Is age just a number? How do you feel about it?

I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately – which isn’t really like me – but I seem to be really drawn to documentaries and true crime. Apparently, I like to unwind by watching something stressful.

Have you seen The Curious Case of Natalia Grace? (I think I watched it on Prime or Hulu.) It was an interesting story but the ending was pretty unsatisfying. It’s about a family who adopted a little girl with dwarfism but in the end, they didn’t know her age. It’s quite possible that she was a very small adult masquerading as a child. I was left unsatisfied because there really were no answers in the documentary – just the mention of an upcoming court case. 

What would it be like to experience childhood as an adult? 

If you could be a child again, would you?

Personally, I wish to remain an adult. Childhood is rough. A budding mental illness coupled with normal growing pains left me feeling fearful and confused. I’m happy to be grown-up and in charge of my own life. As a child, I wish I would have felt the freedom I do now. There’s nothing worse than feeling stuck in a bad situation.

Do you feel and act your age?

I entered a new decade with my 40th birthday last November. I thought I was going to have a hard time with it, but so far, forty’s not so bad. I have a wonderful family and I get to do the things I love to do. I can’t really say that about other times in my life. I’m not as physically fit as I should be, but I get around just fine. Yeah. Forty’s pretty cool.

Should I fear the Golden Years?

Man, I don’t know how to say this nicely. While I’m just fine with being forty, today I realized that maybe I’m a little scared of becoming elderly. I dropped off an order at a local sign shop run by a husband and wife team. The husband took my order and told me to return a few hours later to pick it up. When I showed up later my order wasn’t finished. It turns out the husband has dementia and left. The wife cried when she realized what had happened. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever get my order but I really don’t care at this point. I couldn’t imagine going through that. The wife said they had been in business for fifty years and should call it quits.

I don’t ever want to have to call it quits.


There’s just been a lot in my life right now making me think about age – from myself, from raising my seven-year-old, and from my interactions with others. How do you feel about it? Would you ever want to be a child again? What’s been your best decade? How do you feel about your age right now?


  1. John Morales says

    “Do you feel and act your age?”

    I know the intent of this question, but it’s predicated on local societal expectations about what behaviour is expected at what age.

    Obviously, everyone always acts and feels according to their age — thing is, people are different.

    While I’m just fine with being forty, today I realized that maybe I’m a little scared of becoming elderly.

    The condition of mortality.
    The inevitability of decrepitude, the ineluctable dotage.

    All you can realistically do is postpone it (health permitting) by living healthily and prepare for it best as you can; but it will happen, at some point.

    To be blunt: no, age is not just a number.

  2. Trickster Goddess says

    In one way it’s just a number. I turned 63 last February and I don’t feel that I’m a ‘senior’ (although I will happily accept the discounts I’m now being offered) and I’m nowhere close to being elderly. Like in other things, I refuse to feel or act in specificied ways just because society says I should for purely arbitrary reasons. My best decade is the one I’m in now.

    On the other hand, when that number increments each year, for me it is a joyful celebration that I have survived this long, so far, despite living with mental illness for half a century (as of July.)

  3. brightmoon says

    I’m almost 70 I decided when I was 50 that I was too old to act my age and I m having more fun acting my shoe size. This is one of the reasons I restarted doing ballet again . I simply can’t do what I used to do at 20 but I’m still enjoying it even if it does take me forever to regain some old skills . However, I’m never going to get in a pair of pointe shoes again . You’re standing mostly on your big toe and I don’t feel like breaking bones in my feet . Especially since I had a mild case of Covid toes and my feet are still a little numb . The conditioning , regain of energy and weight loss were worth the very slow buildup. Something that would have taken me a month to learn when I was younger took over a year .

  4. says

    Age is not just a number. Pretty much everyone in my family tree has or has died of/with dementia.

    It’s one of the reasons I am kind of hardcore about electing ageing politicians. Reagan was half incapacitated when he was in office. Feinstein appears to not know where she is. Trump’s idee fixe mindset and speech patterns indicate that he’s got some dementia going on (on top of being a malignant narcissist) and Biden’s verbal slips are not simple verbal slips – his brain is starting to fail. As a society we need to be more careful about not putting people in positions of power, who are no longer able to think clearly. It’s not a joke: some people with dementia experience sudden decision-making changes and severe mood shifts, because their brains are no longer able to govern themselves the way they used to. That’s not a recipe for good public policy.

  5. billseymour says

    I don’t ever want to have to call it quits.

    That’s my feeling exactly.  I’m 76 now; and although I retired from my day job just under a year ago, I still serve on an ISO standards committee which keeps my brain active and gives me an excuse to travel.  I’ll be heading to a meeting in Varna, Bulgaria starting on Wednesday, and I’m looking forward to it.

    John Morales:

    All you can realistically do is postpone [death] … by living healthily …

    I wish I had done that.  I’m one of those fools who hasn’t been able to quit smoking yet; and, unsurprisingly, I have a malignant tumor in my lung.

    I don’t yet have any clear idea about what I’ll want to do about it; but I’m guessing that, at my age, I won’t want to undergo, and recover from, major surgery.  I’m not afraid of being dead (I don’t think that there will be a me to be dead); but I’m pretty sure that I won’t like the process of dying.  That will come inevitably in any event, and I imagine that it’ll be easier if I’ve planned for it rather than it coming unexpectedly.

    Anyway, back to the subject of the main post, I felt reasonably spry through my sixties; but due to a combination of not taking care of my body properly and being mostly sedentary while working from home during COVID, I started feeling old around three or four years ago.

    So, yeah, it’s not just a number; but the meaning of the number varies greatly from person to person.

    • John Morales says

      My sympathy, Bill.

      My mum lasted until her mid 80s, but I very much wonder whether her Catholicism was a factor; her last decade involved serious chronic physical decrepitude and ever more pain relief. Mind sharp as a tack, until the end.

      My wife’s mum lived a bit longer, and her decrepitude not as serious, but it was somehow worse because she suffered from dementia.

      (I’m in my 63rd year, FWTW)

  6. Peter B says

    I would love a “do over” where an old person returns to himself at a younger age. I would keep knowledge of things like 9/11 to myself but would be a better person.

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