Ursula Staudinger, a lifespan psychologist who directs the Columbia Aging Center said, “How old we feel imprints itself on how we act and experience old age. You either want to get into your own old age or you don’t, and it plays out dramatically.”
She continues to explain that instead of obsessing about your own chronological age — a measure that varies widely among individuals — “think about the historical year you were born,” she suggested, “and immediately your associations will change.”
This ability to view your lifespan as a chunk of history does more than help you get over yourself. It draws your attention to what is happening in the world as a result of our longer lives. The age boom, Staudinger pointed out, is unfolding in tandem with what she calls a “fertility revolution.” It means that as we grow older, there are fewer babies being born in our wake.
“It is the combination of longevity and fertility we need to take into account,” she said. “By the year 2070, population growth will come to a halt. We will be shrinking.”
Learn more about Dr. Staudinger and the work of the Columbia Aging Center at http://aging.columbia.edu/.