60 isn’t the same as it used to be

In my peer group, most of us are still working, and will likely continue to do so for another five to 10 years

  • Sep. 21, 2012 8:00 p.m.

When I was in my 20s, I viewed 60 as the precipice of life and death.

Most of my elderly relatives passed away in their 60s and so the expectation at that time was you’d retire, take a trip or two to Florida in the winter and drop dead at a buffet restaurant with a heart attack.

I recently turned 60.  My perception has changed.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have the possibility of dropping dead of a heart attack in the next 10 years; lots of people still do that in their sixth decade.

But I don’t feel like it’s inevitable.

I won’t say 60 is the new 30, but it’s certainly a new 60 compared to 30 or 40 years ago.

Aside from the changes in medical technology that have allowed us to find and solve problems with our circulatory system in a more timely fashion, that is, before the heart attack rather than after it, we’ve also learned a lot more about lifestyle changes that benefit us.

The new 60-year-old recognizes that with a decent diet and a regimen of regular exercise, there’s another two or three decades of life ahead.

It was not uncommon, when I was young, for newly retired men to buy the reclining chair for the living room and sit all day either watching television or gazing out the window.  With the fear of imminent heart disease looming, they tended to opt for rest, and we all viewed retirement as a time to put one’s feet up after a life of hard labour.  Today’s new retiree is much different.

Most have not had a life of hard labour and so their body is not completely worn out.

In fact, most have been exercising their brains more than their bodies and so they have a variety of interests that they are anxious to pursue once they have the time to do so.

The recliner, bought as a retirement gift by family, friends or co-workers, may well develop a coating of dust when the newly retired individual finds him or herself busier than ever.

In my peer group, most of us are still working, and will likely continue to do so for another five to 10 years.

Even so, there are some pretty elaborate post-retirement plans being developed that have nothing to do with gawking at the television or watching the cars drive by the house all day.

In essence, the new 60 has some medical help in providing a better health perspective during retirement, but even more than that, there is a fundamental shift in the mental perspective.

If the cliché, ‘you’re only as old as you feel,’ has any truth to it, then most 60-year-olds are benefiting from the fact that they view themselves as still being youthful. This is, in fact, part of the reason that many are working well into their 60s; they just don’t feel like they’re old enough to retire and they continue to believe they are contributing to their workplaces in a significant manner.

At one point, not too long ago, I think society viewed 60 as the time when one was considered ‘over the hill.’

Now, at the age of 60, many people are just strapping on their climbing gear, heading to the peak.

It has redefined our perception of ‘old age’ and, frankly, posed a significant challenge to a national pension program that was built and funded on the perception that 60 was, in fact, the beginning of a short period of government dependence.


Graham Hookey writes on education, parenting and eldercare (ghookey@yahoo.com).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students in Garibaldi secondary’s music program rehearse for Swing into Spring. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge high school adding a spring to their step

Swing into Spring concert to raise money for the Garibaldi secondary’s music program

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of Maple Ridge man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge still driving more, taking transit less

A sign to students outside Pitt Meadows secondary. The school is not currently listed by Fraser Health as having COVID-19 exposures. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Four more Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows schools exposed to COVID-19

Cases at three public schools and Maple Ridge Christian

Born and raised in Maple Ridge, Ernie Daykin is still astonished at this community’s beauty. He recently captured this image of the snow covered peaks of the Golden Ears in the background, and cherry blossoms in the foreground. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View of Golden Ears from many different perspectives

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read