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Who’s Considered Old is Shifting

Apr 27, 2024 | Daily Trek, Tales from the Trek

Who's Considered Old is Shifting - Radical Trekking - Ayelet Baron

Who is considered old is shifting when it comes to our perceptions. And yes, age can also be a mindset. But the body keeps us grounded in reality and how we see ourselves matters.

And the irony is that the old story was that when we’re young, we want to be older. And when we’re older, we want to be younger. But what is emerging is an awareness that health is everything. And we can be amazing at any age. It’s never too early or too late to begin whatever is calling us.

But we are still studying everything as part of the system that is currently imploding. We need to ask some new questions is what this study is telling me that releases us from the chains of aging.

The study found that middle-aged and older adults now see old age beginning later than in past decades. Longer life spans and improved health are shaping our views on aging.

The Psychology and Aging journal study analyzed data from the German Aging Survey. Over 25 years, it collected responses from 14,056 people aged 40 to 100. They answered various questions, including their perceptions of when old age begins.

As people grow older, they increasingly considered old age as starting later. For example, at 64, they thought old age began at 74.7; by 74, they believed it started at 76.8.

Increased life expectancy and improvements in health over the years mean that ages once considered old no longer carry the same meaning.

The study also highlights how individual factors like gender and health impact these perceptions. Women generally view old age as beginning two years later than men, a gap that has widened over time. Furthermore, people who felt lonelier, were in poorer health, or felt older themselves tended to believe old age starts earlier.

Anne Lamott on turning 70: “I don’t feel old, because your inside self doesn’t age.” The stories we tell ourselves become the stories we tell others when we’re open to life’s possibilities. Living by our own constructs changes everything when it comes to our health and aging. It’s amazing when we allow our 7 year old self to be curious and courageous at any age. Because what’s in our heart is what matters. And when we stop focusing on age, we make space for creation.

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