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Thoughts on getting old vs aging

PhirrgusPhirrgus Member Posts: 1,904 Member Member Posts: 1,904 Member
I've wanted to discuss this for a while now as my wife and I (both late 50s) are surrounded by people who seem to view advancing in age beyond a certain number as a license to just...stop. One of the most common questions I hear at family gatherings, because when I play with the kids I play like crazy :) is "Don't you know how old you are?" I usually answer "Well, yes. Yes I do." With a smile lol.

A 20 something year old friend of my daughter in law told me it was great to see the "elderly" trying to stay fit! I was mortified!
I stumbled across this article on Marketwatch and thought it might be a good basis to work from here.
Look around you and you will see the role spirit and attitude play in relationship to the concept of being old. Do you know any 75 year-olds that act like they’re 35? Do you know any 40 year-olds that act like they’re 80? If you answered “yes” to either question you are affirming the attitudinal and spiritual source of what separates those who are aging from those who are old. This distinction was described by Paul the apostle in his letter to Corinth where he stated, "though our outward man perishes, our inward man is renewed day by day."

There is no denying the effects of time on our bodies. Though we can slow certain physical impacts we cannot prevent them altogether. Hair turns gray or falls out. Skin wrinkles. Senses can begin to dull as can short term memory. As George Burns once quipped, "you know you're getting older when everything hurts, and what doesn't hurt doesn't work."

Choosing to live an engaged life until the day we die is no accident; it is the purposeful and intentional discipline of those souls who choose to live every day they are living. They are not in denial of the inevitability of death; they simply have chosen to not give it a head start.

I've been told I'm in denial. I'm not. If I don't feel 80 why should I act like it? My job has taken me to numerous nursing homes - I quite literally hate it. It's heart breaking to see so many people who I do not believe should have to live like that, and so many do because they bought into the myth that "They're too old to live any other way."

I'd like to hear others thoughts on this.
The 35 year old 59 year old :)


  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Member Posts: 1,904 Member Member Posts: 1,904 Member
    I hear you! I once read somewhere a comment to the effect that most of the symptoms of aging were down to down to reduced activity. Reduced activity seems rarely to be accompanied by reduced eating so obesity is the inevitable result. Given that there is a direct correlation between overweight and a myriad of complaints that start out niggling, become seriously debilitating, and end up with being housebound and immobile in your older years, I say keep going!

    Now that I am 52 and looking down the barrel of old age, I'm taking all this very seriously. I can't cheat death, but I at least hope to lead it a bit of a dance. I can live with grey hair and wrinkles but I see no reason that I have to relinquish my active life or stop having fun. There's nothing wrong with hanging with the young people, as long as you don't overstep the bounds of decency or worry about their view of the elderly (what the hell do they know?!). And 59 isn't old. 109 is old. Keep on trucking!
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Member Posts: 1,904 Member Member Posts: 1,904 Member
    kimny72 wrote: »
    @Phirrgus The Blue Zones researchers make it really clear that while the diets of people in the BZs are important, there is a pretty good chance that their healthy longevity comes from their lifestyles - they still work, play, socialize, etc right through their 90s and past 100. In the book they talk to a 100+ man who still herds his animals walking several miles with them every day. Our assumption that being past a certain age means becoming a dependent lump I think really handicaps us in western society.

    My parents are in their 70s and just retired to VA. They had a 2 story house built on a decent sized piece of land, and everyone told them they were nuts to make their retirement home with stairs and a big yard to care for. But their philosophy is use it or lose it. If I have to get up the stairs, I'll prioritize being capable of getting up the stairs.
    Hi Kimney72 - I'm glad you posted this, especially the bold as that is exactly what I'm referencing. The prevalent attitude that at (fill in the age) years old we should stop enjoying life and carrying on with what we enjoy because *reasons*

    I love the way your parents think :)
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Member Posts: 1,904 Member Member Posts: 1,904 Member
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    One of the common traits with the Blue Zones is being active into the 80s, 90s and even beyond. I'm a fairly sedentary 40 year old and this is my one area of weakness that I really want to work on. I see my elderly neighbors out walking twice a day in all sorts of weather conditions, while I sit on my bum :p My big goal this year is to start walking regularly. Yesterday I did 1.5 miles and it felt great, now to just keep at it!

    The freedom is intoxicating in some instances. I think everyone loves a good rest, but I've seen people (my dad) rest his way right into existing>living.

    Totally bass-ackwards if you ask me. Yet it was accepted by everyone in his age group because....that number.
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Member Posts: 1,904 Member Member Posts: 1,904 Member
    I agree that we can be proactive and intentional about living an active life as we age. Anecdotally, I often hear that things start to "break" around age 50.

    A big eye opener for me about being proactive about my health and staying on top of any issues was watching a family member go downhill in his mid-50's. He went from running marathons and chasing grandkids in his 50's to basically sedentary and all because he ignored a health issue. It was almost like he was going through stubborn adolescence again and denied his own mortality by making stupid choices. Well, the health issue turned into a massive infection, which turned a simple surgery into a very complicated one, which led to a surgical accident and years of complications and near-death, and now he's 63 and will never be the same. The last time I saw him he was just OLD. I know this is ultimately not what he wanted for himself, but it's almost like he denied the inevitability of getting old altogether and it cost him so much.

    So all of that is to say, I want to live an active life as I age, but I also know I'm going to age and need to be proactive about any issues that could hurt my quality of life in the future. It's all about choices, sometimes very complicated ones.
    So very true. I'm sorry about your family member - I know that feeling, and it's primarily his example that demands I not make the choices he did, so there's that at least.
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Member Posts: 1,904 Member Member Posts: 1,904 Member
    Susanna527 wrote: »
    I'm going to be 57 this May, and have been working towards being in the best shape (healthier and fitter) than I have ever been. People are living to 100 - so we aren't even "old", just middle-aged :) We do live in a youth-obsessed society. All we can do is show 'em how us 50+ folks rock!!!

    Don't ever stop. :)
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