The day you get that free pen in the charity mailer, you know it's started. The beginning of the rest of your life. The re-labelling of the individual you thought you were. Now part of the homogenous mass of 'oldies', also known as 'the over 50s'.
Scratch all that. I'm a Baby Boomer and am not going to put up with anyone's attempt to put me in a box, of either the demographic or pine variety.
On the other hand, I am going to spend my time challenging ageism, debunking myths about what people in later life can do and unearthing exciting opportunities to help older people continue contributing to life. I've been doing it since I was young and am not about to let some artificial age-limiting line in the sand stop me now.
After all, there's much to be done. The figures don't lie:
- 17% of 65-74 year-olds and 13% of those aged 75+ have taken part in learning in the last three years.
- In June 2013 there were 1 million workers over the age of 65 in the UK. The highest since records began.
- In the UK the over-50s make up 35% of the population and have the highest disposable income of any age group, and they know it.
- Facebook's 13-17 age group has declined over the last three years, while its over-55 group grew by 80%.
- There are now more adults over 65 than there are under-16s. Only a generation ago people were pretty 'old' at 60. If you think of yourself as old, then you start to feel old.
Retirement is a state of mind rather than something that starts at a certain age. Retirement has nothing to do with a number. Retirement is not about being old or seeing life wholly in terms of your limitations.
This is my manifesto for living in later life. I'm excited by it. I'd love more people to join me in this exploration of potential. We all have enough experience to really begin to grow and embrace life unlimited. You can find out more for yourself in our new report.