How Old Do You Feel?

Each of us has three ages. There’s our chronological age or the number of times the Earth has orbited the sun since the day we were born, then there’s our mental age, which is how old our personalities and mindsets make us feel relative to others, and finally, there’s our physical age or how old the condition of our bodies makes us feel. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of all those mornings when we joke about feeling our age physically after a night of partying or a day of sports and other heavy activity. We laugh and joke about our various ages but, for many, how we identify our age is an issue of concern.

People define their entire lives by the way they feel. They decide on various choices in lifestyle, activities, and physical appearance based on the common practices of people their age. They quit asking themselves how old they feel and focus instead on what they think they should be doing, saying, buying, feeling. When asked, only 2.5% of 1,000 surveyed said their chronological, mental, and physical ages were all the same. In addition, eight in ten said they feel mentally younger than their actual age and 56% feel physically younger. You can find more information about these statistics here.

Age is a Feeling

Despite our actual age, we could agree that how old we feel beats out both our physical and mental ages. As the actress, Helen Mirren reminds us, “Age is just a number.”

There are those who are feeling an age for themselves that others might judge as inappropriate. Like the oldster who wears too much make-up, trying to appear more youthful, or the athlete who pushes the boundaries of their health by doing dangerous activities like bungee jumping or sky-diving, when their bodies are clearly not up to the task. We scoff at these folks but it’s certainly their right to perceive their age in whatever way they want.

It’s reported that, on average, we feel twelve years younger mentally and four years younger physically. Do you agree with this statement? In addition, thinking about our own mortality or losing others makes us feel older. Speaking to younger people and small children can make us feel out of touch from new trends and older in general. Personally, I feel hanging with younger people keeps me interested in a wider variety of things and, in general, feeling younger. Staying younger both physically and young at heart is closely tied to live events, exploring the outdoors, and being routinely physical. No surprise there!

After about fifty, we forego celebrating as many birthdays as possible in favor of focusing on those landmark ones like sixty-five and seventy, seventy-five, and eighty. After ninety, many elders are thrilled to be recognized for each and every year after ninety. Any time after this decade is a landmark. This doesn’t negate, however, those folks who avoid the whole recognition of any chronological age in favor of the mystery of the unknown. Do you have an acquaintance who you have never known their age nor will they willingly share it with the world?

What Makes Us Feel Younger?

While it’s rarely possible to consistently feel younger, we can slow our subjective age by doing certain activities. Both men and women identify spending time outdoors and in nature as a major factor in feeling more youthful. Also, traveling, attending live events, and learning new skills also positively impact our feelings about our age. Those who have a more active social life reported feeling younger at heart too.

Personally, with old age, I’ve felt much less self-conscious about my age and all that goes with it. I’m not trying to impress anyone, change their opinion, or get them to agree with me. This frees me up to spend more time doing exactly as I wish. Also, I’m less worried about my body image or whether I’m following the latest fashion style. I can pursue interests and hobbies without consideration of what others might think.

What About You?

How old do you feel and does your chronological age match that feeling? What is your opinion about the role of chronological age in how we see ourselves and others? And, finally, do you agree that there are freeing aspects about being older?