, Newburyport, MA


February 1, 2013

What's your 'real' age?

How old are you?

I am asked that question infrequently, and usually by someone who has not yet learned they should never ask a woman how old she is after a certain age. Personally, I don’t mind all that much, but the truth is sometimes — well, sometimes — I lie. If and when I do reveal my chronological age, I am usually met with disbelief, so why bother? One’s birthday, like our weight, should not be common knowledge. Besides, there is the disturbing prevalence of “agism,” which is just as harmful as racism and all the other societal “isms.”

Rather than looking at the date printed on a birth certificate, my preference is to consider one’s true age from the test results given by a whole-health physician, like the respected Drs. Memhet Oz or Andrew Weil. They assess all the diverse factors to determine how old you really are. They look at your mind and body, as well as your lifestyle, and come up with a marker for your “real” age.

Chronology might say you are 60, but your physical health could reveal you to be much older or younger, depending on these factors. Your mind may show you how much you have aged when you are no longer thinking clearly. Your attitudes may reveal you to be old-fashioned and inflexible or, hopefully, you have accepted and grown with the changing times in which we now live.

You might ask yourself what your assumptions about aging are. Do you feel old? Do you believe you are already “over the hill” or fast approaching that stage of life? Do you assume that, with age, you are likely to become depressed, diseased, decrepit and then die?

There is only one thing is predetermined, and there is no getting around it: Each of us will die. But, in the meantime, we may live a life of vitality and joy. Longevity may not be a universal goal for everyone. There is a growing number of people who do not hold a long life in high regard — unless it a life with some degree of high quality. We boomers, more than past generations, are looking at our late-in-life choices and considering just how do we stay young and healthy.

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