I have a seemingly easy question, unfortunately it has a hundred different answers depending on who you ask. Define old age, middle age, and being young? There are many factors to incorporate, many parameters to include and a pile of personal input which is why there will be so many answers. I ask as a forty-seven-year-old who’s not sure which, if any, bracket I fit in. Here are some of the things I think need consideration in working out the answer.
- Life expectancy will be one thing to consider first. If the average life expectancy in your country is 90 then is middle age in the middle and therefore 45? If so then I am past middle age. If middle age is at a certain time when your body and mind reach a certain state then perhaps the answer is more fluid.
- If the phrase “you’re as old as you feel” is right then the answer is fluid and can only be defined by the person experiencing their life. In this case, there may not be a build up to middle age but a realisation when you arrive that you are there, or possibly you will realise after you have passed through it.
- If the condition known as “midlife crisis” is for real, then perhaps this is a clue you are there. The theory being that men, in particular, buy things they may not need or change their lifestyles to feel young again.
- I am now with my much younger girlfriend who muddies the waters somewhat. Am I having a midlife crisis, although I don’t feel like I am as this relationship was natural with no consideration of age? Being with her makes me feel young, keeps me calm, and makes me want a long future so does this make me younger?
- As medicine, science, and life expectancy change can there be any exact figure? There are so many aspects changing that things differ continually. Travel is safer for example, medicine is improving daily, and people are learning to be healthier. Perhaps you will only know middle age at the end of your life and have to work backwards.
If you have now decided which bracket you are in, will you change anything in your lifestyle or simply embrace where you are and the person you are? Would a change make you feel better or live longer? Personally, I choose my love life, music taste, and work life based on me and nobody else. If I can manage a task I do so, if I can’t then I adapt. I need painkillers for a bad back so I take them, I could change a few aspects of my life to help this but I can cope with a little pain in order to do my job and live my life as I want to.
I am sure we all know people who seem to act in a manner you would expect from someone much older but also older people who act young. There are young people with great maturity and there are older people with little maturity.
I had planned to sum this up with a simple answer at the end but I am less sure of the answer now than when I started. My personal facts are that I am 47, my girlfriend is 20 and after a lot happening in my life I can be very mature and level headed, but can be immature for fun when needed. I think this makes me young, middle aged, and old all at the same time. Hopefully, this is no more than halfway in my life as I have plenty of life to live as long as my body holds out.