Greyness is apparently not a factor

At least now I have a benchmark:

The Pew Research Center reveals that American perceptions on growing older differ from the reality, particularly in just when old age begins (most say 68, but there are various milestones to signify the passage, including sexual/genitalial failure and lack of a Twitter account).

Which, I suppose, stands to reason: should it come to pass that, in Gordon Lightfoot’s phrase, “my pony won’t go,” I can’t imagine any motivation for tweeting about it.

Still, I tend to think of myself as old, based on this observation by the late H. Allen Smith:

If we accept seventy as the allotted span, and if we divide life into youth and middle age and old age, then we divide seventy by three and arrive at a fraction over twenty-three. Just to give everybody a break, let’s make it an even twenty-four. So, we are young up to the age of twenty-four, at which point middle age sets in. Middle age lasts until we are forty-eight. Anything after that is old and that’s where I am.

Not that I expect any 24-year-olds to buy this premise.


  1. Jeffro »

    2 July 2009 · 9:14 pm

    Well, I’m 49, but I’ve got a Twitter account. We won’t discuss how well Mr.Winky comes to attention these days. So I’m looking right at old age. I suppose I’d better get that power chair on order and get it paid for. I want it black with flames, too.

  2. sya »

    2 July 2009 · 11:22 pm

    Yay! I’m an irrelevant old fogey since I don’t have a Twitter account. Does this mean I can get senior citizen and student discounts?

  3. Joseph Hertzlinger »

    3 July 2009 · 1:36 am

    If you look at in terms of the maximum lifespan of areound 120, clearly youth is up to 40, and old age starts at 80.

  4. Lisa Paul »

    3 July 2009 · 2:02 am

    Jackie Gleason used to say that 50 was only the beginning of middle age. If you were going to live to be 100. So I’m with The Great One.

  5. Lynn »

    3 July 2009 · 7:31 am

    So does that mean we can all twitter (or tweet or whatever) to stay young? (I guess not being entirely comfortable with the terminology would be a sign of old age too.)

  6. fillyjonk »

    3 July 2009 · 7:53 am

    I must be an old fogey too. No twitter. No interest in joining twitter.

    And for that other thing…well, that means that all of the viamagra and cialamalis (to Homer-ize the words) commercials are related to a frantic desire to stave off “old age.”

    Makes a lot more sense now. Actually, seeing a lot of the commercials aimed at that particular demographic in that light makes them make a lot more sense.

    To think when I was a kid, I figured out how old I’d be in the year 2000…and finding that I was going to be 31 was horrified to think I would ever be that old. It is all perception.

  7. CT »

    3 July 2009 · 9:54 am

    Throw this out there: Birds, who as a group tend to tweet all their lives, have a wide range of lifespans, although for 90% of the species, are lucky to see their 10th birthdays. Factor in Thanksgiving, McNuggetization, and jet-engine suckage (among many many others), and I’d say most feathered friends don’t have enough time to contemplate the onset of middle/old age. :)

  8. McGehee »

    3 July 2009 · 3:34 pm

    I’ll consider myself old when I hear someone with grayer hair than me call me old. They’re the only people with the wisdom to make that judgment.

  9. Donna B. »

    3 July 2009 · 7:40 pm

    Whether I’m old or not depends on how attractive the Senior Citizen’s discount is.

RSS feed for comments on this post