Getting Old vs. Being Old

cometazzi

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In a couple of months I turn 48. Whether you consider that 'old' or not likely depends on which side of that line you stand.

When I was in my teens, I used to think 25 was 'old'. Specifically, "when women got fat and ugly". Boy was I stupid and wrong. Ye gawds.

When I was in my 20s, I thought that 40 was 'old'. I'd seen all the "Lordy Lordy, <name> is Forty" cakes among people who were twice my life away in age. I understood that by time you're in your 40s, you're all broken down and decrepit. 'Old' people talk about aches and pains, being tired, and there are endless cartoons about 'old people' and their decline.

When I was in my 30s, I felt like I was in my second 20s. I was dating women in their 20s, and I didn't feel a lick older than 23.

On my 40th birthday, I was overcome with a feeling of dread. I felt as if "it was all over" and that from this point on I would decline into decrepitation and nothing would be easy, fun, or painless anymore. I've stopped dating (various reasons), but it seems like I'm wrong again.

Maybe I've never outgrown the stupidity of youth. I spring out of chairs no differently than I did when I was 14, I bounce back from binge drinking like I was 20 and I seem to have more energy than my peers. I'm a bit overweight and definitely out of shape, but I feel like I could be twice as fat and half as capable, given my lifestyle choices. I truly feel I could (with motivation) get back to the shape and condition I was 10 or 15 years ago, if i put in the effort.

My best guess is that most people on TDPRI are either around my age or older. I've seen a lot of posts about health woes and problems. I'm only mildly overweight, I am on blood pressure meds, and I'm greying, thinning, and ugly as hell, but I'm otherwise fairly unfazed by age.

I know that all this can turn on a dime, but am I lucky somehow to not feel 'old' at almost 50, or am I (yet again) wrong about what 'old' means?
 

FuzzWatt

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Old is in the eye of the beholder, not the individual beholden. Everyone is old to someone else.

Re: Being old and out of shape - I have family who never took care of themselves and now have serious health consequences in their 60s. I have family, my mother for one, who ate well and exercised starting in her 20s and at 70 doesn't take a single pill or have any aches or pains. She walks miles every day.

Take care of yourself, is what I'm saying. With the exception of flukes, accidents, and genetics, poor health is often a completely preventable choice.
 

bgmacaw

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Many years ago I drove my 93 year old great-uncle to a nursing home to visit a friend in a nursing home. I found out that his friend was in his 70's and in poor health. When we were leaving, my great-uncle said, "I hate visiting these places, there are too many old people here."
 

dspellman1

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In a couple of months I turn 48. Whether you consider that 'old' or not likely depends on which side of that line you stand.
There are folks who are old and there are folks who act old.

What you can't set the timer on are things like bone-on-bone knees, Alzheimers, cancers, arthritis, etc., that can upset your applecart.
 

HoodieMcFoodie

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loopfinding

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for whatever reason it's a generational thing to me. i grew up playing music with a lot of Xers. i don't find them to be old, even though now the oldest ones are pushing 60. we have the same attitudes and tastes on a lot of stuff, even though i'm almost half as young as the oldest ones.

but boomers i do find old now, and have since they were younger than some of the Xers i know. there's some weird rift around going into the digital/globalization era as an adult or young adult instead of as kid.

at the same time, the rate of "growing up" gets ever slower (helicopter parents, all that). i look at photos of my grandparents when they were around my age (in their mid 30s) in the 50s and they look like my parents did at 50 something. i still look and act like i'm 25. my parents probably felt a similar disconnect.
 
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Peegoo

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Age is an attitude; years don't matter.

There's a saying in the flying world that I like to apply to life in general, and it's this: "you always have enough fuel to reach the scene of the crash." This concept helps keep me from doing stupid stuff.

I am reminded of Willie Yeats' poem Sailing to Byzantium (my boldface):

----------------------------
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
--------------------------

I shall not go quietly!

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