Our ever-increasing lifespan means that “middle-age” is happening a whole decade later.
A lifestyle study of 2000 men and women found attitudes towards hitting the middle of our years are rapidly changing.
Rising life expectancy and healthier lifestyles mean the average person now feels it’s not until well into our fifties that we begin to settle into our comfortable years.
Less divide between the age groups was cited as a big contributor, with social media sites and lives led increasingly online blurring the lines between young and old.
Initially thought to be age 41 on average, the research commissioned by Benenden Health, found the approximate “middle-age” doesn’t kick in until well into the fifties.
Frustration with modern tech, an increasing reliance on naps and choosing clothes for comfort over style were among the top 40 attributes of a middle-aged individual.
Not knowing any songs in the top 10, thinking policemen look very young and taking a flask of tea around with you were also seen as some of the more quirky signs of hitting the middle years.
“A variety of factors – including more active lifestyles and healthier living – mean that people find their attitudes towards getting older are changing,” Paul Keenan, Head of Communications at Benenden Health said.
“Over half of the people surveyed didn’t feel that there even was such a thing as ‘middle-age’ anymore.
“It’s clear what age you are has become less important in determining how young you feel.”
Eight in 10 people think the term “middle-age” is much harder to define now than it used to be, and the same number think it’s much more a state of mind now than a physical milestone.
In fact, 43 percent of the over-fifties studied felt they had not experienced middle age yet, while 53 percent believe there isn’t really a “middle-age” stage of life at all anymore.
Nearly three quarters feel there is less of a divide between the age groups than there used to be.
Improved healthcare was cited as the main reason for a blurring between generations, while more than half thought increased communication and social media meant people are defined less and less by their age.
And when it comes to hitting the milestones, the older generation were three times more likely to describe turning 50 as the point they reached a new stage in life than when they turned 30 or 40.
84 percent of those surveyed believe if you think of yourself as old you’ll naturally start to feel old, while the same number feel their happiness directly relates to how healthy they are.
Illness and memory loss are the things people fear most about growing old.