Is 53 years old and is considered old

Generations series - It doesn't hurt: what it's like when you turn 50 and don't even notice

It doesn't hurt: what it's like when you turn 50 and don't even notice

As a teenager, I swore to myself that by the age of 50, I would not be a philistine. I've been fifty for exactly 50 days ... and far from becoming a philistine. At least I think so with sparkling conviction. However, if you ask my 19-year-old twin daughters, the case is not that clear.

Leave me alone, you know-it-alls! Celebrating your 50th birthday is terrible. Why can't you just congratulate without asking this one question: How do you feel at fifty? I steadfastly refuse to think about it for a second.

Unfortunately not a good idea as an answer. Sounds like a crisis of meaning. So much so that the wife suspects the first signs of age depression. That the colleague asks when I'll run my next marathon. And that the boss asks you to write about what it's like at fifty as part of this series. After all, there are enough topics. To be no longer in demand on the job market. The first signs of physical wear and tear. Or the inner emptiness when the children become fully fledged. A fairly negative range of topics. Don't you agree?

Generation series

The Swiss are getting older and older. There are generations living at the same time who have been socialized in completely different ways. How do the different age groups tick? What is her attitude towards life, what is she happy and what occupies her? In a series we follow the generations. Today: The 50-year-olds, described by sports editor Rainer Sommerhalder. Tomorrow, editor Rita Kohn will describe what it is like when the number 60 comes closer.

Published so far:

- The 30-year-olds: Doubt gnaws, time is of the essence

- At 40 women are too busy to have the crisis

According to the public perception, turning fifty must be bad. A kind of disease that is incurable. A moment when disintegration ignites the turbo. I don't think my refusal to think about it stems from an inner fear. Perhaps the trained psychologist sees it differently. Would even advise me to go to his practice. To speak of a serious life crisis. Advocate for confrontation with the topic rather than for repression. But I say: being fifty doesn't hurt! At least not on the psychological level.

I've worked for the same company for 30 years, worked for the same sports club for 25 years and have been with the same woman for more than half my life. I would describe myself as constant and reliable. And I have certain principles. What I do, I do out of conviction. That's how I imagined at the age of 20 how my life could go and what is important to me in it. Of course, not everything turned out the way I imagined it to be. I'm neither a millionaire nor do I drive a Corvette. And I certainly don't live in California.

I feel like I just got out of puberty. I look forward to life.

(Source: Rainer Sommerhalder)

But the guard rails of my development have remained valid over the past 30 years. And what I particularly like personally - I still think and feel like I was 20 years old. Back then, when I was sampling older people, I asked myself what would go on in you when you were fifty. Can you feel the wear and tear? Are you looking for an escape from old age? Do you even plunge into a crisis?

Today I know: Basically nothing has changed. I feel like I just got out of puberty. I look forward to life. I have plans and goals and maybe even more dreams than I did then. Even the Corvette has not yet been ticked off. Only now, my life experience tells me that it will probably end as a dream too.

Reading tip for fifty-year-olds

Robert M. Pirsig: "Zen and the art of maintaining a motorcycle"

Unfortunately, this book, with which Robert Maynard Pirsig was successful, became a “cult book”. He had no objection to the success, but the label bothered him. The work was intended as a serious contribution to philosophy. And it was read as a “road movie”, as a journey to oneself or whatever people in 1974 (when it came out) and have been bothering them ever since.

Why people in their 50s should read it also has something to do with it. Started as a story of coming to terms with a life crisis - the highly intelligent, highly talented Pirsig had trouble with the US university and spent some time in a nervous sanatorium - which was to be mastered on a motorcycle tour with his son across the country. The story is about driving, camping and dealing with the inner workings of a motorcycle. Philosophically, Pirsig tries to use the concept of "quality" to overcome the dualistic worldview that has dominated our thinking since the Greeks. A defective motorbike as an occasion for observing, not a priori (with terms) differentiating thinking. (CH B)

Realizing that the spirit of a 50-year-old can stay youthful is a great satisfaction. That’s why I’m sure that I’m not a philistine. Now and then someone even tells me I'm a child or asks me to finally grow up. Then I thank you for the compliment. I don't want to change just because I'm getting older. Of course, I atone for my stubbornness. Three hours of sport in a row leave different traces than when you were young.

I still dare to do the climbing tour in the mountains, but the implementation fails on the first smaller rock. And the feeling of winning the next time remains an unshakable trait in every lost game against an opponent 20 years younger than you. Realism is not part of youthful thinking. Not even at fifty.

A support for two generations

Of course, there are those moments when you wonder if the expiration date is getting closer. For example, when a cruise itself is worth a brief thought as the next trip. Or you stop in front of the 50 percent discounted golf equipment in the sale. I do not want to overestimate the fact that I have attended a tennis course in the past few weeks, spent my last vacation with relatives or just switched to the “Silvesterstadl” on TV at midnight.

It seems much more important to me to break a lance for all 50-year-olds at this point. Do you know that this age group performs at its best every day? And this on several levels. Never in life are you challenged in so many ways. Parents and in-laws are at an age where they increasingly need support. Organizing the father's transfer to the retirement home, taking over the mother's paperwork - I regularly manage things for which there was no reason before.

At the same time, your own children are somewhere between departure and madness. 19-year-old twin daughters in the middle of the final phase of their apprenticeship and well trained in late pubescent eruptions are by no means a stick. I would like to thank my journalist colleague Nicole Althaus for a wonderful article in the “NZZ am Sonntag” about parents of young people in their maturity period. However, in contrast to Althaus, I would never describe the challenges with my own children in adolescence as “the best time of my life”. But on the contrary.

The scale of the strength of confrontation between adolescents and their parents is unfortunately open to the top. The most recent example: One hour before the flight back home from vacation, one daughter spontaneously tells me that she will not get on the plane, but will stay with her boyfriend, an American street musician in South Florida, until further notice. You without money, neither is he with the big wallet. Fortunately, we have tried out such moments enough in the family's internal training camps over the past few years and are practicing calmly. At some point they all return to the nest they have made.

Serenity spreads

At 50 you are not just caught between two discerning generations of families. Challenges also arise at work and in leisure time. "Now that the children are becoming self-employed, you could run for the local council," an acquaintance told me two years ago. Why not? After all, providing service to the community is one of the core competencies of 50-year-olds. But you need a particularly thick skin for this office, the warning was given free of charge.

I would have to lie if I described myself as thick-skinned. From a purely physiological point of view, skin thickness decreases with age anyway. The fact that after two intense years in my new favorite hobby, despite the lack of thick skin, I never got a thick neck is due to another quality that has taken hold of me: composure. That's what you call life experience. Or to put it more succinctly: The roof over me has collapsed so often in the last 30 years that I have lost the fear of it. A very useful species, unfortunately only really discovered at fifty.

What else should a 50-year-old write about? “Maybe about sex,” my wife says during the brainstorming session, “that generates clicks on the homepage.” From the nursery a resolute “Just don't!” Can be heard. So let's leave that and finally concentrate on the modern field of clicks. If I say I think like a 20-year-old, then I am remembering myself 30 years ago.

But like a 20-year-old today? For God's sake, just don't! Discover the wisdom of life thanks to reality TV, define the ideal of beauty through Instagram and implement the worldview with 30-line Facebook posts - this is definitely not my world. Is that why, from the point of view of this generation, I am fit for a poke Sorry, when I vowed to myself in 1989 that I would never become one, I didn't yet know how the boys would put themselves in the picture in 2019.

PS: I just remembered that I wanted to briefly address the incipient forgetfulness that I believe to be discovering in myself at fifty. Unfortunately it was forgotten.