About five years ago, AARP did a survey on aging, in which 1,800 Americans were asked what getting older has been like for them so far. Here are some of their major findings.

85% of the respondents, from ages 40-90, said they were “not old”. In general, regardless of age, “old” was always older than they were. When asked how others would describe them, based on their age, 45% said “younger” and another 25% said, “Active”, “healthy” and “in the prime of life.”

Interestingly, in general, the older people got, the more they agreed with these statements: “Problems with my physical health do not hold me back from doing what I want,” and “Growing older has been easier than I thought”, and “I have more energy now than I expected for my age.” For example, about 70% of people in their 60’s and 70’s said that physical health did not hold them back.

Respondents were asked whether they agreed with the statement “There are many pleasant things about growing older.” African Americans were the most likely to answer yes to this (79%) as well as to the following:  ”I believe my life has made a difference.” Least likely to agree with both statements were the Asian Americans at 63%, and they were most likely (24%) to agree, “Old age is a time of loneliness”. In answer to the comment, “I know I’ll enjoy sex no matter how old I am” men were more likely than women to say yes (71% vs. 50%).

Source: “You’re Old, I’m Not” AARP The Magazine, February/March, 2014, pp. 42-44. Taken from Taos Institute Positive Aging Newsletter, April/May 2014.

What does old mean to you? Let me hear from you.