Is Age Just A Number?

The Underground Writer

Recently, I overheard a woman say she was too old to have long hair.

“At a certain age,” the woman declared, “ponytails and braids just start to look foolish.”

As I pondered her statement, I was reminded of the time my grandmother said that old women shouldn’t wear sleeveless tops. (Conversely, my other grandmother wore pink baseball caps with matching pink shoelaces well into her 60s.)

This brought a question to mind: when is someone officially old? Is a 76 year old woman who bicycles 3 miles a day, everyday, old? Or is it the woman who is also 76 but uses a walker and reeks of White Diamonds perfume?

I lost sleep. I paced the floors. I forgot several items on my shopping list because I kept repeating the thought, “When is old, old?” I studied everyone. I took notes. I visited random nursing homes and stuck my head into the rooms before…

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4 thoughts on “Is Age Just A Number?

  1. Generalisations about age are usually unhelpful, and I’d definitely say that someone who is frail and/or mentally infirm is “older” than someone of the same age who is fortunate enough to be healthy and alert. Having said that, I do think that age can be important to individuals: it gives a sense of the passage of time that can galvanise people to make changes in their lives, or try something new. And I’d hazard a guess that most people learn more about themselves the longer they’ve been on the planet, experiencing different circumstances, events and people. Whilst I believe I’m fundamentally a very similar person now to the person I was 20 or even 30 years ago, I hope that 37 year old me has a little more self-awareness and sense of perspective to draw upon than 17 year old me did; and I hope too that 47 year old me will have learned more again. In that respect, perhaps, age can be more than just a number – but in a positive way.

    • Absolutely! And if only everyone became a little more self aware, a little kinder, a little more mature with each passing year. My grandmother (the one who said old women shouldn’t wear sleeveless tops) lived to be 96. However, it wasn’t a wise, self aware, sense of perspective 96. It was a cranky, scary 96.
      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  2. I am not an old 73. I love the Internet, blogging, and Pandora. I think the Rolling Stones are alive and well, as are Fleetwood Mac. And I am glad. I hope I never become a curmudgeon. Thanks for the great piece.

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