This paper presents, analyses and interprets expressions of the experience of advanced old age based upon the concepts of the French phenomenologist, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger. During 1990, 262 older residents of the city of Jyväskylä in central Finland were interviewed. They were born in 1910 and aged 80 years at the time. In addition to collecting epidemiological data, the narrative stories on the ageing experience of a sub-sample of 20 respondents (10 men and 10 women) were tape-recorded. A five-year follow-up was carried out with the same cohort in 1995, when 17 of the original sub-sample of 20 were still alive. Unlike five years previously, most of the narrators said they had now crossed the line into old age. At the ten-year follow-up in 2000, six women and four men were still alive to describe their experience at 90 years of age. Collective history and objective structures had provided a common foundation for my narrators' notions of the world – of right and wrong and of good and bad. Over their lifetime, this socio-cultural background had gradually changed, and they perceived the changes. Moreover, in the earlier stages of the study, they voiced criticisms of these changes. At age 90 years, however, they no longer criticised society or its people. By this time, it seems they felt they had completed the mission of living a life.