I recently took one of those silly online tests that “revealed” my true mental age.
I thought it was interesting, because I’ve said for the last few years that 28 is about how old I feel. And when I say “feel,” I really mean mentally, not physically. Frankly, my back hurts, I have arthritis in one of my knees, and I’m appropriately stiff when I wake for someone of my actual age.
But when I don’t have these physical reminders, I wonder if I’m the only one who sometimes really forgets how old I am. Here’s an example: I was required to get a new ID card for my part-time college teaching job. On campus one day, I got in line with a bunch of people who I assume were students, and I was quickly whisked into another line by someone working the room, who called “Professor, over here!” pretty loudly. I turned around to see who he was speaking to, when I suddenly realized it was me. And I seriously wondered – how in the world did he know I wasn’t a student? And I was NOT thinking, how did he know I wasn’t an older student who was returning after some break in my education? I was honestly thinking, how is he so sure that I’m not 20 years old?
It seems fairly ridiculous to me now. I have some pretty obvious markers of my age – some crows feet around my eyes, and one small but noticeable vertical wrinkle on my forehead that I’m starting to get concerned will soon deepen more and cause my face to just crack down the middle. The collagen in my hands has seemingly evaporated to the point where I’m embarrassed to use one of those super strong air dryers in a public restroom (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, either you have some collagen left, or you’ve never seen the skin on the backs of your hands blown around by a hand dryer. Check it out and tell me that I’m wrong).
But in my mind, I’m still so youthful. And I guess that’s what really matters.
Because firmly planted in my 40s, I’m happier, more confident, and so much more sure of who I really am and what it’s important to me than I have been in any other decade of my life. I’m just doing it all in some more sensible shoes.