Back in the days of Sgt. Pepper, Lennon and McCartney had it right when they said, “You have to admit it’s getting better all the time.” If we all felt that way, we wouldn’t mind telling our age.
How did you feel the last time someone asked how old you are? Let me take some pressure off you before this happens again. Your age is not simply about the number of years you have been breathing on this planet. You may actually be younger than you think.
Measuring time since the day you were born only accounts chronologically for part of the equation — your age in years. Grab paper and a pencil and we’ll calculate what I call your true age.
As years go by, the cellular processes of your body are at work, and each of us manifests this in different ways. What I am saying is, some of us just look older faster. This biological process of weathering is your “body age.” The last of the three points to consider is your “head age,” or how old you feel psychologically. It breaks down like this:
Your chronological age is fixed and may be the quickest to calculate, but is the most misleading of the three. One person at 50 may jog up Foothill Boulevard with a stride as perky as that of most 25-year-olds, while another person at 50 has the body of a 70-year-old. Jot down your age in years on a piece of paper.
Next, your body age tells us how your organs and tissues have fared, compared to those of other people of your chronological age. Your body becomes younger or older biologically, depending on how you treat it.
A sedentary smoker will show up at his class reunion looking much older than a non-smoker who exercises daily and avoids sweets. Smoking, excessive drinking, high consumption of sugar, eating processed foods, stress and lack of movement accelerate the aging process.
However, if you have stayed in shape and enjoyed good personal care throughout your life, you may appear much younger than your years. Look in the mirror and honestly ask yourself this question: “If I just met myself, how old would I think I was?” Write this number directly under your age in years.
Your head age is even more flexible and is completely personal. No two people have the same psychological age because we have all had different life experiences. A high stress level, depression, continual trauma and sadness will cause you to feel older than your age in years, while passion for life and being filled with love brings feelings of youth and a freshness to your body.
We jokingly say, “You’re as young as you feel,” but this phrase is no joke, and science is now proving it to be a fact. An open mind brings a young heart, then the body follows suit.
In 2001, the National Endowment for the Arts and George Washington University conducted a national study referred to as the Creativity and Aging Study. They measured the impact of professionally conducted art-and-cultural programs on persons age 65 and older. After two years, the study reported better health, fewer doctor visits, increased level of activity, and less medication usage for those who participated in creative and artistic activities. Keeping in mind that this study focused on persons already in their mid-60s, this tells us that no matter what your current age, a little creative play is good for you.
Our last number to factor in is how old you feel. Take a personal inventory and write this down under the other two numbers.
You see, what matters is how fast our three ages are moving in relation to one another. You decide how old you are. Add the three numbers you have written down and divide by three. This will determine your “true age.” If you’re not happy with this number don’t worry — it’s like Mae West said: “You’re never too old to become younger.”
We know that exercise is the power tool that slows the aging process. Staying fit and strong adds vigor and brings a youthful glow to the face and years to your life. Exercise makes you feel good and feeling good is the first big step. Finding harmony in our lives is the rest of the path.
Here are some positive factors that bring harmony and keep you young:
Happy marriage or long-term relationship
Regular daily routine
Feeling in control of your personal life
Ability to laugh easily
Ability to express feelings easily
Desire to create, design or be productive
Optimism about the future
Ability to make and keep close friends
Being open-minded to new ideas and possibilities
So next time someone asks how old you are, don’t hesitate or be offended. Tell them the number you’ve just calculated — your real, true age. Or if you’re not comfortable with that, just start humming the Beatles’ tune “Getting Better,” and smile.
I’ll see you in two weeks.
Love and health,