How old is old? With gains in nutrition, plastic surgery and emphasis on conditioning, we have redefined what old age really means.

The Oakland Raiders have a 37-year-old grandmother as a cheerleader and actress Helen Mirren, at 66, has the “Body of the Year,” according to a recent survey.

American men and women can now expect to live to their mid-70s. It seems many will live to reach the century mark in the next few years. But will we go beyond that? Will we ever reach the age of the ageless one: Methuselah? At 969, he has the unique distinction of being the oldest living human ever.

The Bible tells us Methuselah was the son of Enoch and the grandfather of Noah. He died in the year of the flood. It causes one to wonder if he helped his grandson build the ark. Did he preach to those around him about changing their sinful ways? Was he made fun of as a mad old kook, hammering away with Noah at the timbers of the giant boat being constructed so far from the sea?

After the flood, the human life span was reduced. In Genesis 6:3, God says that man’s days “will be a hundred and twenty years.” There are those who say this proclamation shortened our days on Earth because of our constant sinning, while others point out the verse refers to the time people had to repent before the flood.

There is also the canopy theory, which suggests there was a canopy of water vapor over the Earth and it refracted the harmful rays of the sun. After the flood, it is thought, the canopy disappeared and the Earth and its inhabitants were exposed to more direct rays. This, along with genetic mutations passed on from generation to generation, led to a much shorter life span.

But how would we occupy ourselves if we did live over 900 years? Could we keep busy and content? Winston Churchill said he planned to spend the first 100 years in heaven working on his painting. One could certainly develop many of his or her hobbies. I think it would take at least 200 years to get my golf game down so that I could break 100 on a regular basis — alright, 300 years.

We know that God knows what eternity is all about and, for Him, there is no such thing as time. Psalm 90:6 says, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”

I do know that as one grows older, our perception of time changes. It starts at about 50. What was once experienced as a month dissolves into two weeks. The seasons have no edges but blend in a vague dimness of passing time. None of the experts can explain it.

What is “real” time? Is it the time frame of a day lived when I was 20 or when I turned 50?

The stereotypes of old age still linger. An older person is looked on as crotchety, unchangeable, cranky and forever complaining. Some seniors play into this role, feeling old age gives them the right to say and do whatever they please, no matter the consequences.

I’m finding it very hard to play the role of the old guy. I have a Christian outlook that keeps me positive. I have many interests and when discouraged don’t stay down long.

My health is good, but the mirror doesn’t lie and plays no favorites. I do think I could keep busy and happy if I lived as long as Methuselah.

The late Bette Davis said, “Old age ain’t for sissies” and she was right. There are adjustments to be made and a big one is to accept the fact that things are not the same as they used to be.

The experts say healthy older people should keep busy, get out more, find new interests and make new friends.

A sense of humor is a must. Learning to laugh at oneself is a great place to start.

I do know that when my time comes, I don’t want to hear an angel whisper in the ear of St. Peter, “Here comes that old curmudgeon, Ted Wallace.”

Ted Wallace is a former teacher and radio disc jockey who may be reached at [email protected]