30 is the new 20, 50 is the new 40… there’s no such thing as ‘growing old gracefully’ in the 21st Century! Still, with phrases like ‘you’re too young for that’ and – more importantly – ‘I’m far too old for that,’ still being bandied about, we think it’s important to remind ourselves from time to time that age is just a number.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, life expectancy has risen again in the UK. As of October 2011, the records suggest that:
• At birth, men in the UK can now expect to live, on average, to 78.2 years. Women can expect an average 82.3 years.
• At age 65, the average UK male can expect to live a further 18 years, whilst the average woman can expect another 20.6.
• The biggest increase in life expectancy between 2004-6 and 2008-10 was in London, with life expectancy for both sexes – both at birth and at age 65 – rising during this time by well over a year.
Faced with such expectations, and the opportunity to see and do more than ever, those at a later stage in life are thriving more than ever.
According to research by specialists Nielsen, the over-50s are flocking to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as they make the most of technological innovation to stay in touch with family across the world and re-connect with old school friends. The statistics indicate that Facebook use amongst the over-50s rose faster than amongst any other demographic between 2009 and 2011 – by an impressive 84% – and that the number of women aged over 65 using Twitter in May 2012 grew by a staggering 96%.
According to the BBC, the over-50s are also hungry for love, as they re-evaluate their life and plans after the children fly the nest. With years and years ahead to look forward to, many are making grand plans for the future.
So when, then, do you become ‘old’ – if at all?
With the variety of travel opportunities now available, the world really is a smaller place. And the possibilities for exploring – for absolutely everyone, regardless of age – are endless!
In an era of advances in health care and longevity in life expectancy, you’re never too old to experience something new. So, if there’s somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go, or something that you’ve always wanted to do, just do it!
Remember that ‘Bucket List’ of things that you always wanted to see and do? Why not make a start on that list? Head to the ancient beauty of Egypt and discover the majesty of Cairo or Sharm el Sheikh? A short flight can deliver you from the everyday, humdrum life of the UK to the historic wonders of the Egyptian world. And you’ll soon truly appreciate the meaning of old! Or, book spontaneous flights to the floating city of Venice, and marvel at the Renaissance glory as you drift down the Grand Canal in a gondola.
In the hard times we’re currently experiencing, we should all do our very best to enjoy ourselves as much as we can. After all, it’s good for the soul. And that can keep you feeling young forever.
What do you think? Should we be acting our age, not our shoe size? Or should we be ticking off the bucket list before we kick the bucket?