Open Thread

Open Thread Update: Aging Myths and Misconceptions

Last time we talked about misconceptions and myths about aging, and you readers really delivered the goods! There was story after story about you and your late in life achievements…

…like going back to school to get advanced degrees like Eugenia D…

…got accepted into a top 10 school for my Masters degree. There was so much to learn, and I loved every minute of it! Now I am thinking about possibly going for a Phd. Never too old in my opinion!

…or moving across the country, like Margaret F….

My affirmation is “I will find peace and happiness and keep moving .” 77 is a number not a death sentence!! I’m letting go and explore SC and surrounding states

…or writing books like Sue P!

At 73, I’m about to publish my fourth book.


Every comment is a gem, full of inspiration — and Aging with Attitude! There are so many inspiring stories we’ll probably be taking an in-depth look at your achievements, so stay tuned… and keep those comments about your myth-busting coming! What started this all? Read the original column, below:

Aging Myths and Misconceptions

One Sunday afternoon I was chatting with a bartender at my favorite watering hole.  The substance of it was ‘the point of no return” – the point in life when time is no longer the unlimited commodity it was when we were young.

My fella took it to mean the point at which a personality is not going to change – if a person is a selfish prick at 50, they aren’t going to become St. Francis at 55 or 60.

I took it to mean the point at which it’s too late to get fundamental life infrastructure in place – if you don’t have a house by 50 or 60, it ain’t gonna happen; ditto retirement.

50 or 60 was too late to do things like go back to school or get a second career

Myths about Aging

But the bartender – a guy about 30 – said 50 or 60 was too late to do things like go back to school or get a second career.  I quickly disabused him of that notion. After all, Senior Citizens Day is coming (August 21).

Now, he’s a nice guy and I don’ think he was ageist – at least not intentionally.

But that got me thinking about the myths and misconceptions younger people (or even our younger selves) had about getting older.


What misconceptions and myths about aging have you held, encountered or had to correct? Let us know in the comments!

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send  Open Thread suggestions to


39 responses to “Open Thread Update: Aging Myths and Misconceptions

  1. Just turning 74, I can’t wait to be 75!!! I’m so excited! My husband and I keep busy volunteering at Buckley Space Force Base and Wings Over the Rockies as Mr & Mrs Santa Claus. I play pickleball 3 times a week while he walks the dog around the lake. Since Senior Planet has come to Colorado, we have attended classes and now I volunteer at the front desk welcoming people to the facility. We also keep busy with family and neighbors. We don’t know how we had time to work – retirement is fun!

  2. I retired at 59, BA at 62, married for the 3rd time at 65 and was an active volunteer. Then Covid came. I became a couch potato My husband passed. And I have done nothing but sit in the recliner. I am even bored with TV. I am not depressed but I don’t cook for myself, have moved to a new place and haven’t been interested very much in trying to make new friends, or going to church or exercising. At the age of 81, just waiting to escape the government fussing and violence go to heaven

  3. In my experience, a person can continue learning and experiencing as long as they wish.
    I went back to school at age 54 and earned my bachelors degree. I then had the opportunity to work at a college, as well as be self-employed. After 5 years I applied to grad school and got accepted into a top 10 school for my Masters degree. There was so much to learn, and I loved every minute of it!
    Now I am thinking about possibly going for a Phd. Never too old in my opinion!

  4. At 73, I’m about to publish my fourth book. I’m also co-creating an online membership community geared to the boomer generation. Rather than rocking chair retired, I’ve decided to re-tire myself – not sure if I want Monster truck tires but a nice new tread for sure! I’ve learned to pace myself so I can include all the fun I have along with meaningful work. As George Bernard Shaw (I think it was) once said, “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.”

    1. Hi Sue, I’m 82 and would love to continue working on a collection of love emails between my husband of 1 1/2 years, and our courtship. It’s a truly beautiful love affair in our senior years. You have a headstart on me but this is my dream . I just need the dicipline and stick to it tiveness. Do you have any words of encouragement for me? Thank you.

      Sweet blessings,
      Frances Pennacchia

  5. Great article — I wish you could discuss practical options for those living on Social Security. I would love to get a MAT but the total is $30,000. I feel the desire but the pressure of spending that amount is real. I get the FAFSA, pay for the transcript and then freeze. I would love to take something at the community college and get a job beyond $15.00!

    1. Don’t cut your hair just because of age. Back when we were young the rule was cut it after marriage or first child or mid-20s — approximately all the same age. BS!
      You could try on a wig and see if you like the look better and then decide — or buy the wig for when you want a change. Or just get your bangs cut?

  6. I started my third career — writing and speaking about senior sex — at age 61, and I’m almost 80 now and still love my work. As long as we keep learning, dreaming, and going after our dreams, age does not limit us. It’s never too late to learn something new, try something new, reach for something new.

  7. Changing careers as a senior is possible. At age 51 I changed careers and went back to school to obtain a library certificate from a community college. I did an internship at an archive, worked as a student worker in 2 libraries, as well as volunteered at another. All this led to becoming the library directory of a small library at age 53, then working at a university library and a national park archive. As a teen, I wanted to work at a library & archive. Hard work for a senior but achievable.

    1. I am 81 and will complete another Master’s Degree in Dec. in Thanatology! There are so many places and people I will help with my new knowledge! It’s been hard and challeging but I did it in one year – my brain works so much better than it was working!

      1. Hi Susan, I am 85 this year and my husband died in 2005, I was 66. I went to a widowed support group in the area. Long story short, helped out facilitator, did facilitating, was asked to take over Outreach program. Did and completed study with Alan Wolfelt at Center for Loss and Life Transition in Colorado to receive Death & Grief Studies Certification. I have been a facilitator for 13 years as a volunteer. I love the study of Thanatology. Our program was originally chartered by AARP in 1979

  8. Hi, I am 73 and am still very active with lots of “projects” physical and mental. Of course I make modifications to suit my age but all of my basic capacities are still in place. Yes, the point at which one realizes that life has a now tangible conclusion is challenging, but it is certainly managable. I remember back to when I sent my summeras at summer camp (two months) and how the last week always had a kind or golden aura where everyone felt the end of the season creating a sense of closeness

    1. The Open Threads are meant to be observations about aging that invite others to share their thoughts and experiences. However, that’s a great idea for a different type of article. Thanks for the comment!

    2. What better “research” that actual examples? I’m 71 and reinvented myself 4 times since I turned 53
      Be excited about a challenge and with that mindset you will excel. Change your mind change your life sounds corny but is so true. The only limits we as seniors have are the ones we put on ourselves. Loving life everyday. Choose to be happy and joyous. It’s really that easy Life is where you put your focus. Aim high!

  9. I’m 68 & play competitive softball at least twice a week. I also manage an 80 acre property so I spend most of my VA days outside. I don’t plan on slowing down. I thoroughly enjoy retirement being able to travel when I want. Hopefully younger people see me & don’t get worried about getting older.

  10. I’m 79 1/2. I’m not old. I’m experienced. I’ve had many varied experiences, traveled to 26 different countries, served in the military, owned my own business, worked for a major communication company and actually started earning my own money at age 12. Lost my wife 3 years ago so don’t travel anymore but I’ve got a tee time tomorrow at 1:54. Don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself, get out and do things.

  11. I think it’s a myth that you’re as young as you feel. Your body is a certain age. Maybe you’ve taken good care of it and it’s younger than your birthdays. Or maybe the opposite is true. But it’s also true that physically, we all have a shelf life. Eventually we start to wear out. The trick is to rise above the discomfort, indignity, and uncertainty and continue to be the person we want to be until the end.

    1. I so appreciate your last comment. My husband at age 50 feels as if he is at deaths doorstep. Working in the field of aging for 25 years I struggle with his perception. Trust that the next conversation we have about getting older will include this nugget of truth!

  12. I believe we are pretty much capable of doing or learning anything at any age. As long as our bodies cooperate with us! It’s not a waste to learn something new or try just because we gotten gray hair and wrinkles. Some older ones are resistant to learning technology (I think) because they believe they will never be good at it because it changes so often. I don’t feel I have to know it all, just enough to be able to make it do what I want. And thank goodness for Google!

  13. I have a mantra. It is: I’m going to live to be 120 and die in my sleep peacefully. That is, unless I’m able to still enjoy my life, be productive, and in service. If that’s the case, then I’ll live longer. I’m 71 and I have too many things to do, see, and accomplish.

    Age is only a number. Old is a state of mind.

    Continue making friends of all ages; be curious; be open minded, don’t get stuck in your ways; continue learning; be aware; read; pay attention to everything. ENJOY LIFE!

    1. In 2020,I moved from my home Colorado to Idaho because of covid, and my sister and I are 60+. I am glad I did! But I left my home of 40 years…I am starting over.
      I get stuck sometimes, am hard on myself because I am unemployed, and miss my close knit community, but I keep interviewing, upgrading tech skills, sharing a new home one day at a time…thankyou for reminding me to keep moving forward…

      1. I’m moving back to South Carolina after 55 years living in California. I’m 77 and my husband is also. I’m excited about going home and finding a new home to buy. My husband will not declutter his life and wants to take material things because he can’t let go. My affirmation is “I will find peace and happiness and keep moving .” 77 is a number not a death sentence!! I’m letting go and explore SC and surrounding states and leave my hubby to ticker with his things!!

  14. I will be 79 in October. seventy – eight is/has been a rough year health wise, though thankfully nothing terminal. My husband will be 74 next month and was diagnosed with Prostate cancer earlier this year. (in our opinion, if you’re going to get a cancer after 70 this is not a bad one to get. He will be starting radiation next month) I think we are both pretty vital, active and enjoy all the things we always did, especially travel. Who knows what the next years may bring but today we enjoy!

  15. When I took my MacBook into the local Apple store for repair, I listed for the very young man helping me all the things I had already tried to make it work. He said, with a fake amazed voice, “Why, you are an apple genius yourself! “ I told him dryly that I could Google. I didn’t say what I was thinking, which is that I learned to code before he was born. (The second time he called me “my dear,“ I told him I wasn’t his dear. He acted shocked that I was offended.)

    1. I know exactly how that feels. I’m 75, programmer for many years, then into management with major companies. (4 degrees, recently ’79 – with a 4.0 GPA).
      Due to union rules, I lost my job at 73. Looking for a position was eye-opening. I had over 39 interviews without an offer. One company suggested I apply as a typist. I was lucky to find a position in IT with a school system. I keep myself centered by reminding myself that students that dropped out of computer science became teachers!!

  16. A vendor at an antiques fair today told me that she was 70 and therefore too old to learn to use Venmo. When we were having problems because there was virtually no cell signal she said we should find a young person to make it work. This infuriates me. Young people are not born knowing how to use technology and older people are not incapable of learning to! Older people handicap themselves by believing they can’t do it and so they don’t try.

    1. OH’Wow Nancy!
      Say the truth Girly,I love it!❤️
      I’m 51,52 in October!
      Mom died of a brain-tumor in 2019,2Days before Christmas..
      I’m an OnLy-child,No Friends/Most-People don’t kno how to value Friendship!
      Take care ✨

      1. Neenah, sorry about losing your mom. I’m 64 and I’ve learned to have different people in my life for various reasons. I have 1 good friend from HS and even them our lives are different. She has a husband and I am divorced..
        Join groups who do the things you enjoy and friendships will come. They can’t be forced.
        Learn to enjoy the associations. Some people are only meant to be in to be in your life for a season.

      2. You are still young! Find things that interest you! There is so much out there. Maybe join a senior center, find a church group out there! I am 76, going on 77. Came over here from Germany in 1971. Twice divorced and now I enjoy my freedom!!! I do often things by myself that I like.

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