How old are you? I don’t mean chronologically. What is your real age? How do you feel? What is your attitude about your age? What do you think makes you young or old? How do you view people of different ages?
I recently saw Ted Robinson, a 95-year old man, give a talk about his adventures in WWII, and about his relationship with then Navy officer John F. Kennedy (before he became President). This 95-year old spoke with vitality, humor, and clear-headedness. His voice was strong, his thinking logical, and his stories funny. He stayed on his feet the entire 45 minutes. Yet, he is 95 years old. Would you call him old?
He may look older, but that’s just his outside shell. Inside of him is a volcano of energy that wants to come out and play. He has written books, gives speeches, and continues to run his business. What causes someone like him to exist? The answer is strong purpose backed by strong skills that he has honed throughout his lifetime. He has determination and will. He has something to look forward to every day that uses who he is in the best way possible.
Would you think of someone who was born in 1919 could attract an audience of all ages, and keeping them mesmerized for 45 minutes?
Age is really based on the amount of rotations the earth takes around the sun. You can accept that for your physical age on earth. But, if you are trying to figure out how old you really are, you could use data from the Pew Research Center’s survey. The survey says the older people become, the younger they feel. The center surveyed 3,000 adults 18 and older, and found that people said they feel younger than their chronological age.
Most adults over age 50 felt at least 10 years younger than their actual age. Among those 65 to 74, one-third said they felt 10 to 19 years younger, and one-sixth of those 75 and older said they felt 20 years younger.
You might prefer to set your age based on Bernard Baruch’s adage, “To me old age is always 15 years older than I am.”
Of course, there are the young-olds and the old-olds in every age category. There are some 30 year olds that are old, and some 95 year olds that are young. But if we are talking about age, we have Sociologist Bernice Neugarten’s research. She says the young-old representing the majority of older adults remain vigorous and are healthy, competent, engage with activities and satisfied with their role in society. The old-old are individuals who are frail, suffer from poor health and need medical attention, care or support. In general the 85-plus have been considered the old-old. But, that is changing too. Just consider 95-year-old Ted.