You’re Old, I’m Not

Your'e Old, I'm Not

I belong to AARP. Yes. I’m over 50 and belong to a very large lobby group. But what I enjoy most with membership are the two publications I get from them: a bulletin and a magazine.

The most recent bulletin had an article with the above title. It showed the attitudes of 1,800 Americans and their thoughts about what it is to be their age. Here are some of the findings:

  • People in their 60’s said you are “old” when you are 73 and people in their 70’s said it was 75.
  • A man is “old” when he is 70 according to both men and women
  • A woman is “old” when she is 68 according to men and 75  according to women
  • 45.1% are described by others as younger than their real age. Only 7.2% say they are older.
  • On the other hand, we think 33.7% of people our own age seem older!
  • 69% of people in their 60’s and 70’s feel that their physical health does not hold them back.
  • 50- 60% of people in their 60’s and 70’s feel that getting older has been easier than they expected and they have more energy than they expected.
  • Yet younger people think we sexagenarians deserve more respect (60%) than we think we deserve(46%)
  • African Americans believe that there are many pleasant things about growing older (79%) as opposed to Hispanics (72%), Caucasians (69%) and Asian Americans (63%)
  • The same margins apply when asked about whether their life has made a difference
  • And guess what? Men say they’ll enjoy sex no matter what their age (71%). For women its 51%.

This article was reassuring but it was not a surprise to me. Why not? I think the same way. I’ve been told for years that I look and act younger than my age. Of course, I’ve been told this by people who are decades younger than I am and these youngsters are very bad at estimating a person’s age. They’re not alone. I have a hard time distinguishing between a 20 and 30 year old.

When I’m at the gym I try to guess the ages of the other women in my classes. I believe that most of them are older than I am by at least a decade. Or if I want to feel superior to the college students in my classes, I believe that I am decades older than they are and look how well I keep up with them!

Does this look old to you?

Does this look old to you?

I’m in the minority when I think about how many limitations I have that hold me back. I can’t kid myself. My arthritis hurts in my hip, knees, and wrist. I don’t pretend that I could ride my bike as far nor hike to the same elevation, nor even stand for as long as I could 10 years ago.

And for respect? Younger people may think we deserve it but my experience is that younger people think we are invisible in the normal day to day way. They will, however, give up their seat in the trolley or open your door. Of course, I do that for others too.

Overall, we probably don’t notice how we’ve changed because it has happened so gradually over the years. Thankfully, that helps us keep that positive attitude that keeps us thinking that we truly are younger than our years.

I think the biggest stereotype that has been demolished by society, and me in particular, is that sex is still an important part of our lives. As long as we are still healthy and not taking drugs that interfere, we still enjoy sex like we did when we were 50.

If attitude is everything  (and I believe it is) then we retired people are in good shape. We really like ourselves.


2 responses to “You’re Old, I’m Not”

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  1. Margy Liske says:

    Hey Dear Buddy –

    Thanks for some delightful morning laughs! Remember Satchel Paige’s adages, which your ATTITUDE characterizes so well:
    Age is a business of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it don’t matter! and

    How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

    Sadly, our old wrinkled bods give us away!!! Love you and your words!

  2. Carolyn says:

    No matter what your age, if you can follow all these numbers, percentages and statistics, you are NOT OLD!