One thing in advance: The question “When does one become old?” can definitely not be answered objectively. With that, everything is said and we can end this blog post.
Or we can take a look at this topic from different angles, get rid of the idea that “old” necessarily has something to do with the number of years you’ve lived, and keep in mind that “old” in connection with people should never have a negative connotation, but is something very valuable.
Growing old is not for cowards. Everyone wants to grow old, but no one wants to be old. You are as old as you feel – with a little thought, you will certainly come up with a few more phrases on the question “When does one become old?”
What does "old" mean?
This question, too, is almost impossible to answer seriously and objectively. At this point, we have to use the life expectancy of people as an alternative in order to find a cautious definition for “old” via the age.
So, if the average human being becomes eighty or eighty-five years old – pardon, “becomes old” please delete and replace it by “lives” – then one would call him in his perhaps last ten years of life generally “old”, and everybody would know what is meant. But this is then completely neutral and value-free and should not automatically be associated with frail, rickety, confused, immobile, retirement home or nursing case.
Estimate the age
Now it’s going to be a little philosophical for a moment, but it’s worth thinking about the ambiguity of “estimating one’s age”. You estimate your age when you don’t know each other very well, and usually only behind closed doors. But be careful, especially with a woman you can put your foot in it.
But appreciating age has a much deeper meaning. Namely the esteem of older people and the associated respect, which one brings to them. When children speak of adults or older people, they often say “the grown-ups.” Against the background that one should appreciate old age, the term “the great ones” takes on a much deeper meaning.
You are too young, I am too old
Whether you are too young for something is determined by others, sometimes even by laws, but whether you are too old for something is usually decided by yourself. In the eyes of those who are always too young for everything, those who decide that are inevitably too old. But before you know it, you’ve turned forty. Ten years older than your seventh-grade teacher, whom you thought was on the verge of retirement. And yet he’s actually still giving lessons today. How old he seemed to you back then!
Just as your grandparents, who had just passed the age of 50, seemed pretty old to you as a child, not to say ancient. When you turn 50 yourself, it would be very strange if your grandchildren thought that about you. After all, you’re still in great shape, you do a lot of sports, and you’re just about to really take off again in your career. When does one become old? – The question doesn’t arise yet.
Life expectancy is rising - and so is the proportion of best agers
The progress of medicine, the increasing improvement of working conditions, nutritional findings, a wider range of sports for different age groups and general prosperity have led to people, at least in the Western world, aging later and also having a longer life expectancy. This stands up to any objective observation and may be one reason why people used to seem older at sixty than they do today. And this also shifts the answer to the question “When does one become old?” back a few years.
Why do you think the consumer goods industry is suddenly focusing on the so-called best agers? These are people who have reached retirement age, have achieved a certain level of prosperity, are in good health and still have a long life ahead of them in which they can hopefully still spend a lot of money. This means that the large number of children born in the 1950s and 1960s will suddenly become a decisive factor for the national economy.
Older equals more mature equals more experienced
Even though technological progress is rapid today and children grow up with things that older adults have difficulty getting used to, as you get older you have a wealth of experience – both professional and private. And this is independent of the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 or cloud-based processes. The younger generation should never underestimate this wealth of experience. This applies to all areas of life.
It is not uncommon for some professional athletes to have coaches who are older than 60. They may no longer have the fitness and strength that a 20-year-old has, but technically and tactically they have know-how that can help any young athlete progress. They know exactly how to react in certain situations, how to adjust a team to the opponent or which training methods are most efficient.
When does one become old? - Prejudices and misconceptions are inevitable
You’ve probably heard that before, too: At that age? He dares to do something. But she’s still fit for her age. Still skiing at seventy? Ten kilometers every morning? I would never have believed him to do that.
That’s exactly how it is. That’s how you think about forty-year-olds when you’re thirty, about fifty-year-olds when you’re forty, about sixty-year-olds when you’re fifty, and so on. You are only as old as you feel…
That makes it all the more important to break down prejudices and misconceptions about the performance of older people and to take a little more interest in them. Suddenly you start to be amazed when you realize what the “old person” is still capable of. And you want to know how the seventy-year-old gentleman still manages to do 20 push-ups every morning. What motivates the couple, where both are over seventy, to take part in early morning swimming three times a week. Or why the lady of almost eighty still swings her dancing leg so elegantly.
That you can do it in your thirties is obvious. But think about how you’ll still be able to do it when you’re seventy. You can still learn a lot from older people. And you may have to correct your answers to the question, “When does one become old?” a little, if you can find a neutral answer at all.
By the way, many younger people struggle with prejudices and misconceptions about “old age.” This is demonstrated in the following video by this impressive study of young people who were asked to give their assessment of older people and their behavior, and were subsequently convinced of the complete opposite in a joint experiment with precisely these older people.
Share experiences with Meminto Stories
We have just learned that you should be more interested in older people. To get to know them better and to learn something from them. Of course, this applies first and foremost to the people in your personal environment. Because their experiences are of special interest to you and certainly to your children or grandchildren.
Meminto Stories helps you with this. With Meminto Stories you can write down the story of one or your life in a book. When we think of the question: “When does one become old”, we might think of a book about the life of your grandparents. What is their secret that they are not only quite fit into old age, but are still happily married despite all the difficulties?
What can you, what can your children take from their way of life so that when you get older, you will still be as vital. Or you can have your grandparents write you a book about your childhood, the way you grew up in their eyes. By the way, remembering earlier times also contributes to mental fitness.
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