What is Old?

With JB’s big birthday approaching, the word ‘old’ has been thrown around in the last few months bringing with it several discussions with different folk.

Old:  Adjective – having lived for a long time; no longer young OR belonging to the past; former.

Does someone’s definition of old change dependent on the age of the person asked?  During our trip to Spain earlier this year, I asked my step-daughter and her friend what old was.  JB and I were surprised by their comments.  They said that they are striving to be ‘older’.  To be 18…a land where you can drive, drink, vote and have more freedom.  Essentially a place where you can come and go as you please and start to live your life as an adult.  18 was not considered ‘old’.  OB’s friend said that 80 was pretty old however if you still had all your ‘faculties about you’ then was it really old?!

When asking the under 10’s, my niece said that 80 is definitely old but you’re only old when you get there so we’re all safe for a while! My friends boys said that it’s when something’s falling apart (like castles) and for people it’s when you’re wrinkly!

Our neighbour suggested that society has labelled retirement and drawing your pension as old as you are classed as an OAP but 65 isn’t old in comparison to others.

I heard a quote recently (although I fail to remember where from…) ‘When people start stopping, that’s when they start getting old‘.

My Mum said that when she looks at the age she is now compared to when her Mum was the same age there is a difference.  Without being able to pinpoint an exact ‘thing’, Nan just seemed older when she was in her 50’s.  Small things like fashion for my Mum now compared to my Nan in her 50’s is very different.

However, do we use the word old too often?  Someone might compliment a new piece of clothing but how often do we say ‘oh, it’s really old?!’ (meaning it’s probably from last year). However…my Dad has a holiday shirt that must be taken away every year despite it falling apart – that is old!!!

So what do I think is old?!  For a person, it’s a state of mind – if you’re still active and able to live the life you want then age is just a number. On the other hand there are days when I feel old…at the grand age of 36! To me, old are the things that have been around for a lifetime and will still be there in a lifetime; the ancient pyramids of Egypt, the Roman Baths in Bath, the Trevi Fountain, the Sacre Coeur (the list goes on).

Trevi Fountain Rome

My cousin quite rightly pointed out that a Nokia 3210 is old!

What are your thought’s on ‘what is old’?!


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