What’s Old?

What’s Old?

Lauren PesinMonday,27 April 2015

Some people say that you’re as old as you feel. Others say you’re as old as you look. I’m not sure what the answer is or even if it matters, other than if you are old, you are usually closer to death.

According to some Brits, 66 is over the hill. According to teens and twenty-somethings, 40 is old. That leaves me wondering what we mean when we say old. Old to me is relative to whoever you are comparing. If you’re 6, 12 is old; if you’re 12, 20 is old; if you’re 70, 70 or 100 may be old. We’re all old to somebody.

My next question is what makes people think someone is old. Is it frailty, wrinkles, gray hair, thinning hair, extra body hair, body composition, the way you dress, or your actual age?

I have a friend who just turned 30, who looks like he’s at least 45. He’s overweight, balding, graying, and dresses like someone you’d see playing chess in the park, talking about the good old days of sock hops and milkmen. To most, he looks old, but he’s chronologically young.

Christie Brinkley is 61. She looks better, meaning her skin looks smoother, her boobs bouncier, and her smile brighter than most people in their 30s. Regardless of doctor-assisted body augmentation, I don’t think most people look at Christie and think she’s old.

So…what’s old?

What I think people mean when they say 60 is the new 40 is that people are living longer, healthier, and looking younger. What it means is that the age that people think of as “elderly,” the image of a grandmother hunched over with a walker, wearing a hand-knitted sweater in the summer heat, stuffing Kleenex up her sleeve, and going to get her blue hair done at beauty parlor is no longer what 60 looks like. Generally, the old and frail image today doesn’t kick in until the 70s or 80s. Maybe 60 is the new 40.

What does it all mean?

Can a 40-year-old hang out in bars, dance, and mingle with the 20s crowd and fit in? If they look 40 plus then the answer may be a big “no,” but if they look young, say 30, then the answer for now seems to be, “yes.” Is fitting in with the young among the gauges to determine youth? I think (to a certain degree) it is.

No matter your age, if you can still run marathons, make it through regular 120-minute spin classes, or compete in the Crossfit games, then you’re probably not old. If you go someplace and find that you are annoyed by dancing, music, people laughing, the sight of cleavage, stripper shoes, or the volume of anything fun, then you’re probably old (in years or just in attitude). If you find yourself in a place that you are quadruple the age of the average adult person, then you’re probably old. If people still ask you out, catcall, or make or accept inappropriate threesome invitations, then you’re probably not old.

Once you hit the ripe old age of 30, we all find times when we feel out of place or beyond the years of the crowd. We all have felt old. Putting aside our tendency to link youth with beauty, the concept of old is irrelevant. At any age, we should do what we want, dress the way we want, and go where we want. If you’re happy and having fun, do you really care if people think you’re old?

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Image Credit: Flickr

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