When do Golden Agers make the leap into Old Agers? I’ve been here in the retirement home for over a year and so far I have met very few proper old people. It is true that most of the residents have 70 or 80 or 90 birthdays behind them but that’s not what makes them old. The old ones have gone, left for some other place. The people here are busy in the gym, in the exercise classes and the swimming pool. They are arguing over books in the library and eagerly awaiting the latest publications, they are slavering over the cakes at the monthly sale and elbowing their way to the front so they get their hands on the rich chocolate cakes. Are these all signs of old age?
You should see these people at the card tables playing killer bridge and canasta, showing no mercy to their opponents. That’s not the behavior of an old age crowd. True, many of them use walking aids, metal or human, but that too is only a sign of a frail body and has no connection to our perception of old age.
Ask any one of them how old they feel and you will be stunned at the answers: “Somewhere in the upper 60’s!”
“Hell, who can remember what 60 felt like?”
“How old do I feel? I can’t feel very much anymore! Did you bring a bottle of whisky with you?”
“I am getting old, but it’s pretty slow…”
“Sorry, I’m a bit deaf. Can you repeat the question?”
“I’m 86 but I’m not old.”
“Yeah, my back is shot and I walk all bent, but my head is still straight and working just fine. Have you seen my glasses?”
Who says we’re old here?