How can you tell when you’re old?

In this modern, fast paced world of ours I am beginning to wonder how I will I know when I am old? When the media tells us that 50 is the new 30 and 60 is the new 40 and middle age seems indeterminate, how will I know when the time has come for me to sit in my armchair, button my cardigan and watch the world go by? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel old, although I probably am in the eyes of most people, but I’m not yet old in my own head. I look in the mirror and sometimes see another, older image staring back at me and that can be hard to accept. Certainly, when I was in my twenties, anyone over forty was old, and perhaps, in those days, they probably were. So what is it that defines us as old? As the date that we can officially draw our pension is constantly increased, I am beginning to wonder if, for some, that time will never be reached and they will stay on the treadmill while the retirement time remains elusive and at the last moment snatched away from their grasp.

Retirement for many is the time in their lives to have the time of their lives. When families have grown and flown the nest and they can have time for themselves at last. Learning to sail, surf, climb mountains, cross deserts, sky dive, cruise around the world, and enjoy those adventures that time never allowed during their working life. So to try to unravel the mystery of ageing I thought a useful check list may help us to identify when we are old.

So when:

  • Going out for a meal is planned around getting back home by eight o’clock so you can put your slippers on.
  • In conversation with younger people, you have and can quote life experiences which covers almost every subject
  • You, like the rest of your peers wore short trousers for school
  • You remember when everyone wrote letters to each other and those letters were more than 160 characters long.
  • You used to listen to the radio and when TV finally came to you it was black and white, with only two channels.
  • When you went shopping the prices of the goods never changed
  • Shops would sell you a single cigarette
  • You think young fashions look ridiculous but then you realise that kids are wearing the same things you used to wear.
  • It’s easier to catch a train rather than drive places
  • You make “Aaah” noises when you sit down
  • At school you had to draw maps of the world freehand.
  • You become cynical about everything
  • There was no such thing as technology in your world

You also remember:

  • “The Beatles” as a new band
  • When spelling was important
  • The end of food rationing in the 50’s and petrol rationing in the 70’s
  • Cross ply tyres
  • When AA patrol men rode motorcycles and saluted you
  • When policemen were older than you
  • Your first colour TV set
  • Video remote’s were connected to the set by a wire
  • When children played together in the street and came home when it was dark
  • When you could cross the road without worrying about being hit by a car
  • When shops closed at 5 and were never open on a Sunday

If some of these items are familiar to you then, unfortunately, the world is viewing you as old and it begins to make allowances for you. Although you have just landed after a sky dive or stepped off a white water raft, they will still think you are a senior citizen. Never mind; always remember, their time will come.

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