Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Why should it be so?

A friend and I were discussing at the weekend why it should be that these days people look so much younger than they did fifty years ago.

At seventy my mother was an old lady. She wore old lady's clothes, she spent most of her days sitting in a chair dozing - maybe reading a little or knitting a little. She was always delighted to see callers and would chat happily but when they went she would always say they had tired her out.

This seemed to be the norm amongst the mothers of most of my friends.

Now most of my friends are over seventy. They all still drive. They all dress fashionably - some very much so. I met a friend on Friday morning who I have not seen for a year. She looked fabulous and I was astounded to hear that she is eighty next month. She was walking quickly down the market place - her only concession to 'old age' was her basket on wheels. My friends read books and discuss them, go to the cinema regularly, entertain - in other words they live life to the full. So what has happened to make this great difference?

I would be interested to hear your views. I have asked around my friends - they cite better food, better health care, better education, central heating, better mental attitude. I don't know what it is, but I do know that I certainly rarely feel my age and unless I get too close to the mirror I even manage to look younger than my age! So enlighten me all you 'young' oldies out there.

21 comments:

John Gray said...

chris takes one look at my combats


sighs..........

and says

"mutton dressed as lamb

Maggi said...

We did not have to work as hard, we had better health care and also, what I believe is even more important, the opportunities to be able to discover so much more. I am sure that the mental attitude is a major factor.

Tom Stephenson said...

It's because you yourself has got older, Weaver. This explains why policemen look so young too, and why 40 year-old women now laugh at me on the street.

Toffeeapple said...

My Mother was 43 when I was born, 17 years after her last child. Everything was so much harder to achieve then, just after the war. There was no central heating, the fire had to be started every morning before being able to put the kettle on the fire to boil it for tea, there was grime everywhere because of the coal dust and no vacuum cleaner so more work. Clothes were hand made, meals cooked on the fire, etc. We have so much more leisure time. My Ma was tired all the time. Bless her, she didn't make it past 61.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Have you ever heard of the Nun Study? It's fascinating: Nun Study Link

And you're very welcome for the seeds :) I hope you have luck with them despite your elevation. I grow mine indoors in empty loo rolls before planting them out (rolls and all) towards the middle of June. Maybe that might help you too? The ones which are direct-sown never seem to make it.

Arija said...

Am I the exception rather than the rule? My mother in her late eighties still had a youthful outlook and was always occupied making some some fashionable item, loved having people around her and never complained. She also was an avid reader, walked and used public transport and travelled the world.
My daughter-in-law's grandmother was is her eighties twenty years ago and the most elegant lady I knew, interested in exhibitions and theatre and entertained a great deal.
I also had a painter friend who dressed elegantly and even acquired a new man in her seventies.

The latter two ladies probably had not done much really hard work in their lives but my mother had and it did tell in her face although she never lost her enthusiasm for life until the day she died.

Reader Wil said...

My mum died in 2000 when she was 94. She had been very active and travelled till she had passed 80. I myself am 78 and will be 80 next year. This year I booked a flight to Israel to meet our blogging friend Dina from Jerusalem. I also booked a flight to Australia in July. I still don't feel old, but when I look in the mirror..... ggrr!

Heather said...

I think better healthcare is a factor along with labour saving devices to make housework quicker and less arduous, giving us more time to spend on our interests. Maybe we oldies have gradually decided to grab a bit of the freedom the youngsters were finding so attractive half a century or so, ago.

Titus said...

I think its nutrition, healthcare, far less physical work for women these days but also some really huge change in attitude, which must mean culture too. Individuals expect so much more from life these days, perhaps, and don't give up their own lives to 'hand over' to the next generation.
I can picture my Nan (mother's mother) perfectly, even now - black dress, white collar, white hair, and took to an armchair after breaking a hip. Effectively, she never really moved again, and the front sitting room became her bedroom, complete with dreaded commode. I think she was only about 65 when she died.
Mum is now 84, drives, still loves very stylish clothes and does not 'look her age'.
But in truth, Weaver, it's very hard to pinpoint why such a difference in just a generation.

On the other hand, I frequently feel (and look) older than my mother.

Eryl said...

Somewhere along the line the imperative changed, it seems to me, these days one isn't allowed to get old. So everyone colours their hair, wears fashionable clothes, takes courses, travels... So many more opportunities, but also, probably, pressures.

Grace said...

" unless I get too close to the mirror I even manage to look younger than my age" lol. Maybe it's all the preservatives in our food! If bread can stay so fresh for 2 weeks, why not those who eat it:)

Grace said...

" unless I get too close to the mirror I even manage to look younger than my age" lol. Maybe it's all the preservatives in our food! If bread can stay so fresh for 2 weeks, why not those who eat it:)

Leilani Lee said...

I have a picture of a great uncle (I think) taken when he was 60, and he looks like he is 80. That generation lived through a Depression, they often worked hard at manual jobs (farming, etc). I think they had crummy diets. Hard to say for sure why this seems so, but I think it is more than just because we are now "that age" ourselves that they seemed so old

Cloudia said...

I can't believe I'm over 50!


Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Mary said...

All I know is I'm going to keep on keeping on for as long as I can! At 68 I still feel about 40 and all this travel I'm doing to wild and exotic places seems to be spurring me on. I did work hard until I retired, now I still try to make the most of each day - my mother worked even harder in her day, but always looked fabulous. I like to think I have that same gene. Unfortunately arthritis tempered her movements some later in life, but she visited me here in the USA well into her 80's, and died at 91.

I do think better healthcare via preventative medicine such as wellness exams and lab tests, and good nutrition is very important. Exercise may just be walking but it's moving and that's important.

Stay interested in things, read a lot, even research on the Internet. Go out and participate in the community rather than feel sorry for oneself - don't languish at home as a couch potato, or rock on the porch growing old and bitter in mind as well as body.

Mary - growing old gracefully! Well I'm trying.

P.S. I do sit on the porch with a nice cuppa - but no rocker yet!!!!!

Hildred and Charles said...

I haven't any answers for you Pat, beyond what you surmise yourself. I had my 87th birthday a week or two ago and still feel quite vibrant (most of the time) and busily involved, - I don't think I look my age, and I am still interested in dressing fashionably. I figure it is good luck in having great health, an interesting life, and a superb husband to keep up with!!!

Bovey Belle said...

I think it's probably part mind-set and part better nutrition, less working till you drop. I'm 60 next birthday, but am lucky that my hair is still mostly dark and I don't LOOK nearly 60 unless I haven't slept well and you've caught me before I've put my makeup on! Family genes have decreed I am not too wrinkly yet!

I keep active, and creative and enjoy life (as does my older and well-preserved lovely husband!) Yet when I first met my late ma-in-law (who lived to be 91), she was only 75 and determined to play the "little old lady" role - playing for the sympathy vote in her case, I do believe! Perhaps it IS more than partly in the mind . . .

Dave King said...

I would guess it's all part of the fact that we now age more slowly and therefore living longer. Why are we aging more slowly? Better diet, healthier living and working conditions, better medical care, more knowledgeable about taking care of ourselves, etc.

The Solitary Walker said...

I agree with all of the above, but we're talking in a generalised way here — and perhaps about a certain privileged sector of society (he said controversially)?

I came across loads of people in a cheap supermarket the other day who looked harassed, careworn and depressed. Some young mothers with squalling infants looked twenty years older than their real age; some young, overweight men looked far unhealthier than my father who died not long ago at the age of ninety.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Such interesting comments and all of them good food for thought - thanks.

Rachel said...

I only just read this post but I think it is worth adding that it is also a little bit luck of the draw.