How Old is Old?

As many of you know, I turned (reached the age of) 47 this year. Am I old?  The answer to this question depends, in part, on how old the person is who answers it.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center here in the U.S. found that – not surprisingly – the older you are, the older you think “old” is.  Below are their findings (results of their survey):

  • If you are an 18- to 29-years old, you think “old” is 60.
  • If you are ages 30 to 49, you think that 69 is “old.”
  • If you are from 50 to 64, you think 72 is “old.”
  • If you are 65-years-old or older, you think 74 is “old.”

There is a 14 year difference between what a twentysomething (someone in their twenties) and those who are over the age of 65 think “old” is.  Of course, the notion (idea) of “old” has itself gotten “older” over the years; that is, someone in 1810 would have thought that you were “old” at a much younger age than 60 or 70, since the average person simply didn’t live that long.

Perhaps by the time I’m 74, I’ll be considered just a kid!

~ Jeff

Photo credit: Wikipedia Public Domain

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43 Responses to How Old is Old?

  1. Idi Oumarou Ibrahim says:

    “Dear Dr. Jeff,
    May God let you spend the longest possible period of time on this Earth. We really like you. We always get many interesting things from you, so it is in our interest you keep alive for ever.
    I actually do refer the same wish to Dr. Lucy. I do thank you both for everything. I hope your names and the name of the Center of Educational Development beeing heard all over the World – for ever. God bless you!”

  2. Peter says:

    R u pushing 47
    Or you are turning to
    Common pal , pump it up Don’t let gravity do it’s job. Stand up against it
    Defy gravity
    I know it is impossible
    It is they God intended it
    He/ she ( God ) has programmed us that way
    We r aging man it is a steady process
    We can’t slowe it up or speed it up
    It is a race with there is no winner
    We all cross the end line
    Good things is we are health and up and running
    Two days ago one good friend of mine in Western Europe has diagnosed to nemonia( I mean blood cancer)
    It is sad
    The prognoses give him just two years
    She is devastated
    She is an energetic , vibrant , optimistic gal . Now what has become of her
    No matter how old you are
    Still you can live your life to the fullest and thanks God for giving you another day to be around your friends and family
    So, enjoy your 47 man
    That 47 is a heck of an age
    I m not there yet but when I get there if I am still kicking my gift would life
    And nothing else .
    Peace out
    God blessed your soul already for what you did to us
    May God bless you family as well for that extend
    May all the forces with you

  3. Peter says:

    Please don’t judge my English Skills with what I put down here the keypord on the iPhone is too condense for my calloused fingers

  4. emiliano says:

    May be my father is old now?
    He is 96 but he thought he was old when he was more than 90

    What´s that?

    It depends of your mind and everyone´s daily attitude.
    Giuseppe Verdi one of the best Opera composer was 81 when he composed Falstalf, with 76 Otello, and Aida
    with 58………so, please Jeff you have still a long way to create marvellous works, and me too of course.
    By the way, Falstalf is one of the best works of Him, in fact the most amusing Opera of all his work.

    The best is always ahead.


  5. emiliano says:

    The photo is incredible good.
    Yes I like it very very much…………

    Just a little contrast….but the nice little children doesn´t think his grand grand mother is old…that´s for sure.
    Sure the children loves her and that´s enough.


  6. sanjeev verma says:

    dear Dr. Jeff
    I wish you very many happy returns of the day.thanks to both you & Dr. Lucy

  7. emiliano says:

    Yes, I know I am writing too much, as ever, but I would like to add something about ages.

    My mind is better now than 10 or 20 years ago.
    My health and body is better now than 20 year ago.
    I feel better inside me and with me than before as long as I can remember.
    My memory is better now than 20 or 30 years before.
    I pass all day doing several and different things that I didn´t do before.
    My English is better now than 10 years before, thank you Jeff and Lucy.
    I feel happier now than some years before.

    I am older now than before?
    More years, yes, that´s right……..but older?
    I don´t think so, despite people who looks at me being below 40 may think “there is an old man”….I could say to the young
    friends of the Blog, don´t be worried by adding birthdays, it´s possible that all the best is ahead of you.


  8. Ali says:

    Dear Jef,

    I think you are still 32-years-old, as we celebrated your 29th birthday three years ago. Keep up the good work. It doesn’t matter how old are you; what matters is your great sense of humor.
    Every single day I am waiting for something new from you. The first website that I check everyday is your website. You don’t know how much I’ve been dependent and addicted to it. I can’t finish even one day without looking at it.

    Wish you all the bests,

    Ali (from Iran)

  9. kuongdv says:

    I am in my late twenties so “old” is 60, I think!

  10. Peter says:

    Common people,
    Cut it
    Knock it off
    Jeff you have it all planned out
    I bet u had your life mapped out as a chile. The path you are on is a figured path full of unpredicted good things that fait is throwing at u:))
    Not like me a maze struded with dead ends
    For u 47 is a leap to unknown
    For me just what else is new
    So be happy that you don’t know how good u have it

  11. Jeff and Lucy, the best ever.
    How old? It depends on the reference. According to relativity theory by Einstein, everything has a reference frame from where things are seen. Without this reference, it is meaningless to say or measure something. So to say about the age of a person it is necessary to compare with some reference. Only when you get the old age you will be able to say what this is. But the good thing is that the age is something you have to pass through or you die early in time, when you are young, otherwise you don’t have the reference.
    Aecio from beautiful Brazil

  12. Betty says:

    Hi Jeff

    How come you tell everyone your age? I never want to know how old people are, age means nothing to me, it is the quality in that person that counts.

    I enjoy listening to you and Lucy ‘arguing’ over and over again everyday.

    One day you are a very little kid, another day you are a grumpy old man, so your age changes everyday.

    Just joking, hi hi………..

    Thanks again to everyone in ESLPOD for giving us a very good place to learning English, I will never grow old when learning English is such good fun.

  13. Peter says:

    Have ever met Jeff( better to say :have you ever listened to Jeff)
    Needless to say , He is a wise man whose moto is integrity.
    A man with those traits care about the quality ,not the quantity of life.
    He opened up to us about his age because he couldn’t care less.

    Wish you all sorts of success,
    P.S. Remember, age is a work gravity.

  14. emiliano says:

    Need to say I agree with you Betty, age means so little that I don´t care about it.

    It´s not the only time Jeff told us his age, listening to him from the begining of the English Cafes, he told us about a song “The Sounds of Silence”
    written by Paul Simon in frebruary of 1964 after the assassination of the USA President J.F. Kennedy in the 22nd of November 1963.
    Jeff explaining the lyric of the song told us that he was born in the same year two months before the assassination of Kennedy and P.Simon wrote the lyric of the song as all America was sad an a big silence fall over millions of peoples that were astonished by the death of their President in such a way.

    Jeff told us that he was a little child and he didn´t remember anything as he was only two months old, his birthday is 24th of September 1963.
    This is the transcription of his guide lesson:

    “So, the song is very much about
    sadness; it’s very much about being alone and being in the dark, and that’s how
    he felt Americans felt after the death of John F. Kennedy. I’m a little too young to
    remember that; I was alive, but just barely! I was only about two months old
    when that happened. I was born on September 24th, 1963, so it was just about
    two months after I was born”…..Jeff voice….
    English Cafe 75

    Having all the Guides in the computer is just a treasure, sorry Lucy I´m using your scrip but I think you give me
    your good permission.

    All the best for you. emiliano

  15. emiliano says:

    Hi Ali, nice to see you again.
    May you please tell us something about your new life and your country.
    If possible, I would like to know first hand.

    Take care dear friend.

  16. Betty says:

    Thank you so much Peter and emiliano for your advises.

    I am afriad you both are so intelligent and you both caught me out that I was only new to ESLPOD. I roughly know that Jeff is very young but did not know the exact date like you do.

    I truly admire Jeff & Lucy with all my heart, but I love joking all the time so I was only teasing Jeff. He is so young in age (sorry I do not know how old Lucy is so I cannot comment on whether she is so young or old) for what he has achieved so far. I found myself actually ‘listening’ to English talking instead of dependent on the subtitle on the screen, so my listening must have improved a lot in a short time by listening to Jeff & Lucy everyday.

    I hope to pass an English test in a few months’ time, I must be one of the very ‘mature’ person taking that test, but I think age does not matter, the desire to pass the test made me work hard and with God’s help (sorry I am an atheist but I will thank God whenever something good happens) I found this website which is excellent for learning English.

    We all know that there is no pressure on us to learn, but we all come back to this website everyday to see what is there for us to learn.

    Age does not matter! Happy learning keeps everyone young.

  17. Redouane says:

    Words are unable to describe the great job u both have done,please do keep up the good spirit,as one can hardly have a good command of English unless they check the several times a day,I’m telling u god’s honest truth,as I’m a picture of honest Abe remember!

  18. emiliano says:

    Betty, as you said one of the best qualities of Jeff is his cheerfulness, and he made me laugh continuously when I am listening to him in the Podcast.
    Having a good time I think is the best way to learn anything, and Jeff and Lucy are masters when they teach us English and Culture, listening to them for years I have learnt lot of things, not only English.

    Ja, ja, don´t say that about me Betty, I am not what you said, I am only an “old dog” who spend his time doing just what he likes to do, writing here, having friends around the world and learning a bit of several things but nothing in depth.

    We need you Betty, good humor and joking is always welcome.
    I use to be a serious man, ja, ja, and I need to laugh as much as possible every day.

    Thank you so much by your kindness. emiliano

  19. Peter says:

    Betty ,
    I m far from being intelligent . Infact , head bone is my second name.
    Plus side, aging brings out the small details in life that we typically take for granted.
    we live them all day to day with no minute of attention. Birthdays make them come out at our eyes:)))
    So ,once a year,at our birthdays we thanks all the God bounties….
    Soon after, we forget the whole thing . Live our lives ,and then, bingo!! the flowing year our birthdays,again, it comes as shocking that hey, there is somebody up there regulating my every move. Pal , be grate full…
    Birthday is coming up, don’t be all droopy prier to Ur birthday that the number u lable yourself is one digit up. Let it be.
    Deal with it . Move on , and reinvent yourself.
    Folks out there,
    Mind is a powerful thing. Don’t believe what you think!
    Don’t lable yourself “age” . Lable yourself knowledge , honesty , and integrity.

    All sorts of success for you ,including Jeff

  20. Peter says:

    Your voice and you looks don’t give away your age.

  21. Tania says:

    Hi! “If you wish good advice, consult an old man.”

  22. Tania says:

    Hi! “Though old and wise, yet still advise.”

  23. Tania says:

    Hi! “He that is not handsome at twenty, nor strong at thirty, nor rich at forty, nor wise at fifty, will never be handsome, strong, rich, or wise.”

  24. Tania says:

    Hi! Just some English sayings on old.
    I think if you are 65-years-old or older you can consider a person of 74 beeing still young as the longevity is about 90 years maybe more in some countries.

  25. Tania says:

    Hi! And of course , “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” And I’d say and young regardless of his age.

  26. Peter says:

    No Betty ,
    You got me all wrong
    Have you ever met somebody means you know that person for long time and you say something about them like you dont know them at all
    For instance:
    Take my siblings( brothers- sisters)
    My brother is a cheapskate ( frugal, stingy, don’t spent money).it is my birthday and my brother does not get me any present .my brother’s close friend aske if any birthday gift my brother got for me . I answer” du (stupid) , have you ever met my brother which means you have known my brother for your whole life and still you don’t know he is stingy( doesnot spen money)
    Have ever met Jeff, Betty!!

  27. Peter says:

    I meant we r listening to Jeff long enough that we know as a hard fact that people with goals ( like Jeff) don’t worry so much about getting old
    They measure age with other peramaters(things that you stablished about how things should be)
    So fond goals , something to shoot for( something that you set out then you try to achieve them)

  28. Peter says:

    Tania ,
    Like your piece
    Throw more at us!
    “Thinking is easy acting is difficult and to put one thought into action is the most difficult thing to do”
    I always hum these poem-like pieces while simonizing( waxing)my car.
    You see ,
    Put your knowledge into good use.
    I know Jeff is saying: “Peter, Enogh out of you , knock it off.”
    Ok ,Boss
    Your wish is my command!:))
    By the way
    I bought my burial plot already
    In fact, I have a joint barrial plot with my better half :))))))

  29. Peter says:

    Christmass is around the corner.
    Get a bit christmassy folks
    The sun is shining , birds are birking, and plastered smile on people faces shun my sad thoughts away
    And pump in some denial instead; that is the spirit!!

  30. Tania says:

    Hi! And anyway regardless of age “we all need somebody to lean on”.

    “Lean on me, when you’re not strong
    And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
    For it won’t be long till
    I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”

    Lean On Me, a song by Bill Withers

  31. Tania says:

    Hi! It is funny but I have known up to now the meaning of the word “lean” only from the poem “Mister Lean is very thin”.
    And now this wonderful song “Lean On Me”…found out on your blog.

    “Call me, call me, just call me, lean on me
    Don’t you know that I’ll be there, you can lean on me!”

    It could be our anthem like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy – the European Union anthem.

  32. Tania says:

    Hi! Thank you for the explanation of the phrases: the makeup of a population, health professional, bring it on.
    So many meanings for “make up”…

  33. Tania says:

    Hi! Very interesting for us The Extension Courses System. Thank you.

  34. Tania says:

    Hi! If I were you I would tell more another story like the story of Lizzie Borden including a poem.

    All the best for you all,


  35. Peter says:

    Bring me up to speed
    What is extension course all about?
    It is an add-on to Eslpod that I m not aware of.
    Update me please

  36. Betty says:

    Thank you, emiliano, I checked the Archives in September 2010 and found the following:

    Friday – September 24, 2010 Pssssst…Hey, It’s Jeff’s Birthday!
    Today, we celebrate the birthday of our own Dr. Jeff McQuillan! Dance in the streets, drink some champagne, or just send your good wishes.
    “Happy birthday to you.
    Happy birthday to you.
    Happy birthday, dear Jeff.
    Happy birthday to you!”

    We wish you health and happiness for many, many, many years to come!

    I must wish Dr Jeff McQuillan a belated Happy Birthday,


    I need to prepare for my English Test, so won’t be able to write too much, will try to write more after my Test.

  37. Betty says:

    Sorry, emiliano, I rushed too much, thank you for your good advice.

    Please excuse me for saying you and Peter are intelligent, I always say what I wanted to say. Once an English friend who became close to me said to me that English people were not a nation that said too much ‘good’ things about other people, it made them embarrassed. But I was very straight forward and said what was in my mind.

    Don’t worry, our aim is to learn good English here, intelligent or not does not matter.

    I am pleased to learn that you enjoy listening to Jeff and ‘laugh continuously’. I am still in the stage of trying to understand what Jeff says and so not ‘laughing continuously’ yet. Hopefully one day my English listening skill will be good enough for me to start ‘laughing continously’ when I listen to Jeff’s stories.

    By the way, is ‘Ja Ja’ same as ‘Ha Ha’?

  38. ka says:

    I think Jeff is a spring chiken, dont you think?
    I feel as if he were my close friend, he is with me everyday meanwhile i am checking flies and acari under the microscope, i used to laugh by myself, and it has been so usefull to me
    Emiliano your comments are wise, i am glad to hear from smarter person, I think this blog is plenty of young blood not matter how old they are.
    thank you for let me be part of the blog.

  39. emiliano says:

    We use to write ja, ja, because it´s the way of saying that something is amusing, in fact it is the onomatopoeic form of laughing, and yes I was amusing reading your coment Betty about me.
    Of course it was very nice, I was pleased but here in Spain it´s so odd to say to anybody that he or she is intelligent that I was a little overwhelmed, that´s all……but at the same time to me it is very very nice to read good opinions of friends about my writing here in the Blog.

    Thank you very much Ika, you make me feel happy.

    In person spanish people don´t use to be very kind persons among them, it´s a pitty but we are not accustomed to say nice things to our friends, relatives, or fellowos, may be we are too shy or serious persons, but I think it´s because we are afraid of showing our inner feelings or it may seems a sign of weakness for many of us to say “thank you” or your are a really good friend, you are clever, smart or even “I love you”.

    It should be necessary to say nice things more frequently to the persons we love or to all our friends and to our couples.

  40. Betty says:

    Thank you emiliano for explaining ja, ja for me. After reading your comment, I searched the ‘thefreedictionary’ website to find out more about ‘ja, ja’, interesting to learn more everyday.

    Yes, it is true that we are afraid of showing our inner feelings. On the other hand, once my boss told me that if someone complimented me, I needed to be careful with that person. So, it is hard to blame people not to express their feelings freely.

    I shall continue to read your contributions in this blog, but please excuse me for not contributing much until a few months later, I have to bury my head in some English Language books in order to prepare for my English test.

    Happy listening to Jeff & Lucy

  41. Tania says:

    Hi! The Extension Courses System is the topic of the English Cafe 265.

  42. sigh says:

    dear Dr. Jeff
    I always enjoy listening to your podcast in Japan.
    I’m working like a slave(part-time job) in Japan, and do not have a future because of my age(just 27 years old!!), and luck of working career.
    I’d like to exile from here ASAP.
    Japanese companies are obsessed with youth, so I’m not young anymore!!

    Anyway, in Japan, maybe the same results would come out as in U.S, I think.

    Wish you good luck

  43. Sebastien says:

    Hello Dr. Jeff,

    I believe that age is just a number. I am 37 years old and I look like I am 28. I think how old you feel influence how old you look, so keep yourself young at heart; it’s as good for the body as it is for the soul.


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