hamper us. In fact only 24% of people in their 40s felt that they had more energy than they expected for their age, compared to 64% of people in their 70s who were asked the same question. According to the article, the majority of us find that getting older is easier than we thought it would be, and that our health does not prevent us from doing what we want to do.
So, it would appear that I am pretty normal in my perceptions about myself as I age. It was a relief to learn that I am not old – and won’t be for quite a few years! Now I just need to continue to use that time well. I don’t want to waste it.