“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.” – – Lucille Ball
What worried me…even though I was no different of a person…was the fact that I was single and looking for a long-term relationship. I was dating younger men, which seemed “cool” at fifty, but not so “cool” at sixty. This was a strong motivating factor to avoid the big 6-0. The number alone would make me older in the eyes of every man I dated. The number alone has a huge impact when on any Internet dating site. Stereotyping kicks in.
The day you turn 50, a decade marker, does not mean you are now a different person than you were yesterday at 49 and 364 days. Society has defined us by these numbers, age follows your name wherever you go: driver’s license, medical records, job applications, bank accounts and marriage announcements. It is part of your identity. Yet, age does not really tell you anything about the person.
Age is a number. We become our age. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. But it doesn’t have to be. And after fifteen years of lying about my age, and living as that younger person, I wanted to write a blog that would share my personal experiences with other women, believing they, too, could be emotionally and physically enriched. Especially since I’m back into the dating scene, I found there is a huge single female population, 51%, with many wanting to find a personal relationship or to enhance and enrich their single life. But, now, as I write this, I believe woman and men of any adult age would gain insight into becoming ageless.
The problem with numbers is that they portray a fact. And when applied to our chronological age, it puts us into these boxes and then stereotype us with generalizations when often these categories are not true for everyone. Labels can wrongly identify us. Labels are not truths. They can limit us. They can prevent us from having a rich and exciting life. Retired does not mean we are dead to the world. Retired can mean a chance at doing something we have always wanted to do or perhaps even another job. My housekeeper was a grandmother at 28. She was not like any grandmother I ever knew in my childhood.
“As an index of aging, chronological age is deeply flawed.” Says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., in her published article Fulfillment At Any Age, Psychology Today, June 23, 2012. She writes that age is not a number, but a combination of three factors: your biological age, your psychological age and your social age. We know the social age is a set of markers, but we can change those. And there is more about out “social clock” later. Our biological age is more complicated, but you can actually check and find out your blood pressure, respiratory capacity, lung age, aerobic power, blood glucose levels, etc., with instruments. And research has shown you can cut down on the loss of these biological functions by regular exercise in which could make a 50 years old biologically only 40. Medical research has proven that regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle will slow down our biological age.
Our chronological age may be fixed, but our attitude is not cemented by our past experiences. Through our own expectations we can change our behaviors in ways we had never thought and then, so too, goes our limitations based on our race, religion, gender and age.
I began to become aware of everything I did that would label me “sixty”. I did not want to unconsciously start acting like what society expected of a sixty year old. Of course the first thing that troubled me was the number 60. Just looking at that number created a mind set. I did not feel sixty. I did not look sixty nor did I walk and talk like I was sixty. I needed something to remind myself not to become a “sixty” stereotype. I needed a new number! So I picked one: 50…if I’m going to do this, why not become 50?
Then I panicked and thought I could never do that. So I wrote down the number: 55. That looked reasonable. But, that didn’t seem enough, I needed to push myself, 55 seemed too easy. I could easily pass for 55.
“Go for the gold! Make it happen! Pass on the discounts!”
So I crossed out 55 and wrote 50. This physical act was my “trigger”, an intervention–faux placebo.
Dr. Ellen Langer, Ph.D., psychologist at Harvard, used placebos in her research. Most people think of them as a sugar pill, but they can be any intervention believed by the patient to be potent and produces physiological changes. Dr. Langer goes beyond that and thinks they are a huge factor in producing results. I was not familiar with Dr. Langer’s research until just recently, so my stumbling on to this for myself was pure luck.
And at the same time, perhaps it’s a personal reaction to the flip side–what psychologists refer to as the “nocebo effect”: the idea that society is telling me that I have no control over my aging process.
I truly don’t believe this! And I will not accept this premise.
“I believe you have choices and I’m going to prove you wrong!” Yes, this is more like me. Why not become that person you were or have wanted to be?
My blog posts will introduce you to “triggers” that will make you AGELESS.
Becoming ageless is an attitude. And picking a number you feel you mentally are is the first of the triggers to becoming ageless. My blog posts will show you how, step by step, to become AGELESS.
Age…the number…is only in our heads. We can change our age.