Young, old or in-between? By Angela Caldin

A piece of cheerful news has come out on the BBC website of particular interest to our forty something blogger, Emily, who, as our regular readers will know, has been dismayed about reaching such an advanced age and concerned about her lifetime’s legacy. The good news is that, according to a survey of 1,000 UK adults aged 50 plus for the Love to Learn online learning website, middle age does not begin these days until you are about 55 – how great is that? And Britons do not see themselves as elderly until they are getting on for 70. So this means that Emily has at least 13 years of her youth left and need no longer worry about the onset of middle age and its accompanying crises. She is officially classified as young! Therefore, she has plenty of time to achieve great things before she sashays gracefully into middle age.

By the same token, Trevor and I are still swashbuckling around in the middle ages. We are not seniors, OAPs, elderly, aged or decrepit; we’ve got a good few years to go before we can finally be labelled old. So we’ve plenty of time to enjoy life, swan around in pubs and cafés, travel, make new friends, have new experiences and generally have a great and rumbustious time.

The research also showed that almost one in five said that being middle aged is a state of mind, rather than something that begins at a certain age.  John Craven (you probably remember him on Newsround years ago) is quoted as saying, ‘These days most of us in our middle and later years are much younger in our attitudes and it’s all about having an active state of mind.’ I’m sure he’s hit the nail on the head there and that attitude, as long as we have reasonable health and wealth, is everything.  Gill Jackson, director of Love to Learn said, ‘More than half of those surveyed said they have more confidence and experience than younger people and are less afraid of making mistakes.’

I guess there are lots of over 70s out there who wouldn’t consider themselves old either and who are busy undertaking a multitude of new activities and projects. It’s a case of the old adage ‘You’re as old as you feel’ being right on the button. So take heart Emily, and indeed all of you, whatever age you are. Remember the immortal words of Mark Twain ‘Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’


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