AGE-ING: Is it a numbers game?

It all started with a car. My old SUV died and I chose a sport two door roadster. I don’t remember the last time I felt so selfish in choosing something that is going to be hard to share with my grown kids.

A smile was on my friend’s face when he saw the car and asked: does someone have a midlife crisis? I just smiled back. I was puzzled and reflected…. really?? But I turned 60 last year. We all know that 50 is midlife, I am well past it.

The definition for AGE is: “a period of human life, measured by years from birth, usually marked by a certain stage or degree of mental or physical development and involving legal responsibility and capacity” and if we use it as verb to age means to grow old as “she is aging rapidly” (I hope not) or “the wine ages slowly” or “fear aged him overnight”.(The last definitions touches on age as number.)

When we approach 60 we are treated as OLD. Is it Ageism? Ageism is defined as a discrimination against persons of a certain age group or tendency to regard older person as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.

I love numbers and I always try to find hidden meanings. In my twenties I went to University, married and had kids. In my thirties I raised a family. Family raising lasted till almost 50. I saw my job as wife/mother/organizer/volunteer/interior designer/chef/cook/party-planner /artist/collector. None of these were paid in the monetary sense but were appreciated by my family and friends who participated or enjoyed the results of all these interests. In the world we live in there is not much appreciation for us/ women who devote half of their life to the family. The problem arose when my kids grew and started their own life. What am I going to do next? Shall I get a job? Do I want to get involved with volunteer projects? Shall I go back to school? A lot of exciting options but I am still faced with a society who looks at my grey hair and sees OLD.

Just writing this word makes my skin crawl. We need to find a new definition for those of us between 60-70+. We are at the “next prime” as a friend said. We need to find a word that will encompass positivity. A word that a 30 or 40 year old will say: “Whoa this 60 year old is incredible!”.

We need to ask ourselves: how old do we feel? Do we care about our chronological age? If the people around me consider me “old” what does it mean?

I invite your comments. Let me know your thoughts. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what matters is the attitude. Our population is growing and we are living longer. A Rocking chair is not the only way to express our vitality.

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7 thoughts on “AGE-ING: Is it a numbers game?

  1. I believe age-ism has a lot to do with sexism. While Madonna is considered a crass exhibitionist for her exuberance at 60, the Roling Stones are admired for being ageless, iconic and energetic nearing 70. I guess women have not cracked that glass ceiling yet.

  2. Orna, I’ve been meaning to comment on this beautifully-written post since you sent it – seems particularly appropriate on your birthday! I agree that comfortable acceptance of our aging is a matter of attitude. Our perception is our reality. It’s a chance to try new things – for example, replacing your SUV with a new sports car! As for a positive word to describe our elite group. I liked your friend’s suggestion of AMAGING – which you certainly are! Happy, Happy Birthday!

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