By in Relationships

Is Old Age a Matter of Choice?

It happened again yesterday. A young friend of mine – to be exact, she’s just 16 – asked me (very politely!) how old I was – and then (in a nice way!) didn’t believe the answer!

Now, I don’t think this is to do with my youthful appearance (!) and sprightliness. At 66, I still have dark honey-blonde hair (yes, it’s natural, but there is a growing number of natural silver highlights!), but I run to fat quite easily and I am a wonky-donkey (my daughter’s diagnosis!) as soon as I start moving. No – I think it’s more to do with the fact that I’ve never quite realised that I’m old.

Rik and I have always found that there’s generation gap between us and many people, say, 10 years older than we are. We’ve always put it down to having been at uni in the late 1960s – early 1970s, when lots of new things were happening. However, as we’ve grown older, we’ve found increasingly that we’re more at home with people of our kids’ generation than with our contemporaries. I was chilling out with my daughter and her friends once when she was a student. One of her friends made a rather risqué comment, then looked at me, laughed, and said, “I keep forgetting you’re not one of us!”

Today, though, I understood it better when I realised that the old lady I deferred to on the bus was probably 10 years younger than I am.

Thinking about it, I always laugh at my 94-year-young mother when she looks after people much younger than herself in the flats where she lives. She really doesn’t see herself as that sort of age. However, I realised today that I shouldn’t laugh at her. As soon as I start to realise how old I am – and act it – I will BECOME that age. This has very little to do with health, mobility, or even physical appearance – it has to do with attitude of mind.

So, Rik and I will continue to play silly games and chase each other around the house (he always wins). I shall continue to dress as youthfully as I please and to care about my appearance. I shall refrain from taking a judgemental attitude towards my younger friends when they get tattoos and body piercings. Above all, I shall strive not to lose touch with the younger person I used to be!

Image Credit » Picture of me as a student aged about 20 is by Rik Ravado. I don't actually feel any older in my mind than I did then!

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inkedwriter wrote on January 7, 2015, 4:36 PM

I have been 25 in my mind for 22 years now. It's not until I look in the mirror that I am reminded that I am indeed aging.

maramadalina wrote on January 7, 2015, 4:50 PM

Age is that one that you wear in your soul. I have met many people who look great even if they have an advanced age.

kat123456 wrote on January 7, 2015, 4:51 PM

Good for you I say, you are only as old as you feel after all

JeanC wrote on January 7, 2015, 5:38 PM

At the physical age of 53 my brain insists that we are 20. Most of the time that is not a problem, except when the body reminds me I am 53. As my hubby says, if I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself when I was younger. You learn way too late that water skiis and vodka don't mix real well LOL!

beachchair wrote on January 7, 2015, 5:51 PM

I say you are as old as you think and feel. Stay active and you never really grow old. You just grow older. I want to always be active. When you stop moving you stop living. Good for you for staying young at heart!

Vivenda wrote on January 8, 2015, 6:34 AM

Yes - the mirror can certainly be a false friend occasionally, particularly if you're feeling down anyway. However, I just tell it it's a liar!

Vivenda wrote on January 8, 2015, 6:37 AM

I sometimes rail at the passing years, but that makes me all the more determined to live the life that I have left to the full!

Vivenda wrote on January 8, 2015, 6:38 AM

I'm afraid my husband changes that to "You're only as old as the woman you feel" - and then complains, because I'm 3 months older than he is!

Vivenda wrote on January 8, 2015, 6:40 AM

I know what you mean, Jean - when I get out of bed in the morning my body sometimes tells me that I'm 110! But, like my mirror, it's a liar!

Vivenda wrote on January 8, 2015, 6:41 AM

I've never been able do much in the way of physical activity, because I've had minor mobility issues ever since I was 10 - though they haven't limited normal activities until the last few years. I've always enjoyed walking and getting out and about, though.

McIntire wrote on January 8, 2015, 2:55 PM

I do agree it's mostly in your mind and how you act. But sometimes when ppl. in their 60's have disabilities, they sometimes feel older than their ages. I'm a testament to that! Some days are good, and I feel 34; other days I feel 84.

Vivenda wrote on January 8, 2015, 3:25 PM

Yes, I know what you mean. I have minor disabilities (two knee replacements and one hip replacement). I don't have to very often, but if I take codeine because everything's hurting at night I feel terrible the next morning!

McIntire wrote on January 8, 2015, 8:30 PM

I commiserate with you! I have one knee replacement, need another, and might need a wrist replacement. ARGH!!! lol! My doctor gave me Percocet but sometimes even that doesn't help.

CalmGemini wrote on January 9, 2015, 7:32 AM

I am 62 but as you all say you are only as old as you feel.Many people who see me playing with my grandsons and discussing cartoon s and books they like,,they wonder.But when i feel difficulty in climbing stairs and can not walk with speed,I fee my age. I am glad I feel at home among young people and share.,their views.

soupdragon wrote on January 9, 2015, 2:29 PM

I think as long as we don't get too sensible and cynical we stay young at heart.

melon1234 wrote on January 12, 2015, 9:14 PM

I think so in a way too! I think when you're younger you need to realise that and take care of yourself earlier too *makes mental note to drink more water*

bleekley wrote on January 12, 2015, 10:44 PM

Chronological age can be quite different from biological or health age and from attitude age, as in, young at heart, or in, old before hir time.

mrsmerlin wrote on January 17, 2015, 6:21 PM

Nooo never grow up - its the biggest con you'll ever come across!
And never stop playing - you don't stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stopped playing.