What is the desirable age? That is a matter of your perception of age, your life as it once was, your life as it currently is, and your life as you want it to be. The desirable age changes based on where you are in life and your personal life experiences.
When you were a child time moved slow. School started in September and it took forever for Halloween to arrive, even longer for Thanksgiving, and that stretch until Christmas was an eternity. As you got older and had a better understanding of time and more responsibilities time moved faster until suddenly one turn of events led to the next in the blink of an eye and you are constantly questioning where time has gone.
Have you ever found yourself wishing you could go back to the carefree days of your youth? Do you remember a time when you wished you were older? We all experience desires to be an age we are not for various reasons.
As a young child it was exciting to become older. We proudly announced out age, thrilled with the advancement another birthday had afforded us. “I’m Five,” “I’m the oldest,” “She’s too little to do this.”
Proud displays of advancing age and accomplishments. Age brought wonderful benefits. the ability to cross the street by yourself, ride a bike, walk downtown, earn money babysitting or getting a part-time job, driving a car, dating, and the list goes on. Who can forget that ever desired ability to reach the age where you can purchase alcohol? Everyone started their life and lived the first 21 years of their life with the ever present desire to be older.
Then you become and adult and suddenly life hits you smack in the face. You have to work, if in college you may have work and school work. You have bills, responsibilities. Maybe you’ve gotten married, had kids, or both. What happened to those wonderful days of high school that you once desired so much to be rid of? You hit the age of 25, you are now a quarter of a century old. Where has time gone? You’re on a downhill roll, approaching 30. Remember when 30 was old?
Those mid-range years of 30-50, you are working, raising kids, trying to have a life. Time flies by. They tell you to plan for retirement but seriously, when you are only 30 retirement is decades into the distance. Why worry? Spend and enjoy. By the time you reach 40 you are taking life more seriously. Retirement plans are in place and you may even dream of the distant future with ideas about how you will spend your leisurely days of retirement. Realistically you are counting the days with a mixture of excitement and dread until your children move from needing constant care to the teen years where less constant supervision is required but there is the potential for stepping onto the wrong path due to peer pressure and temptation. Then they graduate from high school, enter into college and/or the working world. Will they marry? When will they have children (your grandchildren)?
You have become an empty nester. Some feel lost without children at home. Some enjoy the freedom to once again not have the responsibilities that they have carried for the past 18-20 years when raising a family. You are still working, you still have responsibilities, but you have freedom like you haven’t had since young adulthood. You have reached an age in your life where you may just say “can I just stay here, like this, forever.”
It is a wonderful point in life. You are still young; retirement is a long way off. You can enjoy activities on a larger scale, whether it be travel, boating, fishing, extreme sports, hobbies, or any other thing that captures your attention. Life is a comfortable combination of relaxation and excitement. Some people may desire their youth, some may desire retirement, but overall it is a mid-range point in which time is flying by as you enjoy life.
Retirement age is a combination of state of mind and age from birth. Those born in 1960 or later like me do not reach full retirement age until 67, those born 1959 or earlier full retirement age is 65. Early retirement can be taken at 62. Those ages reflect when you can begin collecting social security benefits. For those who are widowed you can collect widows benefits at age 60, provided you have not remarried prior to reaching that age.
That desirable age depends on where you are in life and what has transpired in your lifetime. What you think is desirable or undesirable now may change depending on what happens in your life. In fact that is what inspired me to write this blog. I was recently talking to someone and told them I have a reached a point in my life when I wish I were a few years older. Why?
I was widowed at 55 but can not collect widows social security benefits until age 60. While I may or may not collect them at that point, it is frustrating to realize I cannot receive that benefit for several years. I have also come to realize that there are numerous discounts on travel, dining, and other perks that I am unable to take advantage of because I am just a few years too young.
Life experiences v. desirable age. At 54 I had no desire to reach retirement age, I liked being younger. I used to joke with my husband, who was nine years older, that getting the senior price for him and having to pay full price for me was what he got for being a “cradle robber.” Ron was already retired but I was employed full time. We purchased a motor home with the idea of me working a few years and then going full-time RV, traveling the country together. Then Ron developed cancer, lost the battle, and I became a widow at 55. I lost 100% of his social security income; I can’t collect widows benefits because I’m not old enough. Live experiences v. desirable age, I am now looking forward to reaching age 60. I may or may not collect at that point, but I know the option is there should I want or need to.
I can not say what someone who is in their 70’s or 80’s desires. I haven’t lived that yet. I know many people in those age groups are very active. Remember age is a matter of the mind. It is my belief that if you think and behave like someone who is younger, your active lifestyle will keep you young, and for that you will have a more fulfilling life.
So what is the desirable age? In reality every age is desirable. Every age has its benefits, its “perks.” The innocence and energy of children, the desires and dreams of youth and young adulthood, the freedom that comes when you become an empty nester, the time and ability to fulfill dreams after retirement. Enjoy your life. You are at a desirable age.