I Ain’t Old. Just Ask Methuselah

I'm Still Muddling through Middle Age

I Ain't Old. Just Ask Methuselah

You’re as old as you feel. Well, today I feel as old as Methuselah. And “for the record,” Methuselah was 969.

Now, I mention “old” man Methuselah not to kvetch about my aching back, bones, and feet but to make a point about aging, more specifically, definitions of age. How old is “old?” And when does middle-age end?

I raise these questions because several people (well, two) unkindly (well, cruelly) suggested with the passing of my last birthday that it “might” be time for me to rethink the title of this blog, suggesting indirectly (well, outright saying) that I have passed the days and designation of being middle-aged and have slipped and slumped into that unenviable and inescapable category of OLD!

Methuselah and “WHO”

I resent and resist this designation. AND I have the World Health Organization on my side!

Five years ago, the renowned global health organization, in fact, developed a new criterion to divvy up and categorize the timetable of the human aging process. It goes like this:

  • 0-17 years old: underage
  • 18-65 years old: youth/young people
  • 66-79 years old: middle-aged
  • 80-99 years old: elderly/senior
  • 100+ years old: long-lived elderly

The WHO based this updated ranking system on three main categories:

  1. age (of course);
  2. changes in social role (change in work patterns, adult status of children, and menopause); and
  3. change in capabilities (health care needs, invalid status, senility, and change in physical characteristics).

Methuselah and Me

Personally, I have always found these breakdowns of the human lifespan dicey territory. When I was in junior high school, a teacher put one of these lifespan divisions on the blackboard, and I, with brothers 18 and 21 years older, saw them listed as “middle-aged.”

I, 12 years old at the time, was sickened! I protested — loudly, forcefully. My brothers were NOT middle-aged! How DARE the teacher say so! It was really a very big, bad deal at the time. Who wants to think of their brothers as middle-aged especially since they were close to the same age as most of my friends’ parents. It was too much to bear!

My Friends Weigh In

During this more recent “am I and my blog “middle-aged or old” debate, I queried a few friends about their definitions of old age. Interestingly they had the same definition! And it wasn’t that old nostrum: “You’re only as old as you feel!” Instead, to a person, they said:

“Anyone 10 years older than I am!”

Handsome Hubby’s Got News

Now, as for Handsome Hubby, he “might” be getting old. HH just found out he’s going to be a great grandfather in December. How’s that for great/grand news?

Congratulations to HH’s grandson Spencer and his wife Tayler. Here’s to an easy rest of her pregnancy and an easy delivery.

As for me, I’m using Methuselah, son of Enoch, father of Lamech, grandfather of Noah, as my “old age” benchmark. If he lived to be 969, that makes me, at 68, a spring chicken, achy bones and all!

And in turn, that means the title of this blog, Muddling through Middle Age, is good to go for decades! Whew! Do you have any idea how hard it is to come up with a title and design a website? See! I’m not getting older, just more cunning.

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2 replies
  1. Karen Pollak
    Karen Pollak says:

    Thank you clarifying old age. Seems I have another year in the middle are category to before officially being called a senior 😁

    • Karen Galatz
      Karen Galatz says:

      Dear Namesake,
      “On behalf of” the World Health Organization, you are welcome. (And don’t you just love the designation of people living 100+ years as “long-lived elderly”? I think it is such lovely terminology.)
      Best regards,
      The other Karen


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