When does middle age actually start? Is it when you hit 50? Or when you send your first kid off to college? Or after you've been married a good 25 years?
For those of you feeling old at 48 or 50 or even 52, here's some good news. A new survey shows that middle age does not actually start until you're 53.
According to a survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by British healthcare provider Benenden Health, one is middle aged if they enjoy afternoon naps, moan when they bend over, are frustrated by modern technology and choose comfort over style when it comes to clothing. Another sign of middle age? The preference of a night in rather than a night out.
Paul Keenan, head of communications at Benenden Health, said in a press release that being old appears to be a state of mind rather than being a specific age.
"People no longer see ‘middle age’ as a numerical milestone and don’t tend to think of themselves as ‘old’ as they hit their fifties and beyond. I’m 54 myself, with the mind-set of a thirty-something -– perhaps sometimes even that of a teenager!” he said.
“Living a healthy and varied lifestyle helps people to keep feeling young and we see people embracing getting older," he added. "'Middle age’ is becoming a term with less and less significance."
In general, the top 40 signs of middle age are:
1) Losing touch with everyday technology such as tablets and TVs
2) Finding you have no idea what ‘young people’ are talking about
3) Feeling stiff
4) Needing an afternoon nap
5) Groaning when you bend down
6) Not remembering the name of any modern bands
7) Talking a lot about your joints/ailments
8) Hating noisy pubs
9) Getting more hairy -– ears, eyebrows, nose, face etc.
10) Thinking policemen/teachers/doctors look really young
11) Preferring a night in with a board game than a night on the town
12) You don’t know any songs in the top ten
13) Choosing clothes and shoes for comfort rather than style
14) Taking a flask of tea on a day out
15) Obsessive gardening or bird feeding
16) Thinking there is nothing wrong with wearing an anorak
17) Forgetting people’s names
18) Booking on to a cruise
19) Misplacing your glasses/bag/car keys etc.
20) Complaining about the rubbish on television these days
21) Gasping for a cup of tea
22) Getting bed socks for Christmas and being very grateful
23) Taking a keen interest in The Antiques Road Show
24) When you start complaining about more things
25) Listening to the Archers
26) You move from radio one to radio two
27) Joining the National Trust
28) Being told off for politically incorrect opinions
29) Flogging the family car for something sportier
30) When you can’t lose six pounds in two days anymore
31) You get shocked by how racy music videos are
32) Taking a keen interest in the garden
33) Buying travel sweets for the car
34) Considering going on a ‘no children’ cruise for a holiday
35) When you know your alcohol limit
36) Obsessively recycling/ knowing the collection dates
37) Always carrying a handy pack of tissues
38) Falling asleep after one glass of wine
39) Spending more money on face creams/anti-aging products
40) Preferring a Sunday walk to a lie in
Before you start feeling too good about yourself, take note of a survey from a year ago that said middle age actually starts at 55, not 53.
As an aside, a study by Florida State University last year found that both women and men view the start and end of middle age as occurring earlier for women than for men, consistent with the argument that a “double standard of aging” exists that disadvantages women.
When do you think middle age starts? Let us know in comments.
Earlier on HuffPost50:
There are several reasons why a sugar-filled diet makes you look older. When there is excess sugar in the body, it attaches itself to collagen, making the skin look stiff and inflexible. According to "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Diet-Myths-Busted-Nutrition-Fiction/dp/1882883837" target="_blank">Diet Myths Busted; Food Facts Not Nutrition Fiction</a>" by Ann A. Rosenstein, "losing this elastic resilience of young skin will give the skin deep wrinkles and make it look old."
Like sugar, excess trans fats make the skin look stiff and inflexible. "Trans fats clog and stiffen the arteries and smaller blood vessels," which makes the skin look old, wrote Rosenstein.
<a href="http://galtime.com/article/health/39603/24699/foods-can-make-you-look-youngerolder#axzz2RUQr5YSS" target="_blank">Salt dehydrates the body</a>. When you are dehydrated, you become fatigued, which makes you look tired and worn out. In addition, <a href="http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Healthy-Living/Foods-that-Make-You-Look-Old.aspx?p=4" target="_blank">excess salt contributes to kidney disease, high blood pressure and interferes with bone metabolism</a>.
<a href="http://galtime.com/article/health/39603/24699/foods-can-make-you-look-youngerolder#axzz2RUQr5YSS" target="_blank">Coffee and caffeinated products also dehydrate the body</a>, making you look tired and worn out.
The <a href="http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Healthy-Living/Foods-that-Make-You-Look-Old.aspx?b=1&p=11" target="_blank">sugar in candy causes inflammation</a> in the body and can make skin look wrinkled and old.
Artificial sweeteners such as <a href="http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Healthy-Living/Foods-that-Make-You-Look-Old.aspx?b=1&p=7" target="_blank">aspartame are associated with headaches and joint pain</a> and can make you crave sweets.
Consuming too much alcohol dehydrates your body and causes wrinkles, loss of collagen, redness and puffiness, according to "<a href="http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/jodi-sawyer-rn/how-fast-can-alcohol-age-you" target="_blank">The Dr. Oz Show</a>."
<a href="http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/mistakes-age-you#slide-2" target="_blank">Energy drinks damage the enamel in your teeth</a> eight times more than soda does. This erosion makes your teeth look yellow and unhealthy, according to Dr. Oz.
An overconsumption of carbohydrates can damage the collagen and fibers in your skin, according to <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/is-your-diet-aging-you" target="_blank">WebMD</a>.
<a href="http://galtime.com/article/health/39603/24699/foods-can-make-you-look-youngerolder#axzz2RUQr5YSS" target="_blank">Fried food contributes to collagen break down in the skin</a>, making one's skin look wrinkled and worn out, according to GalTime.com.
As a beverage high in sugar, <a href="http://galtime.com/article/health/39603/24699/foods-can-make-you-look-youngerolder#axzz2RUQr5YSS" target="_blank">soda tends to dehydrate the body</a>. This fatigues the body and makes you look tired. "A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces. So if you weight 130 lbs, you need 65 ounces of water a day -- just over eight cups," according to GalTime.com.