Every time I get into my car and turn the heater on, I'm grateful I'm old and cold in 2014, and not 30 or 40 years ago. Back then, when I had my first car, I had to drive from Dunedin to Palmerston (about 60k) before the heater warmed up. My current car warms up by the time I'm out of the driveway, it has heated seats, and even the exterior mirrors are heated. If the time ever comes that I can't drive I will make certain my mobility scooter is similarly well-appointed.
And that's another plus for ageing in the modern era - should you be unable or disinclined to get around under your own steam, there's a wide range of mobility aids from walking frames to automated wheelchairs. I may not have to resort to the ride-on mower after all.
Next on my list of things to be grateful for is that now is a much better time to have mental health issues like depression. Everyone's far too politically correct these days to discriminate against you because you're a bit nutty, and your chances of being shut up in a mental institution against your wishes are very limited. The drugs are better, too.
Drugs generally are better than they were in our parents' day and I don't mean the recreational kind. In the sixties and seventies codeine and aspirin were the drugs for just about every kind of pain. Now there's a choice of dozens of painkillers to treat very specific types of pain effectively, and you can buy many of them at the supermarket.
Aids for failing hearing and eyesight are also much advanced. Hearing aids are virtually invisible, contact lenses are sometimes an option for ageing eyesight, and glasses are multi-functional. You're more likely than your parents were to have your own teeth and if you don't, today's dentures fit better, look better, feel better, and don't fall out when you sneeze.
If dodgy dentures and a hearing aid as big as a brick have kept you out of the dating game, your time has come. You can source a new partner on any one of a number of websites, and save yourself the humiliation of putting on inappropriate clothes and going to a bar or a club.
There are, of course, a few negatives.
For example, if you've been seduced by one of those ads to refinance your mortgage and get a free telly or a couple of thousand dollars in cash, think again. Some banks are reluctant to lend past 70 years old for owner-occupiers. And even if you're only in your 50s, a bank may not allow you to take out a 30-year mortgage.
And no matter how often you tell yourself you're getting better and better as you get older, the Ministry of Transport doesn't believe you. When turning 75, 80 and every second birthday after that, you need a medical certificate to get your driver's licence renewed. You may also have to pass an on-road safety test with a testing officer. A bit illogical, I reckon, since according to the ministry's website, young drivers are heavily over-represented in all types of crashes. So if anyone should be forced to renew their license every second birthday, surely it should be them, not us.
Photo / Herald on Sunday
Dick Hubbard (67) splutters over his morning muesli every time he reads about anyone over 60 described as 'elderly'. This year the founder of Hubbard Foods and former mayor of Auckland rode a motorbike with his wife as a pillion for 27,000km around the US. And when they went from the top of Alaska to the bottom of South America in 2012 on a motorbike, they believe they set a record as the world's oldest couple to so.
"We are part of the first wave of Baby Boomers who as a group refuse to accept age as a limitation and do not recognise doing "old". That was for our parents' generation. We are the generation who are going to insist on climbing walls and full gyms in our rest homes.
"The best part of getting older now is that every year the definition of old goes out a year. Currently it sits at about 90ish. And the worst part is entirely hypothetical to us baby boomers.
"Ask us the same question in 25 years time. By the way, I am writing this in the middle of a motorcycle trip from Auckland to Queenstown."
Writer, speaker, author and storyteller Lindsey Dawson is pleased she can be so connected to the wider world.
"There are so many fun ways to do that. At 60 I could never have thought that at nearly 70 I'd be building websites, making videos to put on YouTube, putting books on Amazon, keeping up with Twitter feeds and planning to run online courses.
For all the downsides of new technology there are exciting and wonderful fields to play in - and you can do it all from your own home.
"If we're lucky to live long and have good health, we have more years than any previous generation for enjoying things we love, taking up new pursuits, and (given spare cash) going to places our own grandparents could only dream of. Then there's food and wine. For people who grew up on plain meat and over-cooked veg, with chicken chow mein as the only 'exotic' taste treat in town, today's cuisine options are wondrous.
"What's bad is that we may be the first generation of oldies to be technically outstripped by children - which makes it easy to feel dumb in the company of the young. Actually, we are probably not the first. There must have been cocky young steam engineers in the Victorian age who sniggered at those who stuck to horse-and-carriage transport.
"Today's older women also find themselves utter outcasts when it comes to fashion. Once, older dames had an elegance that teenagers yearned for. But that was before the word 'teenager' was invented. Now, women's magazines doing features offering style advice to women of different decades invariably stop at 60, or even 50.
What is also tiresome is the expectation that both men and women must look sleek, happy and well-groomed at all times. At least that's the impression you get from all the ads for retirement villages. In the romanticised 'golden years' ads, we apparently all want nothing more than to walk hand in hand on the beach at sunset, trim of tummy and light of heart. No one is bald. We all have our marbles. Our joints are well lubricated by a plethora of collagen-boosting pills. And if we need to wear nappies for grown-ups, then at least they're so well designed that nobody can tell."