The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Opinion

January 18, 2014

Turning 50 isn’t the big deal it used to be – it’s the new 30

- — A lot has been made this past week about Michelle Obama turning 50 years of age. Big deal!

Several decades ago, turning 50 was a huge deal because life expectancy wasn’t near what it is today. When I was in high school back in the 1960s, I can remember thinking that people who were 50 were “really old.”

But today’s 50 is pretty much yesterday’s 30. OK, maybe 35!

I remember when I was first working at The Herald, people were forced to retire at age 65. Many died a short time later.

Yes, the first lady looks great at age 50. But so do a lot of other people I know. In fact, a lot of people look great at age 60 and 70 and ... well, maybe the term “great” can’t be apropos after that.

Let’s just say people look “good” at 80 or 90.

There was a small ad in The Herald Friday that congratulated Eric Leif Erikson on his 100th birthday. We see more and more people reaching the century mark today.

Supposedly there are 50,000 people aged 100 or more in the United States. They project that by the year 2050, there will be 1 million. No wonder Social Security is in trouble.

Increased longevity can be attributed to better health care, better nutrition and exercise.

Unfortunately, we could be seeing a little bit of a back slide as too many people – especially young people – would rather sit at a computer or engage in social media online, rather than get out and participate in various activities.

They say that the reason golf and bowling leagues have declined in this country is because at one time that was a form of social activity. But today younger people would rather socialize online.

Of course that’s also attributing to the higher obesity level among young people which is starting to drop the life expectancy rate back to about 77.

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