Aging: cause for trepidation or celebration?

I’ve got a brother. He’s 18 and about to start college (film studies, but let’s not go into his delusions of grandeur here). He’s worried about getting older - the different expectations people will have of him, the changes in lifestyle caused by having to act like an adult, etc.

I’ve got a sister. She’s 26 and just got her doctorate in Psychology. She’s got a good job lined up, and has just bought a flat. But she’s worried about getting older too. For the same reasons - now she’s a real grown up, on the career and property ladders, she’s going to have to change the way she lives and the way she deals with people.

I’ve got a mother. She’s n and is definitely worried about getting older. She’s worried about life without my siblings under her feet, the approaching end of her career and looming retirement, living alone with my Dad again.

And then there’s me. I’m 24, in my first job and not loving it, underpaid for living in London, (especially considering that my mates are lawyers and accountants) no clue what I’m going to be doing in two years time. Definitely no chance of being on the property ladder. And yet, I embrace being older. Not just the uncertain future, but the idea of being more experienced, spending more time with the people I care about, learning more and becoming, for want of a better word, a “grown-up”.

Is it me or my kin who’s the odd one out here? Do people still dread the milestones of 30, 40, 50? Do any Dopers currently worry about not being ready for the next stage in life - or are you looking forward to it? And are you doing anything about it, or just whimpering with dread?

Of course, the total loss of my ability to type without error will be a bit of a blow, but I hope I’ll cope with dignity.
Please, please, please change the title, pretty please?

All of the above. Attitude makes a big difference.

Entering the career world can be both exciting because of the possibilities and frightening because of the expectations. I felt both. The successes were great, the failures were miserable. That’s life.

I new a guy who was devestated at his 30th birthday because he wasn’t a VP in a major corporation. It took him about 6 months of soul searching to recognize that he was actually doing very well in his career, and that if he relaxed he’d not only enjoy life a little more but that it would benefit his career as well.

In my early 30’s I worried because I didn’t feel “grown up”. My mother thought that was hilarious. Now I’m grateful that I never got too serious about the whole adulthood thing.

My experience is that it just keeps on getting better and better. One day that trend will reverse, I suppose, and when it does I’ll have lots of great memories to carry me through to the end.

Turning 50 was wonderful because it dawned on me that I truly no longer had to deal with anyone else’s expectations. In fact, their expectations of me lessened which means that any new accomplishments now exceed people’s expectations! It’s nice to be on this side of that threshold.

I turn 60 in November. I’m learning to sail with the plan (I use that word loosely) to retire to a sailboat and cruise to all the places my husband and I want to explore.

My one regret: spending so many years worrying about other people’s opinions about what I’d achieved or not achieved along the way.

You may be the odd one out in your family, but it sounds as though you’re on the right track. Life is an adventure - savor it (or, in London, savour it).

I just turned 50 two weeks ago, and outside of the physical effects I don’t really feel any differently about life than I did when I was 30. There have been a lot of changes in my life during the last twenty years, some for the better and some for the worse. There are things I might have done differently had I known how they were going to turn out, but I’m not going to waste time regretting those decisions. (Don’t remember the source of the quote that just popped into my head about that: Never let yesterday take up too much of today.)

I’m closer to retirement, and starting to plan for it, but not obsessing about it.

I’ve always said that getting older isn’t a bad thing, considering the alternative.

Oh hell, I just turned 35 and I still don’t feel like a “grown-up.”

I asked my parents a few years ago, when did they feel like grown-ups? Because even though we have a house, cars and kids, I still feel like an imposter!

My parents laughed and said it happened because of their kids, but it was a gradual thing. Risking a smacking, I then asked them if they felt like people reaching their 60’s (you know, old people!). Their answer- hell no!

Sure, I wish I was younger with the knowledge I have now. But I love my life and what it took to get me here, so I have no worries about getting “old.”

Besides, my idea of what “old” is is changing pretty quickly!


By definition “old” is 20 years older than you are now. When you are 10, 30 is “old”. When you are 30, 50 is “old”. At 50, the “old” folks are 70. Etc., etc.

Enjoy whatever age you are now and appreciate the trip you had getting there. And remember, there’s still more fun to come.

I’m 45 and don’t mind getting older from an appearance standpoint; I was never any Greta Garbo in the looks department . . . But I look into my future, realistically, and see my finances, health, and professional marketability all spiraling steadily downward, while my friends and relatives die off . . . I think I need a cup of tea . . .

I was overjoyed when I found my first grey hair. It meant I was a Real Grown-Up.

I’m not too keen on the fact that my life is getting shorter (simply due to the fact that it gets used up at the rate of one day per day), and I’ll be in danger of running out of time to do things.

I’m definitely more attractive now than I was when I was 18. Yes, I’m fatter and I have a couple of double chins, but my face has grown into my personality. A lot of people grow better looking as they grow older.

I’ll be 26 in a couple of weeks. I expect that neing 26 with feel rather similar to being 25, which itself was not very different from being 24. Now this tends to suggest that there have been no changes whatsoever since I can remember, but that’s not true. I’m not quite sure when stuff changes. I don;t think it does, it’s just that the extra experience is dumped on top of the older ones. Essentially, I’m made of the Sediments of Time and the Alluvium of Destiny.

It sure beats the alternative.

Aside from going gray and bald at the same time, I’m not too worried with it.

First of all thanks for the replies, it’s nice to feel noticed.

Thinking about it some more, I’ve got a very limited horizon on being older - I’m not looking more than ten years ahead, max. Which I think is entirely sensible but it means that I’m not considering things like decrepitude, loss of marbles or other physical effects of old age. I am now though, and I admit there are more pleasant thoughts. Still, I’m at a stage where I can plan on creating sufficient resources to see me through these times. I say plan - it’s not like I’ve actually got a pension or savings or anything. But then, if I could afford those, I could afford not to live in a shoebox. I think one of the reasons I look forward to being older is a semi-realistic expectation of earning more.

I see that there’s a number of areas that concern people:
[li]physical/mental deterioration[/li][li]financial insecurity[/li][li]loneliness[/li][li]loss of attractiveness[/li][/ul]

Did I miss any? Speaking strictly for myself, the first is too far distant (touch wood) to worry about just now, the second should worry me more than it does, and the last two, although possibly linked, don’t concern me as yet - although my parents were married by my age, I don’t feel any pressure to find “The One” yet, nice though it would be.

Any concern I do feel is more to do with whether I’ll be just as sanguine about these issues in ten years time - fear of the fear of ageing, so to speak.

As you wish.

And the next question is, do threads without egregious spelling errors get more replies?