Whether you are 40 or 90 years old, age really is just a number. What is important is your approach to life? Get that right and you are on track to welcome maturity with open arms.
I believe we all experience three ages:
I can do nothing about my chronological age. My chronological age is the number of years I have lived on the planet this time round. It is just a number.
My biological age is a movable feast. I can be older or younger than my chronological age depending on how well I look after myself. Plus I can make a determined effort to repair the damage I’ve caused to myself over the years. I can be 40 years old biologically in a chronologically 60 year old body or I can be a 70 year old biologically, in a 50 year old body. If I take responsibility for my health, I can push back time.
Physical ageing is reversible
Physical ageing is reversible in almost every bit of our bodies. Bone density and muscle strength can be improved through exercise and, thanks to innovative health technology, most bits of me can be replaced. I’m the lucky recipient of a health technology that is advancing faster than I am ageing. Think how many people you know who have had hips, knees and heart valves replaced. These procedures are now common, compared to their rarity a generation ago.
By far the most important age is my essence age. How old do I see myself? It can be any age. It’s the age that pops into your head as soon as you think about how you feel about yourself inside. And it’s an age that can move around or go up or down. Inside my mind, my head, my soul I’m never been older than 32.
I have a friend who is 68. When I asked him what age he was inside his head, he replied instantly. “I’m 16 years old. I’ve always been that age.” As soon as he said it, I could see how right he was. He’s a big bear of a man who rushes around with all the exuberance of a teenager and at times collapses with all the angst as well.
If I perceive myself as ‘old’, I am more likely to focus on my chronological age as a problem. I am likely to reduce my expectations for the future. My main topic of conversation will about aches, illness and the last trip to the doctors, because I believe that to be old is to be ill.
We are as capable of shutting down our lives as we age, as we are of opening up to possibilities. In other words, if you want to stay young, think young.
“For a long time I felt 15 inside. More recently, that’s risen to 35. But 60? Don’t be ridiculous! Where did all that time go?” Lulu at 60
Penelope Young is a Coach, Writer and Speaker about the benefits of being just that little bit older. She’s currently writing a book ‘Young at Heart – with wisdom’.