How Old Are You in Your Head?

There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time.” Milan Kundera in Immortality

Our FBC is a 34 year old filmmaker and I recently re-watched the first movie he ever made with BE. He was eight. It’s an adventure film involving killer bunnies with a lavish soundtrack and curious special effects. (I’ve been threatened with bodily harm if I share the link.)

The boys clearly saw themselves as older in this film which they directed, wrote, and starred in. I’m guessing they pictured characters in their twenties. I wonder if little children playing house or doctor or teacher or wedding caterer (a favorite of our TBC in elementary school) picture themselves being older while pretending.

One of my favorite writers, Jennifer Senior (age 53, feels 36) wrote this article for The Atlantic about the phenomenon of imagining ourselves to be younger than our chronological age. She refers to several studies as well as individuals who feel younger than they are: Psychologist David C. Rubin (age 75, feels 60), Law Professor Richard Primus (age 53, feels 35) and Writer Molly Jong-Fast (age 44, feels 19).

As another birthday is weeks away for me, all the age things whirl in my brain.

I will be 67 and – depending on the day – feel like 36 or 50 or 70. I noticed recently when traveling by plane that everyone wanted to help me lift my carry-on into the bin or give me their seat on the shuttle. It was confusing until I realized that I probably look like I can’t lift things or stand. And that’s just sad.

I’ve just recently realized that I’m probably going to live to retirement and so I should probably make plans. My siblings and I continue to be shocked that we are alive past 60 considering how young our parents were when they died. Seriously. It’s shocking.

My life expectancy is 90 according to the Lifespan Calculator and I assure you I will not be serving in The Church anywhere near 90- at least professionally.. But I know I’ll be doing interesting things, as long as my body allows. The subject of retirement kind of bores me and even this subject of aging bores me. It reeks of Boomer Privilege as if we are the first people to experience it.

I would love to hear – if you are willing to share – what age you are in your head. I know 15 year olds who seem 40 and at least one 98 year old who seems to be no older than 60. Life is hard and sweet and important to ponder. May Lent be a good time for pondering over the next 40 days.

Image of Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle. She was 32 when playing Annie Reed in this movie. I was 37 at the time. I always wanted her to play me in my HBO series Church.

16 responses to “How Old Are You in Your Head?

  1. I’m not sure of the age, but I think of myself as having the brown hair I used to have. My hair has been going silver-gray for 20 years and now there is pretty much no brown left….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. E – I would say that you seem about 40?


  3. I’m 86 and think I’m 60 and then my body reminds me of my age!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chronological age? Emotional age? Physical age? Cognitive age? I am the age I am in a holistic way, I hope. Not the same as 23 years ago when I came to seminary in my early 40s, or as when Iwent to college at a young 18 years of age (June birthday) or married at almost 23 or had my first child at 29 or second at 33. I hope my emotional age/intelligence is more keenly honed than in my younger years, and I think my cognitive faculties ( reasoning, memory, fluency, and semantic knowledge) have not declined overmuch and remain reasonable facile. My knees are older than my (titanium) hips and remind me of the fact. The physical aspects of aging are more present in my experience of my 68+ year old self than the others, at least as I know myself today. So no particular age, living into the chonos of who and where I am, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m 54 and feel pretty close to that. Maybe 50. I think my chronic knee issues helped me feel my age sooner than maybe I would have otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Jan, I’m 69. That startles me because I often think I’m much younger. Lately, I’ve been saying “I’m old” and then creating a new project or going on some adventure in the wild world.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Speaking of creating something new, we are due.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, now this a question… I wrote a blog piece about turning half a century old last week, I mean 10 years ago… My how time flies. In my head on good days I am 12. On bad days, I can be momentarily 3, 33, or 303. I do not feel 60, whatever that’s supposed to mean.
    I hear some of my contemporaries carrying on as if they were 85, not 60. I know a few who won’t climb even short ladders. Me, I still want to find trees to climb, although that’s not considered dignified, so I don’t. But I must surely be a case of arrested development because 12 is my happy place. If I can grow to be the girl I was at 12 + the wisdom 48 more years has given me, I will consider that success.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Will be 60 in May. Feel perpetually 39-40

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m 69, and very rarely feel older than 35-40. The years after retirement from presbytery staff (Christian Educator) have actually been more involved in service to the church and church-related organizations than ever. There’s more to life than church service, of course, and I’m extremely fortunate to be able to pursue my dream of full membership in the Iona Community at this point in life. I hope we Boomers can help eliminate or at least diminish some of the prejudice against aging that is rampant in American culture.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m 35 in my head

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m about 26 in my head. That’s the age I was when I married Andy and I just realized yesterday that he was my husband for twice as long as I was single! I was 78 when he died last summer.


  13. I’m about 26 in my head. That’s how old I was when I married Andy, and I just realized yesterday that I was married twice as long as I was single! Andy and I had just celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary (I was 78) when he died last summer.


  14. I feel like I’ve been 32 for most of my life (I’m 42 now). I was an obnoxious kid, how much I focused on being “reasonable.” (That said, I had a period in junior high when I was convinced I wouldn’t live past 18, so.). I still feel like I’m about 32 in my brain but I’m glad to be in my “forget you” (different, not church appropriate, phrase) 40s. It’s very liberating!


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