Based on my response to a Quora question: “What’s the difference between old people nowadays and old people 70 years ago?
First of all, what age is old? If you’re 20, 40 seems old. If you’re 50, 80 seems old. But if you’re 80, those other ages sound young!
I’m nearly 74, and I admit I can’t figure out how I got here. Wasn’t I just 40 a few years ago? It sure feels that way. But except for a few sore muscles that show up when I walk more than my usual 3–4 miles per day with friends and our dogs, I don’t feel particularly old.
I often do admit, though, that technology is a challenge; remember, I grew up in the era of black-and-white TV sets and three-party phone lines. But as long as I have contacts who are willing to show this “old” broad how to handle the internet or other tech-related issues, I’m fine!
So, what’s changed from 70 years ago to today in 2020?
Those of us who often get characterized as elderly or old are actually far healthier, physically and mentally, than previous generations were. The years ride more lightly on our shoulders. We grew up with medicines that gave us the chance for longer and healthier lifespans. We have access — most of us do, anyway — to far better preventive healthcare information, which is huge.
And one enormous change has to be that so many of us have found our second, third, or fourth wind at these ages, meaning we’re NOT. GOING. TO. RETIRE. EVER! We have found work we can and love to do, work that is stimulating, and work that can keep us on our proverbial toes until we’re 100. (I’m hoping for 103, myself.)
We have local friends and family, and thanks to the marvel of the internet; we can easily connect to other friends worldwide, so we don’t have to feel alone or isolated. Our curiosity about and interest in their lives keeps us aware and awake.
I know I will never willingly retire, and why should I? As an editor / copyeditor, I am privileged to have work I can do from home, from a corner of my tiny 525 s.f. cottage on the bay in southeastern Massachusetts, and my mind and spirits stay wonderfully alive with every author I work with. I learn every day, seeing their world through their eyes, and it’s exhilarating!
I even still work as a corporate trainer, mostly locally (although last year I worked in California for a week), and I have just begun leading free LinkedIn Basics workshops in local Chambers of Commerce.
What’s not to love? I rise each morning, look out at the bay, love my two small dogs, and see what I can learn, what I can help others learn, and what new adventures the world has for me.
Life. Is. Grand!