8 attitudes towards old age

8 choices: conversationalist, strategist, redeemer, dreamer, tryer, denier, passenger, manager

8 attitudes towards old age: which are yours and are they working?

I’m thinking about various attitudes towards old age. I’m thinking about people who are Almost Old (which might be you), and how to best prepare for a future when we’re Very Old. Because even at 80, I know I’m not Very Old yet. I’m saving that category for when I’m frail and failing. Of course I see it coming, and after 80 it can arrive in a single cataclysmic day through an accident or a virus.

Which brings me back to these common attitudes towards old age. How about this for a list?

  1. conversationalist (enjoys talking about what old age will be like)
  2. strategist (thinks big and plans for old age)
  3. redeemer (proselytises about aging well)
  4. dreamer (sees old age as opportunity for adventure and growth)
  5. tryer (reads tips about aging well and tries to use them)
  6. denier (is never going to be old)
  7. passenger (takes life as it comes) (I wrote drifter but it doesn’t rhyme)
  8. manager (systematically prepares for old age and micromanages the process)

Don’t think for a moment that I disapprove of any of these attitudes to old age. I know many adorable people in every category. The thing is, we are who we are and we’re all of a piece.

I approach Very Old age like a business project

My own approach is hopelessly nerdy. Inside my private sphere I’m a manager: I’ve made a valiant attempt to prepare for Very Old age in a methodical, systematic, evidence-based manner. I spent a year doing a Boot Camp for the Bonus Years, devoting one month to each of 12 aspects of my life that needed attention.

I set myself Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals, I was the subject and object and lab rat for a 12-month personal project. I started new habits and I changed my environment. I was Responsible, Accountable, Supporting, Consulted and Informed and guess who was the project manager? (OK OK, I know I’m also a dreamer and a wannabe redeemer.)

Now for me personally this Old Age Project, while obviously bonkers, was a huge success. I had such a good time, for one thing. I like projects. I particularly like difficult projects. And I prefer to have slightly too many projects on the boil, so the year of the Boot Camp was good fun for me. (Too bad if it mystified my friends and family.) And as a result of the Boot Camp, I gained confidence: Very Old age is not nearly as scary as it was before, and from research, I know I have far more control over my own old age than I ever imagined. So far, so good.

And yes, the project is agile, and it carries on with maintenance, mini-audits and reviews.

How many people want to treat their own life as a business project?

B*gg*r all, I reckon.

Excuse me, let me rephrase that. I would guess that around two per cent of humans would find this systematic, methodical approach to old age even remotely appealing.

And fair enough. In the immortal words of Judge John Hodgman, people like what they like.

Every approach to old age brings certain benefits. I can see that.

Even so, the wannabe redeemer in me would love to help anyone who struggles with the fact that they are Almost Old, especially as I know this great truth deep in my bones:

When you’re worried, doing something (even the tiniest little thing) brings relief and confidence. Doing nothing increases your anxiety.


17 thoughts on “8 attitudes towards old age

  1. I tried to follow you but somehow your account is locked with me not sure what exactly happened there

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Oh, I am sorry about that. Maybe I should set up a separate email follow button. Have you tried on different devices and through WP Reader?

      1. Yes also for old blogs your comment section is locked somehow, not sure

      2. Rachel McAlpine says:

        I am still getting comments on old blog posts though. It’s a mystery. (On a few older posts I have blocked later comments, true.)

      3. Hmmm may be I was trying to comment on older posts

  2. I would love if you follow my blogs so that I can track you good night and have a nice day

  3. Christine Toner says:

    Brilliant thank you Rachel. A very helpful and clarifying summary. I think you have a business opportunity there, not as the redeemer but just coaching people to prepare. Thank you.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Christine, thank you. I think I could help people get started on their own approach if nothing else. But not as a business 😶

  4. simplywendi says:

    LOVE this!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I should make it a poll, right?

      1. simplywendi says:

        absolutely! 🙂

  5. cedar51 says:

    Mostly I have “drifted along” taking bold steps every now and again, to make my life better. I’m not classed as old in the visual sense but my body has been working on a different standard.If you were to have a poll, I would be hard pressed to answer questions as so much has happened in the last few months, and I’m not sure how much will stay on this level…hard to clarify what I mean. But thanks for having take another look/stance at this arena.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      In such times best not overthink!

  6. Steve says:

    1st day of a new month, and your post has cheered my up no end!
    Thank you

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That was my aim, so I’m happy too.

  7. Geri Lawhon says:

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I will be sure to look at this when I need to boost my spirits.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Geri, I hope you find many things in my blog that will give you a boost, an idea, or support. Do you like the idea of doing my Almost Old DIY course? Or do you have your own approach? Thank you for following!

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