Family Matters | 65 borderlines `old’

HOW old is old? One thing sure, when age advances, one is older than he was yesterday and every day for that matter. That to me is self-comparison. Then, reunion comes after you graduate from school, friends compare faces and seek for those who look the youngest, and that becomes peer comparison. After some time, you get to attend the funeral of someone your age. You talk about better wellness to keep the body going and strive to last longer. That is survival of the fittest. At 95, it may be the loneliest because all friends who shared memories with you are gone. This is if you are still gifted with good health, but… you can be the happiest too, because there is no longer peer pressure! Surely, life is amazing.

When this writer was younger, I mused at how life would be like at 60. People who were 60 then looked old and retired. But today is different. The older generation now is more conscious in health and looks. Surely, lifestyle, fashion and trends are contributory factors. We are more cautious to address someone for anything that could reflect his or her age.

Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that 65 years old is still considered young as reported by Before, based on the Friendly Societies Act (1865) in Britain, old was defined by age of 50. However lately, 60 years old was referred as the border age to the word “old.” But lately, a new research was done according to average health quality and life expectancy, and defined a new criterion dividing human age as follows:

• 0-17 years old: underage

• 18-65 years old: youth/young people

• 66-79 years old: middle-aged

• 80-99 years old: elderly/senior

• 100+ years old: long-lived elderly

The anthropological study conducted based the classification on three main categories, which are:

1) chronology;

2) change in social role (i.e. change in work patterns, adult status of children and menopause); and

3) change in capabilities (i.e. invalid status, senility and change in physical characteristics).

Of all three, the change in social role is the predominant means of defining old age according to this report. There is so much truth to this shifting of role. Men and women who are retiring in this generation are coming from active work places. Most of them have pensions and enough savings to prepare for new roles and activities. We can see retiring couples traveling and joining other active functions. They couldn’t wait to hit the gym or do Zumba after retirement. For this writer who have experienced two successive heart attacks at 64 just last year, aside from writing articles and editing her hubby’s Saturday newspaper publications with his artist group on top of her Christian ministry duties, she couldn’t wait to attend to her succulent plant collections. It may not be an array of wide display, but her collections are just at the facade of her home. But she considers them as “happy” plants to keep her looking forward to tend to every day. So, why bother to talk about being old? After all, being 65 in two months hence for this writer is still within the youth group. There is still a year to enjoy the young people or youth stage and to bid adieu. Ah 66 is just the middle age now that which was once dreaded long ago.

“Old?” In your dreams!


Posted in Opinion