Guest Post: Old Age – When Does It Begin

Old Age – When does it begin?

We’ve all seen the daytime television commercials advertising retirement homes and thought nothing of it. But once you’ve noticed a gray hair – that turned out to be real and not the product of a painting project gone wrong – you naturally begin to wonder if you’re getting old. Suddenly, you see wrinkles everywhere, your hip starts aching even if all you’ve done is sit on the couch and watch TV all day, and the music your neighbors are listening to is just too loud.

The emphasis the media puts on looking and acting youthful has made all of us a bit paranoid about getting old. Whilst it’s one of the most natural things on earth, we desperately try to fight it with miraculous creams, hair products, and diets. We must acknowledge however that there is a big difference between looking old and feeling old. The latter surely must be worse?

Changes in your daily routine that have gradually happened in the last few years and almost slipped by unnoticed start to become more and more obvious. No more late nights, because even a night spent reading feels like a night spent clubbing the next morning. Plans for the weekend? Sure, there’s a new recipe you’d like to try and that new TV show they’ve been advertising premiers on Saturday.

Suddenly, visiting garden centers and antique stores become something to look forward to. A quiet and relaxing evening is preferable to a loud, busy pub, and pets sometimes seem to be better company than people. They’re always grateful when you cook for them and they always seem to accept that you know best – which is something the youth of today really doesn’t appreciate!

Speaking of the youth of today – what’s up with these new technologies? Even though you once used to keep up with all the latest gadgets, the inventions of today just seem to be rather extreme and complicated. People talking to their phones instead of using their phones to talk to other people? Madness.

In fact, technology is very good factor against which you can measure your old age. Check how old your phone is, and then look up the newest model and compare their functions. If at least a quarter of those are things you didn’t know phones could do, or you don’t think phones should do, then you might want to brush up on your knowledge of tech – or just accept that this is now beyond you! How interested you are in keeping up with the latest discoveries and functions of mobile devices and computers seems to be directly related to age.

You may also notice that you’ve started penny-pinching, especially if you’re considering retirement. Going shopping seems to be more about what you need rather than what you want, and you always shop around. A shopping trip that used to be a one way stop now seems to take ages as you wander around trying to find the best bargain. You may also develop a preference for sturdy fabrics that will last long and can be repurposed when the clothes no longer fit.

Next up is your mail. If you seem to be getting a lot of brochures about over 50 plans which upon closer inspection appear to be rather interesting, it’s time to admit to yourself and even to those around you that you are no longer the strapping young lad or lass you used to be.

You may say that enjoying the quiet life, watching daytime television and having lots of cups of tea and bourbon creams is not something just old people do. But if you’re doing it in a care home you may want to reconsider.

As said by Emily Dickinson – “Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought.”, but when this happens, you may feel unable to fulfill your life-long goals. Alternatively, you’ll have naturally gained a new aspiration; become older than the oldest person in the country (or world) and become famous!

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