A Medium author wrote an article titled One Big Benefit of Being 70.
But it wasn’t about being 70. It was about being liberated from traveling with children. That can happen at any age.
It could even happen if you’re unmarried and childless. I could write an article, “One Big Benefit of Being Childless,” where I’d talk about watching hapless parents trying to corral their badly-behaved children as they travel or eat in restaurants. Readers would be less sympathetic because I haven’t been there and done that. But the content would be the same.
It’s a popular article. Readers relate. The comments come from readers who identify with a wide range of ages.
What’s interesting – and infuriating – is that so many people identify every part of their lives in terms of age.
“At 70, I no longer enjoy gardening.” Some people enjoy lifelong passions; others change around their interests and hobbies.
“At 70, I can’t bend over easily to pick something up.” It’s not because you’re 70. Lots of people in their seventies, eighties, and nineties bend over easily. Some practice yoga. Olga Kotelko competed in senior track and field events well into her nineties.
“At 70, I’m a greater risk for certain medical conditions.” Maybe…but if a doctor tells you this, ask why. Are the data based on age without controlling for frailty, comorbidities, and living in a nursing home?
It’s like that old joke: “Doc, you said my sore knee is due to age. My other knee is the same age and it’s just fine.”
The problem is, there’s a wide variance in the way people age, mentally and physically. Geriatricians have a saying, “If you’ve seen one 80-year-old, you’ve seen one 80-year-old.” Your experiences at age 60,70, 80 or beyond are not based on age. They are based on conditions unique to you…and definitely won’t apply to everyone in your age group.
Referring to age supports stereotyping. Next time you’re tempted to say “At my age…” or, “Because I’m getting older…” reframe your thought so you make no reference to age. You give up all your power, and you give in to all the stereotypes, when you attribute causation of anything just to “getting older.”