Although many people are living longer and healthier than before and life expectancies have even more than doubled in the last 150 years, cultures of aging have not kept up with these developments. On the contrary: in most Western countries people are driven from the labor market at a younger age than was still the case in the 1960s and they are labeled as ‘aged ‘as soon as they have become 50 years old. Partly as a response to this early exclusion from normal adulthood, cultures of aging have developed which paradoxically define aging well as “staying young”. This article argues that contemporary developments in longevity ask for inspiring cultures of aging which do not deny its vulnerabilities nor belittle its potentials. As unique lives are deepened in aging, they may lead to inspiring cultures of aging which go beyond the dominant perspectives that emphasize either staying young or hopeless decline.
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