I laughed when I read about a Dutch entrepreneur attempting to legally change his age in order to enhance his career and dating opportunities. He reasoned his current age of 69 didn’t correctly represent his “emotional state.” Instead, an age of 49 would better reflect who he was, he said.
With this being my birthday month, his antic got me thinking that he does have a point. How old we think and feel ourselves isn’t always aligned with how long ago we were born. In fact, research confirms there’s truth to the axiom: “You’re only as old as you feel.” A recent study found that subjective age, the age we feel we are, can affect how we age. It notes that “those who feel younger than their age actually do show fewer signs of brain aging.”
Ever since my mid-40s I’ve felt at least 20 years younger than my chronological age. While I know I’m long past living in the “land of the young,” as author Chip Conley calls it, I also know I don’t relate to the AARP market or desire to live in an over 55 community.
As I add another year to this life’s journey, I’m thoughtful about the word “old.” I know “old” people half my age. In every generation — Matures, Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials, you’ll find old people: old thinking, old acting, old being. Old isn’t a certain age, and getting older isn’t a choice we’re given, but whether we get old or older, often is.
My yardstick is simple: I’m just getting older if (continue reading →)