Can you define ‘left’, and when is someone ‘old’?

It isn’t possible to define left and right without resorting either to a compass (left if west of you are facing north) or employing the principle of opposites (left is the opposite of right).  In similar vein it is impossible to define the points where youth becomes middle-age, and where middle-age become old.

Whilst left and right are absolute, the definitions of old and young seem to vary depending upon the age of the observer.  According to a recent survey the borderlines are at 32 and 54, although the edges seem blurry.  In fact, if you’re 51 (obviously a curious age!) then the young will see you as old whilst those over 80 will still regard you as a youth!

Perhaps, then, the difference isn’t really in what the calendar says but in your outlook? I know some people who are under 50 but have an old mindset and are almost wishing their lives away.  Equally, I have older friends whose outlooks are particularly contemporary and energetic.

So today’s musing is simply this: how do you decide whether someone is young, middle-aged, or old? And what if their perceptions are different?

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