As the omnipresent and ubiquitous baby boomers grow increasingly into their senior years, many generations who once felt themselves to be the youthful contrast to this older bunch are now facing something they never thought they would: aging. Generation X – a term which for many conjures up images of youthful rebellion, punk rock music, video games, and MTV – refers to the population of individuals born between 1965 and 1984. That means that hard though it might be for some to take in, even the youngest of the generation are now about to turn forty. Those who were born at the beginning of this era are in approaching their sixties!
As those who once felt as though they were ‘forever young’ begin to approach middle and old age, they are likely to come up against some of the brutal realities of life that the young rarely think about. In particular, the aches, pains, and difficulties of aging.
Often feared but rarely honestly explored, the way in which age affects our bodies and minds is complex and, occasionally, surprising. Here you can take a look at some of the common misconceptions that surround aging and debunk some of the myths that have been perpetuated about the biological processes of time.
Aging Makes You Miserable
The idea that the older you are, the more miserable, grumpy, wretched, and misanthropic you become is planted very early in life. Plenty of television series and films feature scary or evil older neighbors whose only joy in life seems to come from making everyone around them feel worse.
In fact, recent studies have shown that happiness is likely to grow as you get older and peak at retirement age. This goes against the common belief that the elderly are unhappy: though there are certainly grumpy old folk out there to contend with, their temperament likely has nothing to do with their age!
Your Desire Dries Up
Another common myth that many people have heard about growing older is that your desire to have sex begins to disappear. Perhaps because many of us find it difficult to imagine our grannies and grampas getting it on, the notion that the elderly cease to feel arousal or attraction is extremely persistent.
In fact, the desire for sexual activity goes through natural ebbs and flows over the course of a person’s lifetime. Women, for example, often experience a dip in libido between the age of 55 and 65. Men may also struggle with the physical aspect of arousal – this also influences widespread beliefs around the disappearance of the sex drive. But the physical ability doesn’t always reflect the psychological desire, and many older men are perfectly willing, and capable, with various hormone treatment for men, to participate in sex as much as they did when they were young.
Everyone ages. Even those of us who remain young at heart find ourselves aging in body, and knowing what to expect as you begin to move into your later years can be crucial to maintaining a healthy and happy outlook on life.