Facing the fear of growing “too old”

Are your afraid of living too long?

Smiling african old man

Researchers with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have just published the results of a study on aging.  The study, which involved a phone survey of 1600 respondents, offered a very interesting piece of data that is grabbing headlines today.  About 1 in 6 younger people (age 18 through middle age), hoped to die before reaching age 80.

When I read this, my initial thought was “whoa!”  However, if we’re honest, we do have to admit that we’ve created a stigma in this country when it comes to age.  The older people get, the more likely they are to be moved to the periphery.  So, the loss of vitality and the potential to be treated like a burden versus an active part of the live of the people we love is a scary prospect.

Also, there’s the real fear of outliving one’s money and facing the quality of life issues that come with it.  The notion of not having enough finances and being too old to do anything about it is also scary.

Still, only one-sixth of respondents felt this way.  This means that hope is far from lost and that, in general, people still want to live as long as they possibly can.  This means that, if you find yourself in this 1/6, you might want to do things that put you in the other 5/6.  Perhaps you need to work on your heath, your finances, your thinking or, possibly, all the above.  We never know how much time we have and we often consider working against the clock out of a fear that time is running out. But, we should also plan for the possibility that we could make it well into our advanced years.

Growing old should be a blessing but, it’s up to us to capitalize upon our opportunity to make our “golden years” ones that we can look toward with optimism.

Written by JP Smith

A self-proclaimed "technologist...with attitude", I'm a forty-something husband, father and IT professional/enthusiast. I believe that learning and growth are lifelong endeavors.