Once upon a time, life was considered pretty much over and done with, when one reached the big 60 in life. Once you turned 60, your life was supposed to be all about pensions and life in the slow lane, but not any longer. Psychology today put forward an interesting theory in a recent article – that the way we age is changing; that 60 is, in fact the new 40.
Consider some supposedly aging celebrities and note how they rock their seventies! Mick Jagger may now have more lines on his face than a Shar-Pei, but he is still very much the rocker.
Jane Fonda may be very much defined as a senior citizen at 72, but she is still churning out fitness DVDs and sports the body that a woman half her age would envy.
Today the age you are, no longer has to limit you â€“ people are going back to school as late as their 50s, they donâ€™t think that 60 is too old to start a new enterprise, triathlons are very much on the agenda; so what if you’re 70! As for sex, why does one have to give that up simply because one is now 80!
Clearly aging stereotypes are changing quickly, as more and more people realize that how we grow old does not have to be dictated by oneâ€™s chronological age or even social expectations; but that how we age can be a personal choice.
A part of the reason for this change in the way that older people perceive themselves is improved life expectancy and better health and health care for seniors today than ever before.But also it is a change in attitude and an increase of self confidence.
In fact this attitude and self belief can be very important indeed â€“ a 2002 Yale University study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that those who had negative ideas about aging and who clung to all the old stereotypes about aging tended to actually have shorter lives!
The study found that those people who looked at aging more positively, tended, on an average, to live about seven and a half years longer than those who had a narrower, stereotypical outlook about aging.Â Perhaps it was that these people tended to live longer because they were able to face stress more effectively or perhaps due to the fact that they simply had a stronger will to live and live better.
There is also the fact that those with an optimistic approach to life donâ€™t contemplate old age with apprehension and they take charge of their health. Taking charge of and accepting responsibility for one’s own health can be an important facet of living longer, because it will mean that one makes wiser and healthier lifestyle choices, lowering chances of suffering from lifestyle related disease.
Older people are more active physically and even sexually than ever before, not letting their age stand in the way of their leading a full and active life; so perhaps 60 is the new 40.