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View Poll Results: What is your age range?
13-17 1 0.56%
18-24 7 3.93%
25-29 31 17.42%
30-39 57 32.02%
40-49 44 24.72%
50-59 32 17.98%
60-69 4 2.25%
70+ 2 1.12%
Voters: 178. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 15 2012, 11:32 AM   #1
J. Allen
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What is it like getting older?

I'm 32 years old. I remember what it felt like to be 25, 18, 16, 13, and so on. When I was in my teens and early 20's, I had energy, drive, stamina, and the willingness to work very hard to attain a goal. My 30's feel different. I feel 'older'. I feel more run down. I feel exhausted, to be honest, like I'm burned out. Granted, I do have chronic health problems and that adds to the general 'feel' of being older, but at the same time, I know getting older doesn't have to be a negative thing.

People twice my age, and older, are living full lives. Yet somewhere in my head, there's this idea that once I get older, life won't be as pleasant, or as sweet, but I don't believe that (or I should say, I choose not to believe that).

So talk to me about your experiences. If you're older than me, and wish to share what it feels like, please do. If you're younger than me, feel free to share how you feel. There is no ageism here. Every age is valid, and everyone is free to participate.

I have a poll above just to get an idea of the board's demographic.
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Old October 15 2012, 12:03 PM   #2
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Re: What is it like getting older?

I just turned 22, and getting older feels like crap. I went from college life which consisted of night classes, staying up until 6AM, sleeping until 3PM, screwing around all day and doing a little homework now and then, to the horrible reality of having to get a FULL TIME job, move out, pay bills, do laundry, feed myself, being a boring adult with adult responsibilities.

I can look at myself at 15 and say that I have better judgement and taste in things, and that I'm a little smarter in general, but my mentality probably hasn't changed a lot. I'm still basically a child. And I still haven't found a job. So I'm like, desperately clinging to these last few months where I can sit around and do nothing. I am focusing really hard on leisure.

I feel pretty unmotivated. Disillusioned. Not energetic in the slightest. I have this uncontrollable urge to just enjoy life for what it is and not drive myself crazy chasing after goals that don't mean much to me. I'm probably going through my quarter-life crisis.

The worst thing is, my 22nd birthday was the first one I've never looked forward to. I can do everything now. Drink, smoke, drive. Found out all of those things were meh. What's even left? Joining the AARP at 50? Collecting social security?
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Old October 15 2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Re: What is it like getting older?

It's terrible getting older. You are beset by pains, exhaustion and crippling ennui. If no one loves you once you are older you can forget about it, no one will ever love you now because parts of your body are sagging and inflating and lets face it, the world is a very shallow place. Whatever it is you are doing right now, flaked out in some dog hair covered arm chair thinking about your shitty job well THAT IS IT. Your life. You don't get to make different choices once you are older, whatever you screwed up before this is never going away. Suck it up and start investing in an afterlife because that's your only hope of deep and satisfying fun times. Fun right here, right now as you get older is just you trying to remind yourself that stuff was once new and exciting, before exciting was having excellent fast food to consume in front of the tv. Because you're too fucked from your shitty, lonely, flabby life to even think about finding something out there that doesn't seem like stuff you ran out of steam for years ago. Also, you need your sleep.

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Old October 15 2012, 12:45 PM   #4
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Re: What is it like getting older?

I'm 34. I don't feel old by any meaning of the world (and in fact, I am old not by any stretch of the imagination). I do feel different from when I was 14, or 24, but I don't experience it as a bad thing.

I have to be more careful with my body than I was before (hangovers in particular seem to be much worse, and I must take care to warm up before engaging in sports otherwise I might pull something painful). And I am somehow painfully aware that my mind is not as sharp and quick as the utterly brilliant machine it was in my mid-twenties.

But otherwise, I do feel more satisfied, more laid-back, and more in charge of my life than I was ten years ago. Ready to take on different challenges and experiences. I give less of a shit of what people think, and I am more self-confident than I ever was. I may lack the nervous energy of my youth, but on the other hand, I do lack the nervous energy of my youth, which is kind of a relief.

All in all, I feel good. Maybe that's how being old should feel.
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Last edited by iguana_tonante; October 15 2012 at 01:45 PM.
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Old October 15 2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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Re: What is it like getting older?

You don't feel any different. You just have a few more aches and pains. You realise you're never going to drive through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in your hair. You remember being 25 but not what you had for breakfast and your attention
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Old October 15 2012, 01:00 PM   #6
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Re: What is it like getting older?

It sucks.

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Old October 15 2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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Re: What is it like getting older?

I see what Monday mornings do to old people.
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Old October 15 2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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Re: What is it like getting older?

I'm 48. Apart from the wear and tear of a physically demanding job (arthrosis, stiff muscles, slipped discs) I feel rather well. My hair is getting a lot thinner, though, and my skin is dryer and is beginning to wrinkle. And gravity is taking its toll on my secondary sexual characteristics

The burnout seems to be something typically 30-ish. Been there, done that, survived. As you get older, you learn to take things less seriousely and leave your troubles at the office when you go home. Gallows humour helps a lot, too.

What irks me most is the fact that I need reading glasses. I moved recently and it's really unnerving if you need the normal glasses for finding a screw and the hole it's supposed to go into and then have to switch to the reading glasses to be able to get the first into the latter.

Also, there's this rumour that older people need less sleep. In my experience older people *get* less sleep (but need just as much or even more). I wake up every 2-3 hours, turn around and go back to sleep again without problems. Still, the interrupted sleep is not as refreshing as 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep would be.

What really has changed is my time of activity. While I used to be an evening person, I now wake up around 5:30 and start work at 6 am. And I often go to bed at 9 pm.

On the whole, I've always liked the age I just happened to have. Funnily, the image I have of myself is still about 24 and I am always a bit surprised when I glimpse my reflection in a shop window. I'm not sure if the 24 year old inside me is my inner child (or inner twen, rather) or my immortal sense of humour
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Last edited by rhubarbodendron; October 15 2012 at 01:38 PM.
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Old October 15 2012, 01:15 PM   #9
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Re: What is it like getting older?

I'm still 17, but when I get to 18 I just want to stop there. I mean, what's there to look forward to? My future is uncertain, and I can't do what I really want to do (music) because the industry is so hard to crack and I'm not sure how far I'd get by myself. I'm trying for a 'safe' career but that only depends on how well I can do in my Physics and Maths, and frankly, although I have a fair amount of talent for them, I'm just sick of cold sterile calculations. I already have regrets and I'm sure I'll make plenty more mistakes before long.

And even though I'm not very old at all, I still don't like the idea that the 90s was 20 years ago. It's always been 10 years dammit!
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Old October 15 2012, 01:37 PM   #10
Haggis and tatties
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Re: What is it like getting older?

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
I see what Monday mornings do to old people.
Get off my lawn.

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Old October 15 2012, 01:53 PM   #11
Location: Detroit
Re: What is it like getting older?

Being 28, things that I used to be insecure about don't bother me any more, and things I'm insecure about now probably aren't that big of a deal. I've figured out what I want in life, and have somewhat figured out how to get it. Even if I'm feeling like life sucks at a given time, I know it's temporary. So, things are awesome, even when they're not awesome.
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Old October 15 2012, 02:15 PM   #12
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Re: What is it like getting older?

Age is a strange thing to ponder for me, really. I recall something once said by an author of note (I'm pretty sure it was C. S. Lewis) about how part of him was 40 when he was 8 and part of him remained 8 when he was 40. I'm 22 at present, and I feel very old indeed, but I also feel disturbingly infantile sometimes. Part of me feels guilty over feeling old, due to how ridiculous that must sound to anyone who's 40, 50 or 60, and not 22, but I honestly think personal growth, life experience and outlook make subjective feelings of "age" very flexible, regardless of how advanced in years we are.

On the one hand, I'm used to feeling older than I am. I was a very fast developer as a child, and I was always "ahead" of my years, in various ways. In primary school, I was basically the classroom assistant. The other children would raise their hands and ask the teacher if I could come over and help them. It stopped me getting bored, made me feel useful and apparently it was a help to the teachers. I always developed quickly, and was always extremely "responsible" for my age. I'm told how I sometimes got impatient with adults for their foolishness, how I basically acted like a little adult myself much of the time. In adolescence that was even more the case - I was explicitly told at age 14 by my closest teacher that "it's like having another adult in the room". At around the same age, I was sometimes told without exaggeration and in full honesty that I'd do a better job organizing the school departments than some of the teachers who actually held those responsibilities. By 17, my nickname among family was "old man", not because I'm a Joined Trill but because that was apparently how I acted, how I came across. My physical problems probably played into that; with what I've now learnt is probably fibromyalgia, I started suffering great fatigue, stiffness, aches and pains, and I simply didn't have the energy to be in any way an active person.

To be honest, I feel somewhat "cheated" of my youth in that regard. When I hear older people speak of how they miss the energy and freedom of their younger years, it saddens me, because I don't have that now. And on top of that - and really not meaning to turn this into a woeful moan, so sorry - my psychological and self-identity issues left me feeling like my life was essentially over. That I was burnt out, that I'd had my run and it hadn't worked out, and now there was only the wait for death. It's most frustrating to be waiting for death at age 18, because it seems so very far away. But I was so tired, so beaten down, I'd lost faith in everything and was basically wallowing in near-total apathy. I still managed to work hard enough to win me much favour from my university tutors and to graduate easily. But that was more a compulsion than an actual desire.

At the same time as I felt (and feel) so old, I also felt (feel) incredibly infantile. Partly because emotional memories are so vivid for me, I still feel trapped in a state of young childhood - frustrated, under the power and control of forces I can't stand up to. I sometimes respond poorly to stress, etc, because it's difficult not to feel as I did then. Like many of the posters here (indeed, like many people in general), the economic situation means that even with the backing of the country's top university I have little hope of finding work that will let me leave home or feel in control of my own life. And because I can't escape the sense that I'm pressed in by the same forces and attitudes that defined my stressful childhood, I find that I still "fall back" into being that child. In fact, I would say that sometimes I honestly do respond to things like a young child would - with the ultimate irony that when I was actually a young child I'd never have acted that way. The 22-year-old me has thrown more tantrums than the 3-year-old me.

I've tried to turn my perceptions around, to tell myself that I'm an adult, but that I also have a whole life ahead of me, that I can climb out of my current identity and enjoy myself, make something worthwhile. That maybe in 10 years time I'll be in a better place, and that I'm lucky enough to have "10 years later" as almost a guarantee (within reason). I just need to "grow up", and I don't mean that in a self-patronizing way. I mean I need to overcome the paralysis that defined my childhood and adolescence, the fear of expressing myself lest it invite censure and make me feel worthless. That's a difficult journey to make, though.
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile, and nothing can grow there. Too much, and the best of us is washed away.
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Old October 15 2012, 02:44 PM   #13
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Re: What is it like getting older?

36, feel fantastic.
So it goes.
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Old October 15 2012, 02:48 PM   #14
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Re: What is it like getting older?

Weird, I'm 43 and found that over the past decade or so I've been fitter and more energetic than I ever was in teens and 20s...
"I got two modes with people- Bite, and Avoid"
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Old October 15 2012, 02:52 PM   #15
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Re: What is it like getting older?

Getting older is only bad if you're fighting it, pretending you are younger than you are. Otherwise, it is what it is. Another stage of life. It's what you do with it that counts.
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