Anybody that’s been within hearing distance of me in the past 15 or so months knows I turned 50 in 2017 and they also know that I am not happy about it at all.
I was always the kind of person who never really paid any attention to aging or what my number might have been. I didn’t even notice turning 30, I was still young and strong, and I barely noticed 40 beyond a couple of jokes made by well wishing “friends.”
But 50 fell on me like a ton of bricks. Now, I’m not claiming I’m all depressed or wondering what the point of it all is. I’m just highly irritated by the fact my age now starts with a 5.
I may have found a cure. A study by a doctor at Seoul University (I believe they are UT’s homecoming game this year) said that people who just think of themselves as young actually feel better, look better, have less depression and are much more healthier than grumps who do nothing but complain about being old.
The study was done on people between age 59-84 (way older than me) and aside from brain scans and questions about how they lived, they were asked if they felt younger than their age, felt their age or considered themselves older than what their birth certificate said.
Not surprisingly, those who said they felt younger way outpaced those who answered otherwise. As far as I could tell in the story I read about the study, they didn’t ask them how young they felt. If you’re 67 and feel 65, is that really something to brag about? I’d want to feel at least 10 years younger than I actually am.
This study follows another study that says brains actually start aging beyond repair at 25 years. This study said that some kind of spinal fluid that flows through the brain starts to get old at 25, changing the speed at which it flows and it can, in no way, be sped back up. So, the next time somebody gets old way before their time, you can blame it on Cerebrospinal Fluid.
One of the all time great philosophical questions, or so I think, is: If you didn’t know how old you were, how old would you think you are?
Personally, I would think I was early to mid-40s. Some may laugh, a little too loudly, at that thought, but if I look in the mirror and my goatee has magically gone from white to dark brown (no idea how that happens), I think of guys I know who are in their forties and I don’t think I look any worse than they do.
Heck, some of them look WAY worse than I do, but that’s probably because they’ve had a lot of cigarettes and alcohol in their lives and I’ve had none.
Anyway, the study also says once you hit 40 you start to lose five percent of your brain power per decade. That basically means if you hit 40 at 100 percent, by the time you reach 80, if you do, you’re operating at 80 percent brain power. As you get older, you probably lose brain power at a larger rate, but we’ll go with five percent here.
If you’re a smart phone user and you see you have 80 percent battery life left, you feel pretty good. If you’re driving a car and you have 80 percent of a full gas tank, you won’t worry for a while.
But losing 80 percent of your brain power, when most of us aren’t that smart to begin with, is cause for concern. What if that 20 percent you lost contains your memories and the know how to do basic things? If it’s the last 20 percent, containing everything you’ve done recently, would that explain why you don’t recognize family members but can recall something that happened when you were 25?
Man, that took a dark turn. But look on the bright side. We’ve all known the 90 year old who still gets around well and is sharp as a tack. They probably don’t feel a day over 70 and don’t look a day past 80.
And if you do have to look at a 70-year-old you’ve known all your life and have them not recognize you, tell them to think young. Hey, when you’re facing that nightmare, anything is worth a try.
And remember, 50 is the new 40.