Death is the inevitable outcome of life, but ageing is a stage or phase of life, not an outcome. This failure to differentiate between ageing and age indicates a regression to concrete literal thinking. This kind of literal, concrete thinking is invariably the sign of an underlying anxiety, and it suggests a failure to be aware of the feelings that may lie behind, or beneath the concretisation. Such a lack of awareness results in poor differentiation of the process of ageing, or indeed any experience, and the end result is a simplistic, stereotyped perception that denies ambiguity and complexity. Thus age comes to equal frailty, sicness and death, not also wisdom, freedom and an opportunity for continuing development.
Peter A. O’Connor: Facing the Fifties: From Denial to Reflection. Allen & Unwin, 2000.