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!