Semantics on aging

I came across someone recently who took offense to the word “old.”

It’s not a bad word. It doesn’t mean decrepit (which is a sad word). It doesn’t mean you are incapacitated. It only means that you have lived a long time. (My personal view is that it is different from elderly although Wikipedia didn’t agree.)

The World Health Organization classifies it as over 50. The United Nations sets it at 65.

Technically speaking middle-age (which some of us use to include ages from 50 to 80) is 35 to 40 in a person with a life expectancy of 70 to 80. I never considered myself to be middle-aged until way after age 50. (Way after!)

It’s all semantics and your personal filter. In my family, it carried a sense of accomplishment. Many people don’t live to be old. It’s a badge of honor not associated with wrinkles, drooping butts or thinning hair (all of which I can do without!).

I use the word old to remind people that I don’t have to do things. (This is commonly known as using the “age card.”)

You want me to attend something I’m not interested in? Nope, not gonna happen.

Do I need to make a fuss about a holiday? Not unless I want to.

I can’t be guilted into doing things…at least mostly. (There are a few people who can do that and you know who you are!)

Do I need to be old to say no? Not really, but for me, it became easier. I like to please people who are important to me and to experience new things. Sometimes neither of those work out to be fun.

At this point, I have enough experience in life to know that roller coasters make me barf and driving at night isn’t fun. Definitely no roller coasters and night driving has to be to a destination I really want to go to.

It’s all in perspective. In any case, I’m using the age card any time I can. Sometimes it gets me a discount!

80 thoughts on “Semantics on aging

  1. I love this post! So fun! I bookmarked you to read more, so glad I stumbled across here.

    I am 49, and I have to say I feel old on some days. Especially today, I have a pinched nerve in my neck that is hurting me all the way down my arm. I limp around the house trying to do stuff and give up (Advil is about to kick in) and think to myself…YOU ARE OLD.

    But I don’t have time to be old. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A study (oh yes, all that money spent on studies) determined that women are happier as they age and that the happiest age is at 84! Men, on the other hand, don’t cope as well as they age. Okay, I am 70 and the happiest I have ever been. Hey, if I make it to 84… how much happier can I be?

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  3. I will only admit to being “older” when it works for me, like discounts. My hubby just turned 55 and don’t think I won’t use that for 10% off! He didn’t seem nearly as excited as me until I mentioned the possibility of a Home Depot discount.

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  4. I laugh at my husband who will refer to all the old people in the theatre, or some other location … and then I point out that they’re all people our age. It makes him crazy … because he’s NOT old, just everyone else is 😆

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  5. I did it- used the Age Card when what I was saying about my willingness to help wasn’t going in. Husband however was mad – really really doesn’t like that “O” word. HAHA We worked at taking care of ourselves to be able to get to this age – and now I intend to use the benefits when I wish to.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do like the senior discount. And I like the idea of the age card. Can I use it as an excuse not to put up outdoor lights for Christmas? It’s one of the things my husband used to do that I decided was “a man’s job” and I wasn’t going to do it. How old fashioned is that?

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  7. I have only recently heard myself use the word “old” in referencing my husband or myself. And it’s just as you’ve used it–when I want to impress that we really don’t have to do something. We’re old and we’ve earned the right to say no! If I can avoid the word “decrepit” I’ll consider that a win! 🙂

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    • Exactly. I found that sometimes people heap on expectations because they forget that we are getting older and don’t have the energy or interest. That’s usually when I declare my status! I’m not too old to do anything I want though but that’s a different topic.

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  8. It’s funny how some words cause offense for some people and not for others. At 59, I don’t think of myself as old. Since I am officially retired (and have no problem with that word), I do play the ‘retirement card’ when it fits…and I love when I qualify for senior discounts!

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    • Plenty of game and moxy! I like seasoned. I often used experienced but sometimes the younger folk don’t like that word. Maybe it sounds like I’m saying that I know more than they do (which is exactly what I am saying!).

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  9. I figure I earned the title “Old”, I am also much wiser than those that use the term towards me. I have “been there, done that:. I know how it will end. So I am proud to have lived a long life, I know how to say no to a ringing phone, or a text message. I miss the actual photo albums. People used to sit around at holidays and talk about the old pictures, now they whip out a cell phone and just talk about recent pictures they have.

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  10. I’m not sure I’d consider myself old (although I’m sure plenty of people do), but I’m definitely older… and wiser. I love the senior discounts (except when I get one without asking 🙂 ) and the new-found ability to do – or not do – what I want. I also agree with you about the term “elderly.” That connotes something else entirely… and we certainly aren’t there yet! I may have to take back my recent donation to Wikipedia.

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  11. “OLD” well, it is just a word. A very precious antique is sooo old, be careful. But, if you are talking about a human being, the word old is not revered at all. I personally hate the word elderly. To me that implies, walkers, canes and foul smelling people. There is nothing special about elderly, but old…that is a whole other story!!!!

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  12. Aging is better than the alternative…that’s what I always say. And I agree that saying no gets much easier as we get older. A true blessing. Wish I’d learned it a long time ago.

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  13. Old, schmold! In the end, we’ll all get there, if we’re fortunate enough. I know a few who didn’t make it to their, twenties or thirties. People need to get over the age thing and just live their life. I love the senior discount I get at our local grocery story. Although I’m not quite 55, some of the younger clerks give me the discount, while the older ones don’t.

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  14. Getting older rocks. I’ve learned so much, including the fact that there’s so much I have NOT learned (and that’s helpful, too). I just wish I could go back and cram it into my 25-year-old self. Barring that time-warp miracle, I’m just trying to do my best with what I know now and the time I have left.

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  15. Saying No lost us a lot of friends when we were in Lincolnshire before. Then we realised it wasn’t us, but their expectations of us to be there at their beck and call or convenience. For the past three and a half years we have discovered ourselves and made new friends, ones who take us as we are with no hidden agenda. Hopefully that will continue now that we’ve moved on again.

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  16. People anymore are taking offense at the most ridiculous things. People need to lighten up! Not every word everyone says needs to be policed or analyzed! Geesh! Nice post Kate!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ve always been an old soul. I learned how to say NO early in my life. While I’ll admit that I consider myself to be middle age, if others want to call me old I won’t stop them. It’s only an insult if you think it is.

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  18. Kate, I relate to your post about this! I also have become good about saying “no” to things I am not interested in and won’t enjoy doing. I have a friend who wanted me to go out to “paint night” and she could not understand that it does not interest me to paint a picture that I’d have no interest in hanging in my house. I do not aspire to have artistic talent and I’d consider the whole exercise of going to be a complete waste of time and money. I also don’t enjoy attending social events that put me in big crowds of people or involve a lot of standing in line waiting for entry. I feel the same way you do about the night driving too – I have never had what I’d call good night vision and I find it stressful to drive once it is dark. As you can see, I have become quite picky and I have to strongly want to do something to get pried out of my house! Getting older should have some perks besides the discounts and the ability to say “no thanks” without having to give a long explanation should be one of them!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! When I was young I did ceramics, then candle making purely for social events. There are only so much of this stuff you can use and people get tired of seeing you coming with “gifts.” More recently photo albums are the thing to do in crowds. At least with these you have albums for the family but you can’t get me to do these either. I enjoyed bridge for a long time. You had fun but didn’t end up with stuff.

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