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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

Have you noticed that birthday celebrations are fairly joyous until about the age of 30? People seem to have a good time and not mind having another birthday until then. But at age 30, things begin to change.

This uncertainty about aging is not gender specific. My late husband was not a worrier, but turning 30 bothered him. At the time, I asked him why that birthday was so unsettling. He explained that he had conceptualized where he wanted to be financially and in his career by the time he turned 30 and he hadn’t gotten there. My aging concerns with each additional decade have been tied more to my physical well being. Such as, will it take me longer to clean my house, or if I want, will I be able to push mow my yard? Overall, getting older hasn’t been a big deal around my house. During my husband’s latter years, he would say that he was thankful to see another year.

Some other people’s thoughts about aging are interesting:
• I spent my 30s fixing everything I broke in my 20s. –Eddie Murphy
• At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; at 40 the judgment. –Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac
• Middle age is when work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work. –Author Unknown
• The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down. –T.S. Eliot, quoted in Time, 23 October 1950
• It's important to have a twinkle in your wrinkle. –Author Unknown
• Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative. –Maurice Chevalier, New York Times, 9 October 1960
• Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. –Author Unknown
• You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. –Ogden Nash
• We are always the same age inside. –Gertrude Stein

In an AARP article, Jane Pauley reported that researchers at Dartmouth College and England’s University of Warwick studied people’s level of happiness. Even though individuals varied, researchers found that, on average, the 40’s were the age that people felt most down and discouraged. By age 50, feelings of well-being increased. One Warwick researcher stated, “By the time you are 70, if you are still physically fit, then on average you are at least as happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year-old.”

This finding seemed very promising. Having recently turned 60, I shared the level-of-happiness research with a family member who’s only a few weeks older than I. Her reply was not encouraging. She said that although she had been sixty for a few weeks, she had not yet felt any increased sense of well being.

Attitudes about aging vary. USA Today reported that no matter the age, most people say they aren't 'old' and that they feel younger than their age. For me, I’m just thankful to see another year.

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