Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Age and Optimism

click on image to enlarge
I happened to be reading another online poll and, as usual, find the results implausible. Many of you that have read my blog for awhile, know I can be  skeptical....especially concerning polls or studies.  For the most part, I tend to believe that most are just a hit-and-miss in terms of accuracy because there is no absolutes when you are dealing with a random group of test subjects.  Anyway...as I was saying there is an online poll done by the Harris Research people that says:  Age 50 is the perfect age.  (click here to read about the poll)

Not to be a naysayer (or a total bitch...call it what you will)  I am not sure that I believe that FIFTY could possibly be the perfect age.  For that matter...could any age be considered perfect???

Thought Number One:  Flawed Poll

First of all nothing about the numbers add up for me.  According to the article younger people chose younger ages, while the older respondents chose ages somewhat younger than their current chronological age. 

The Y Generation (Echo Boomers), ages 18 to 36, thought the perfect age was 38. Gen Xers, ages 37 to 48, wanted to stay put at 49. Baby boomers, ages 49 to 67, thought 55 was pretty awesome. While mature adults, ages 68 and older, were happy to hold steady at 67.

Additionally, on average men wanted to be younger than woman.  Men chose the age 47 as their ideal over the 53 that females chose.  People that had children at home seemed to think 45 was the magic number.


According to the article, Barbara Becker Holstein, a psychologist supported the research and concedes that age 50 is the "sweet spot" as far as aging goes.  She is quoted as saying:

“You have almost every opportunity. You’re young enough to be famous or start an organic farm and still have the muscle tone to work eight hours a day. You’re old enough to have wisdom but young enough that your parents are still alive so you have a generational experience. If you’re tired, you can ask the young man on the bus to get out of his seat for you. Or you can date the young man. The more I think about it, the more appealing it is.”

“I really think 50 is the new 30 to 35,” she says. “For a woman, you can stay stylish and fit and maybe get your hair dyed or just do a little [cosmetic] tune-up and feel, ‘Wow, this is great.’ In terms of childbearing, you can basically say forget it or if you want a baby at 50 or 53, you can get your hormones juiced up and go for it.”

Does anyone out there, other than me think that Barbara must be younger than 50 and she is possibly crazy.

OK...maybe that was harsh on my part.  While clearly, I have never, actually asked a younger person to vacate their seat on public transportation, I don't think the fact I am a Baby Boomer would save me from getting a really dirty look and some serious eye rolling.  AND I don't think I am overstating it that MOST women don't feel that they "would go for it" in considering having a new baby in their 50's.

Let me, also state...There is NO WAY IN HELL that 50 is the new 30-35. I have been 50 and it was  not all that long ago....yes,  I remember it vividly.  I might add that,  I still have fairly accurate recall...and I am telling you that 50 isn't at ALL like 30 or 35.

Thought Number Two:  Optimism versus Reality

Now that I have spewed all my negativity concerning how that study is flawed, I probably should clarify a few things.  I don't think any age can be tied to good or bad.  Perhaps a 100 year old in good health, living a nice life is happier than a 40 year old that is struggling with physical or mental issues.

I have had a real wake-up call this week.

Last Saturday, my friend, Christi,  who has had some health issues needed to get out of the house.  (This friend has been struggling with some health issues for the last year or so and a few months ago, was placed on the donor list as she need her lungs replaced)   Anyway, Saturday, I went over and loaded her car with her oxygen tank as she can no longer step high enough to get into my SUV.  We had a nice Saturday afternoon driving around town just doing nothing.  Driving and talking. Talking about how nice it would be when she got the call that there were lungs for her.  It really is just a matter of time we commiserated more than a few times...as we have been doing for the last 3 months. 

 At about 3:00 PM, I took her home, made her some iced tea and talked about getting together early next week. 

Sunday morning, my phone rang.  The caller ID tells me it's my friend calling.   I immediately think, "Christi got her call that there are some donor lungs available." ...Yes, she is going to go get her lungs...I am sure of it.

But it isn't Christi's voice over the phone.  It's her husband.  Her husband tells me "She's gone".

I am confused.  Why is my friend not telling me that she is on her way to the hospital?.... I question him. "You mean Christi is on her way to get her transplant.  She's left for the hospital???? Why aren't you with her?"

"No, Cheryl...she's gone"  I am numb It is a huge mistake. Clearly someone has made a mistake.

 I know it should of occurred to me but it never did. Not once.  Fifty-nine is too young and we had plans to meet early in the week.

SOOOO...Here is what I think the perfect age is....

It's when you still can spend quality time with your friends and family.

It's when you can make amends for the things that need to be amended.

It's when you still can feel gratitude for the life you've been given. 

It's when you can still find joy in your life and the lives of those you care about.

It's when you can make plans to see your friends tomorrow and be around to make the date.

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CaliforniaGirl500 said...

I was going to leave a smart ass remark about the psychologist who thinks fifty is perfect. But the story of your friend dying stopped me.

I am so sorry. It is too young.

Cheryl P. said...

You are always welcome to leave a snarky comment as they tend to cheer me up. I do think that psychologist sounds like an idiot.

My poor friend...I was naive to not of realized this was a possibility. I think her husband believed that she wouldn't of made it through a bi-lateral lung transplant. The organ donor system takes a long time and she was getting weaker by the week.

Chubby Chatterbox said...

Your post made me think about how old I'd think I was if I didn't know. I feel like I'm around forty-five when in reality I'm sixty. Maybe people are happier in tribes where records aren't kept.

Cheryl P. said...

I can't even pick an age I feel like. I think I have always pretty much felt the same. I don't feel any differently physically anyway. I am feeling more mortal as so many of my friends are facing health issues (or worse).

I like the idea of not knowing what my true age would be because there would be less judgements made related to age if everyone had no idea how old they are. People in their late 50's wouldn't have to dread turning 60 because they would be clueless. Sounds like a nice plan.

The downside might be...when would we know to start applying for our pensions, 401Ks, Social Security etc? I plan on spending it at some point.

Trina said...

I am so sorry for your loss. There's no other way to say it, that sucks. I've lost a few friends along the way and age doesn't matter, it's always too soon :(
To your first thought, I think I'd be happy staying put at 26.

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,
Loosing a friend is always terrible. I am truly very sorry for your loss.

Cheryl P. said...

Thanks, Wolf, I feel terribly bad for her husband. I would think it would be hard to lose your partner after years and years spent together. Tomorrow is her funeral. I expect it is going to be a very sad day.

Cheryl P. said...

My point, exactly, Debra. There isn't a perfect age unless you are living your life. And one can't really know when that life is going to be cut short.

Riot Kitty said...

Oh Cheryl! I am so sorry. Hang in there tomorrow. Wish I lived closer. Hell, I can send chocolate. Let me know.

oldereyes said...

Well, you probably know I have a lot of opinions about this particular topic. As far as the poll goes, the truth is that a well conducted poll can be remarkably accurate, as much as I hate to admit it. But it seems Ms. Holstein looked at the poll results, then arbitrarily picked an age that wasn't picked by any group. And I agree, Fifty is no more the new thirty five than sixty is the new forty. As far as a perfect age, I don't believe in a perfect anything. There have been things I've like about every age and things I've disliked. In many ways, my sixties have been my best years. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.

I like your list very much.


Cheryl P. said...

You are ssoooo making me smile, RK. Funny about the chocolate. My husband is working in Germany for the next couple of months and before he left he bought some bite size dark chocolate candies. Not the great stuff but still...I am talking chocolate here. Normally, I don't eat many sweets but, he might find his stash of candy gone by the time he gets home. A person has to do what a person has to do. haha

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Bud.

As far as polls go,.... It takes a well constructed premise and an even more carefully selected group of participants to get a great result, I think. This group was less than 3 thousand people. You could take four or five groups of 3000 people and ask that question, and I would guess each groups answers would vary a bit. I found it interesting that the Today Show has a box where their viewers can answer the question. They were over 24 thousand this morning and the 30-40 year old age (as being deemed perfect) is slightly in the lead. I did notice that the over 60 crowd is not represented.

I am just getting started into my sixties so, I hope I am saying that down the road...that my 60's were some of my best years.

Rock Chef said...

Well I just turned 50 and I am loving it. For me, I think it IS the sweet spot for ME.
I know that for others it is when everything went to hell, and I still have 11 months of 50 to go so by next summer I might have a totally different story to tell.
But hey, I won't let you sap my optimism! I'm 50 and loving it!

Cheryl P. said...

Oh, I am happy that you are optimistic. I didn't mean to be negative about any age group. My 50's have been good and I have no complaints. I just don't think that a poll can support there is a PERFECT age. I think that varies from person to person. Some people probably have led a charmed life and all ages have been good while others have struggled with issues through all ages as well. I thing the poll is flawed not the age.

I am hoping that if and when I make it to 100, that I think 100 is the perfect age.

Rock Chef said...

Sounds like a plan - let's blog about it when we get there!
Maybe being 100 will be twice as good as 50? :-)

Cheryl P. said...

Wouldn't that be wonderful!!!!

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Aleta. I am thankful for Saturday. It's been a little sporadic lately with our outings depending on how she was feeling and various appointments. But it all came together for us to get together Sat.

It does make a person think that we should be saying the things we want to say to people when we have the opportunity. Which is one of the lovely things about a personal blog like yours....you talk about all the fun and loving things that Greg, little Gregory, your extended family and friends do to make you happy. Not that you are going anywhere but still its nice that they know.

Jayne said...

59 is way too young. One is just starting to get the hang of things and enjoying the rewards of leaving all the insecurities and angst of youth behind. I'm so very sorry, Cheryl. How lovely that you could spend Saturday with her. As for the perfect age, I loved my 40s and my 50s were ho-hum w/a side of shit happens. I couldn't wait to turn 60 and when I did I declared it the new 40. Only it's even better!

Agent 54 said...

The perfect age is obviously 25. You can skate into people and they don't just fall down, they fly. You can stand over top of them and if they have a problem you can roll them up into a little soccer ball and kick them down the street.

Wait,,,maybe I'm the only one here who is a former Marine and Ice Hockey player.

Maybe you should pick your own perfect age.

babs (beetle) said...

I've always said that 35 is the best age to be, but I'm not so sure now. Physically I still think it is, but emotionally, maybe not so. You've gained so much more wisdom and understanding by the time you reach 60 and life seems to become more peaceful.

I am so sorry about your friend. It must have been a shock for you.

lisleman said...

Perfection is an illusion, but a really nice one.
Not being 50 anymore I can relax and not worry about perfection.

Barbara Becker Holstein - oh you were not being too harsh. That quote makes her sound like a total whack-o. What hell is she smoking?

God bless your friend's family. Life is difficult to enjoy all the time. But take the time part completely away and what is there to enjoy? Good post.

Nicky said...

I'd have to say that the perfect age is 2. There's somebody to feed you, clothe you, play with you, hug you, kiss your booboos and tuck you in at night. Your only responsibility is to wake up before the sun, devote every waking moment to the pursuit of happiness and candy and then fall asleep wherever you may land. Yup. 2 is the perfect age. I am so sorry for your loss, Cheryl.

Wendy said...

Oh yes, so agree with you. But 2 is so long past now. Too bad at 2 we didn't realize how good we had it !

Wendy said...

I am so not into polls, either reading or doing them. I skew every single poll I've done. Hum, maybe that is why some of those results seem strange; they found too many of me to participate! I've never asked myself what my favourite colour is etc, and mostly assuredly not, what is the perfect age. The perfect age is the age one is right now. Living this particular age with all that I can do right now, in making it the best time of my life, is doing this age with perfection. I agree with your perfect age list, Cheryl. It is always the perfect time to build relationships, either spending time, or making amends or just plain living As Nicky commented, the perfect age is 2. Why? Because then you are totally immersed in simply LIVING. And that is the perfect way to be, at any age. Warm hug to you after your day at the funeral.

Robyn Engel said...

What a sad, tragic shock. I'm so sorry, Cheryl. I'm glad you spent time with her the day before.

Barbara is a delusional forever-50 year old. The thirties are the best. I had a great decade. It's been downhill fast ever since.


Cheryl P. said...

Thanks, Jayne. I agree that with age comes some "getting comfortable" in one's skin. I have loved things about each decade and NOT liked some things in each decade. Going into my 60's I have become more cynical about things like government but worry less about things like finances. Loved my 20s and 30 era's body but I am OK with the fact you and I wear the same size jeans. (we could have it worse). I haven't formed an opinion yet on my 60s at it's barely started. I hope when I am 70, I will be looking back at it fondly.

abeerfortheshower said...

First off, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Nothing's worse than someone going young. And I don't care what anyone says, anything under 60 is still young.

Second off, well said at the end. I don't think you can put a number on "the sweet spot." And for what it's worth, I never believe those polls that think they can pinpoint the best times of your life. Remember how everyone always says, "Your high school years are the best of your life, so enjoy them!"? Please, that's BS. I don't know a single person who had more fun as a penniless high schooler living with mommy and daddy than as an adult with money, and freedom, and the chance to actually live their lives.

Cheryl P. said...

Agent 54...you are too funny. As I have never been a Marine or a ice hockey player, I have never had the chance do either of those things and am feeling short changed.

I am one of those people that tend to look at all things from the stand point of "the good news is but the bad news is" . I have loved things about every age I have lived and had some worries at every age as well. Over all the good has far surpassed the bad.

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, babs. Yes, maybe I should of seen the possibility but I was just certain she could hang in there until her donor lungs came.

I think if I were to pick an age to be it would be mid to late 30's. Bodies are still resilient, (boobs are still perky), careers are established, not as poor as the 20's, but that is also the time we were raising our kids so there was more stress than I have today. You are right that 60s are more peaceful.

Cheryl P. said...

That is a great line...perfection is an illusion. I have never aspired for perfect. Without some things going wrong.... how would we ever appreciate when things are totally right.

Thank you for agreeing on Barbara Becker Holstein. I would hate to think I am a bitch by calling her out for being an idiot. I suspect she is on meds and hasn't gotten her dosage quite right. That is the only explanation to say that women could still consider having babies in your 50s.

Cheryl P. said...

That is GENIUS. I noticed on the Today Show's poll that no one picked the perfect age as being under 10 years old and only 1 percent picked 11-18. What the hell is wrong with people? Those are the years that you aren't responsible for bills and most of those age groups you can't be charged as an adult.

But back to your pick...yeah..2 is a great age. The very worst thing that might happen any given day is a scraped knee. I think that is brilliant, Nicky.

Thanks,. Nicky.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree, Wendy, we probably can't remember how we felt at 2 but I do remember thinking around the age of 5, that things were pretty wonderful.

Cheryl P. said...

You and I would be the ringers to screw up polls. I don't tend to like a "particular" anything, either. I love multiples of everything. I don't have a favorite color but I love COLOR. Lots and lots of color. I want the box of 64 Crayons not the 8 pack.

The funeral yesterday gave me much to think about. (as all losses do). It's always interesting how people react, what people remember or say at funerals. I felt the need to talk to both of my children after the service.

Another little chapter that is closing in my book but I can only wonder what new chapters are left to be read.

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Robyn. I, too am thankful for Saturday.

I was just commenting to babs (beetle) on that very age group. If I were to pick an age, it would be in my 30s. For me I don't necessarily think my 30s were any better than any other but my body was the best EVAH. Now I have to work so much harder to stay in shape with limited results. I can't believe anything in the 50s is good. Women's bodies start acting out at 50.

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, I agree...under 60 is too young. Now that I am into my 60's I am prepared to say..anything under 75 is too young.

I hadn't thought about that phrase "your high school years are the best". That is a big ole lie for sure. Not only because of the things you listed but all the anxiety that goes with how teens worry about "who likes who" and the insecurities of how they look. Nothing is worse than trying to fit in PLUS there is the added pressure of algebra.

chickens consigliere said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I'm glad you were able to spend time with her. I agree-59 is too young, and age is just a number. But if I could choose my number, it would be 34. I don't buy that 50 is the best age. I'm 50. I also have a hard time believing that people, given the choice to be any age they want, would choose 53. How random is that? I thought Dr. Holstein was kind of funny. Dr. Holstein, 50 is not the new 35 or even the new 40. I"m sorry. Menopause does BAD THINGS to you, Dr. Holstein, and there isn't a dang thing you can do about it except get a little more humble. Which isn't a bad thing. At least, in my case:-)

Cheryl P. said...

thank you.

You and I are so on the same page...menopause is not a woman's best friend. Who would wish for a time of life that your body thinks sweating is an extreme sport and while other parts of your body become the Sahara desert,

I, too think that mid 30's would be my "if I could choose" age. Still young but old enough to have some life experience.

Humble is good for all of us. It's hard to pass off superior when you are sweating onto someones shoes.

Thanks for stopping by, I always love to meet new people.

Riot Kitty said...

Well let me know if there is anything I can send. Seriously!

Linda R. said...

Oh Cheryl, I am so sorry for your loss. That is indeed a wake up call - of the worst kind. You are so right that we need to live today, appreciate our lives and the people around us. I am glad you got to spend that afternoon with her.

I'd pick my 30's too. That was a good time, although now we have the friends and social life we didn't have then.

Thanks for reminding us that life is short and we shouldn't put off things we want or need to do.

Cheryl P. said...

You are just too sweet. Just your reaching out fills me with gratitude. That is more than enough.

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Linda.
The older we get the more evident it becomes that time is to be valued. I think the 30s was a good decade for me as well. Plus I seemed to think that youth would be mine forever. HHMMMM seems that wasn't entirely true. Although emotionally I feel young ...or is that immaturity that I perceive as youth?

meleahrebeccah said...

"Does anyone out there, other than me, think that Barbara must be younger than 50 and she is possibly crazy."

Probably crazy?


Definitely crazy?


Oh, Cheryl. OMG. My heart is breaking for you. I am soooo sorry to read about the passing of your friend.


SOOOO...Here is what I think the perfect age is....
It's when you still can spend quality time with your friends and family.
It's when you can make amends for the things that need to be amended.
It's when you still can feel gratitude for the life you've been given.
It's when you can still find joy in your life and the lives of those you care about.
It's when you can make plans to see your friends tomorrow and be around to make the date.

I am printing and hanging THAT on my bathroom mirror as a daily reminder.

Anon A Mus said...

Immediately after reading your post, pollen or smoke must have surrounded my head, causing my eyes to water. A lot. Yeah, that's what happened. Great post.

Cheryl P. said...

AWWW...you my friend are the best.

I am thinking you don't need reminders on how to cherish your life as everything you write oozes of time well spent with friends and family. Still it seems to all pass so quickly doesn't it?

Cheryl P. said...

That damn pollen or smoke has been plaguing me all week...yeh, I am sure those are the culprits.

Thanks, Anon A Mus...let's hope next week is a great week.

Dexter Klemperer said...

I think you are absolutely right about what the perfect age is! Words to live by.

Cheryl P. said...

Thanks, Let's hope the "live by" is for a really, really long time.