How old are you?

There were many times when I wanted to answer with a number that was higher than my age according to my birth certificate. Those were the “if only” years. If only I was 16 I could get a driver’s license. If only I was 21 then I would be an adult, drink legally, get married and have permission to do all the things that officially meant I was an adult.

Then came, if only I was 30 and ready to settle down into marriage and a family. And on and on, looking forward to being more mature and older, which automatically came with a multitude of enticing privileges.
Somewhere along the way “if only” changed to my wanting to go back to being younger again. My first recollection of the change came at age 39 when the Dr. said I needed reading glasses. That was the start of “if only” I was 30 with better eye sight and a healthier body. At age 40 the black greeting cards blared with messages of how I’m over the hill. The rationalization was I’d rather be over the hill, then under it!

Age 50 revealed changes in skin tone, weight gain and those ever amazing hot flashes. So I lamented, If only I was 40 again. Age 60 brought discussions and denial of retirement, old age insecurities and lamenting a disturbing loss of flexibility and energy. If only I was younger, in order to prepare for these inevitable events. At 65, the milestone is marked by the good news of qualifying to join Medicare.

Silver sages (seniors) don’t want to be older with all the aging challenges or younger to be forced to relive the past again. Today is what we have now and it is our focus. Yes, we constantly review memories to make decisions for today’s choices. That’s where we are mentally, when someone becomes impatient with our lack of rushing to give an immediate reaction or answer to questions.

When revealing my age, I know the verifiable chronological age is measured by the time that has passed from my day of birth, until today. Individual differences make it impossible to look at the chronological age with any certainty of predicting the appearance, mental capacity, financial status or anything else. There are markers of the appearance age which cannot be denied. Check out the wisdom spots and wrinkled hands and arms of a silver sage who is age 70+. Aging does show in the physical appearance.

Research during the past decade has given us a biomarker known as true age. By answering a set of investigative questions, a resulting true age is revealed. It is a comparison of various age groups to find a median result from questions about physical activities, interests and more. The resulting real age is compared to the true age outcomes to determine the mathematical difference. For example, this could result in the real age being 75 while the true age is 80, which is a calculation of the body’s health age. Whew! What a convoluted way to disguise the actual age by the calendar.

During the past decade I’ve been researching aging and what it means to the medical professionals and the scientists. Name calling irritates me. I’m not an old lady, a silver haired woman, old, aged or any of those names. My hair is silver and black as a sign of the years of wisdom I’ve developed. The group title of silver sage feels more comfortable when referring to the age 50+ population. When declaring a chronological age, a shift occurred in my speaking and writing. I say my best friend is age 71, not 71 years old. No more adding the title of “old” to the number.

Creams, lotions, skin tightening surgery, laser removal of unwanted skin spots and any other advertised magic potions to make us look younger, have become money makers. Those processes strive to make us look and feel like we are a younger version of our true self. Why is it wrong to be the best I can be by accepting the age I am today? Improvements are a wonderful goal if they are psychological enhancements which we can carry with us for the rest of our lives. Short term physical fixes push silver sages right back into the sales pitches telling us it is not acceptable to be the person we are today.

How old would you be if you did not know how old you are? Which age calculation do you use to reveal your age? Do you accept yourself or do you spend time and money to pretend to be younger?

Make peace with the past so you don’t mess up the present!

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