How Old Am I?

No matter how much I’d like to believe (or pretend) that I’m still young, I really do consider myself to be a middle aged woman.  I’ve thought of myself as middle aged for at least the past fifteen years or so.  And when I finally decided to start my blog, I made it all about being middle aged and coping with all the changes that middle age brings.  One way or another, being middle aged is a big part of my identity right now.

But then I started reading other people’s blogs about middle age, and realized that there are many different ways to define middle age.  I had always considered middle age to be the huge chunk of life between younger adulthood and senior citizen, and I sort of resented people who suggested that it starts and ends much earlier than that. (I even wrote a post about it called Don’t Take Away My Middle Age.)  Others believe middle age literally means the exact middle of our life, so that even if we live to be one hundred, our middle age ends when we are fifty.  Middle age is, at best, a rather fluid concept.

IMG_0393I think the problem for those of us on the upper end of middle age is that we don’t have any real term for what comes next other than “senior citizen.”  And while I have the utmost respect for senior citizens (my 85 year-old mother truly rocks the whole “cute little old lady” thing), I know that it will be many more years before I am ready to be one.  So that creates the whole question of, if I’m too old to be middle aged, but still too young to be a senior citizen, then what exactly am I?

At 57, I’m fast reaching the age when, even with the most generous definition, I can’t all myself middle aged anymore.  This will be the first time in my life when I don’t really know what age group I fall into.  So far, I’ve been a baby, child, tween, teenager, young adult, just a regular adult, and middle ager.  All that’s left, as far as I know, is senior citizen.  But it seems a bit odd to me to lump people who are in their early sixties with people who are in their late nineties.  I think that span is too long, and that the people on the opposite ends of it don’t really have that much in common.

Maybe I need to just go back to just considering myself simply as an adult, the way I did in my thirties, at least until somebody comes up with a good term for this particular time in our lives.  Or maybe it’s time I just stopped thinking in terms of age categories all together, because my age is really nobody’s business but mine.  Whatever I decide, I’m going to keep the name of my blog the same. I’d like to think that by doing so I’m making some sort of bold stand against aging and age classifications, but the truth is that figuring out how to change the name is just too much work.

 

36 thoughts on “How Old Am I?

  1. With the changes over the years to our life expectancies and our general fitness and health, these ages certainly last longer (at least for some people) than they used to. I am now 60, but am still very active and have no hesitation in referring to myself as middle-aged.

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  2. Labels are an interesting thing, aren’t they. As a society we’re fascinated by them. It seems we have a need to compartmentalize everyone in all aspects of life. That’s just what we do. I think it helps us better deal with what we see around us and how it relates to our own lives.
    So if the average life expectancy is roughly 78, then middle age should probably be 39. But you’re right, what do we call anything above that number? Do we need to define it? When exactly does senior citizen status begin and who decided the number? Is it really a number or an attitude?
    Labels have their place on cans and jars but I’ve always been reluctant to place them on people though I understand why and have been guilty of it myself, when I wasn’t middle age😊
    I go with what I heard many years ago…old age is fifteen years older than you are. I can live with that..:)

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  3. Happy Birthday Martha! 🎂I think🎈. Whatever works for you Anne works for you. I’ve never view middle age has an exact number. I’ve always seen it as somewhere between 50 and 66 but what do I know. I’ve seen people in their 90’s very active and still very able to care for themselves and others. And, I’ve seen people decades younger unable to do so. Age is just a number and so relative. I strongly believe a person is as young as they feel or believe. Age is all in the mind. Your mom is beautiful and looks great. So if that’s any indication you’ve nothing to worry about.

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    • Yes, we all have very different ideas of what middle age is, don’t we? Like you, I always thought of it as a bit older: 45 to 65 is what I had in mind. But middle age really is just a label, and people age very differently! And thanks for your kind words about my mom! I’ll pass them on to her for sure!

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  4. Hi Ann, don’t define yourself by your age. As cliched as it sounds you’re really only as old as you feel. Sometimes I wake up and feel 100, other days I feel 21 again! The important thing is to enjoy what we have and where we are in life. Stay happy!

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  5. I’ve had this same dilema Ann! I’ve thought about the name of my blog too…should I change it to: lastthird instead? Nah. I AM in my secondhalf (certainly not the first)….maybe lasthalf? Anyway…you’re right about coming up with a new name for “us”. I’m not a senior citizen yet either. I think because we humans are living longer, it IS this new stage. Pre-senior? Post-middle? Who knows? 🙂

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    • I like the name of your blog, and think you should keep it! But I do think the fact hat we are living longer has created a new age category that we just don’t really recognize yet. We just need to discover a snazzy name for it! I kind of like your suggestion of “post-middle!”

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  6. I recently read a Twitter post that said that ages should be thought of like video game levels. I’m at level 44, and you have already made it to level 57. Think of all the experience that went into that!

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  7. It is tricky trying to think how to refer to ourselves. I think you’re still middle-aged, but as many other people have commented, the most important thing is our attitude rather than our label.

    As for myself, if for some reason I have to identify my broad age group, I tend to say I’m middle-aged these days, although at 48, I’d always thought of myself as somewhere near the beginning of middle age. I’d be shocked to find that 35 was widely considered middle-aged because that would mean I’m now a middle-aged middle ager instead of a young middle-ager. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll take that title, but since you’re only two years older, I’d say you are a youngin too! Let’s just keep pushing back old age…. As George says, old age should be defined as 15 years older than whatever age we happen to be!

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