I reached a milestone birthday this past weekend. No parades, no fireworks, and I respectfully social-distanced with my friends by not inviting them to a party. Instead, I passed a quiet evening with my honey at our favorite Italian restaurant, outside of course. And no gifts, please. I live in Florida now and have no need for any more scarves.
But now that I’ve crossed over into a new decade, I couldn’t help but wonder where exactly I landed on the aging spectrum. As many of you know, my chosen career path as a clinical speech pathologist was working with an “elderly” population. As a young middle-aged professional, I studied the field of aging and learned from the social scientists, Gerontologists I believed they’re called, about the arc of aging. They wrote about the “young old” and the “old old,” and the boundary between the two being defined by your last birthday.
Well, given that I was now four-score, that certainly was a sobering concept! And, while I’m still able to propel myself out of bed each morning, I was not going to take this lying down. Surely by now, with the ever-increasing life span, I suspected the parameters for what is old age must have shifted. And I was correct.
To demonstrate that my essays are not merely irrelevant, but also educational, I am about to share with you the latest studies defining sub-groups of the aging process. I discovered several hypotheses. To be perfectly honest, I rejected the study that defined “very old” as 80+. Instead, in the interest of staving off the inevitable, the following results were more to my liking: Young Old: 65-74; Middle Old: 75-84; and Old Old: 85+. (Sorry, honey, maybe you want to skip your next birthday.)
But if you, like I am, are an adherent of the “age is just a number” principle, you reject the notion of categorization based on chronology. Instead, you believe that functionality should be the guidepost. With that goal in mind, I present you with the following checklist. Rating yourself in the following categories should result in a more accurate representation of your true standing among the hyphenated numerical groupings stated above. Please respond honestly.
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.