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THE BLOG

Age Is Relative, and Old Relatives Aren't That Old

reported on a recent Pew Research Center report asking people, "What age is old?" If they would have asked me, I would have answered, "Much older than me."
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USA Today reported on a recent Pew Research Center report asking people, "What age is old?"

If they would have asked me, I would have answered, "Much older than me."

And, that's pretty much what many people said.

"No matter what their chronological age, most people say that they aren't 'old' - and that they feel younger than their birthday count," USA Today reported.

My favorite points in the story were the ages people thought were "old."

--More than half of those under 30 thought people are old before age 60.

--Middle-aged respondents said "old" is closer to age 70.

--People who are 65 and older reported that people aren't old until they reach 75.

It's not a surprising study, but it's an optimistic one for Baby Boomers (who may or may not be old, depending on if you ask us or younger people).

Only 21 percent of people between 65 and 74 in the study said they feel old. "And, among those 75 and older, just 35 percent said they feel old," the story reported. I think I know that other 65 percent.

Thirty-nine million Americans (about 13 percent) are currently age 65 and older, and the first of our 76 million Boomers will get there in a couple of years. I guess that means we'll keep getting more middle-aged the older we get -- as long as we're overseeing the surveys.

In my view, the old gray mare is better than she used to be. Gloria Swanson's faded star, Norma Desmond, was only 50 in Sunset Boulevard. Frances Bavier was in her late fifties when she made her debut as archaic Aunt Bee in the Andy Griffith Show.

They were old. We're not.