Growing old gracefully - or not
My random thoughts on growing old - feel free to comment - or ignore. I may add more rambles to this later.
I have been thinking a lot recently about growing old and aging. I will be 49 soon. I feel like almost 50 should be the time I start thinking about this. So I should have one more year before my thoughts turn to this. But both of my parents will be entering an assisted care home soon. The doctors say my mom needs a 24 hour care place. So I think that is what brought this on. They were in their 30s when I was born, so they are both over 80.
I have found some things that talk about growing old gracefully.
But much of the stuff I have found seems to focus on “not growing old.” So dying before your get old? That does not sound like a good alternative. Actually it is about people rejecting the term old. Many people in their 50s or older do not want to label themselves as old. Some of them will pass up senior discounts because it makes them “feel old.”
I think this has to do with how we define old. Many people are defining old as having deteriorating health. The chance of having health issues increases when people get older. But old does not mean the same things as deteriorating health. There are many older people who are still in good health. And there are many younger people who are having health issues. I have a coworker 10 years younger than me that is in poor health. But I would not say he is older than me. I might say I am aging better than him.
You could choose to define old as having wisdom and maturity. By that standard I know lots of people in their 60s and 70s who are not old. :vs_smirk:
Or you could define old as being over a certain age. It has nothing to do with health, attitude or maturity level.
Really when people say they do not want to age, they really mean that they want to age well. Or that they want to avoid or minimize the physical decline that often happens has we get older. And I think even the people who fall into the aging gracefully camp agree with that.
The other part of it is looking old. This includes things like gray hair, hair loss and wrinkles. There does not seem to be a direct connection to these and general health. My coworker with health issues has thick, dark hair. I also have a gray haired coworker who is in very good health.
Some older people like to describe themselves as “young at heart.” What does this even mean? Does it mean you have the emotional maturity of a teenager? Does it mean you party all night? Does it mean you like teddy bears and rainbow unicorn stickers? It seems silly to define activities and interests as being young or old. I like what I like.