Saturday, February 19, 2011

How old are YOU?

Courtesy dictates that people do not ask a woman how old she is.  But still the question comes up on forms and applications, and occasionally, from the socially awkward.

And in those cases, the question always means, what is the chronological time you have spent on this earth?  Since I was born in 1954, my chronological age is 56.

But if instead the question was, How old do you feel?  Well, then the answer would depend on what day, and what time of day, the question was asked.

Some mornings, when I roll out of bed, my muscles stiff and sore from working out or gardening, my hands stiff and swollen from who knows what, I feel - 90, worn out and worn down.

When the dog and I chase each other around the yard, with me breathless from laughing, I feel - 10, young and carefree in the barefoot days of summer.

When I walk into a room full of people I don't know, I feel - 13, walking into junior high on the first day of school.

When I solve a difficult problem at work, I feel - 20, grown-up but idealistic, ready to conquer the world.

When I successfully cope with a household crisis or handyman emergency, I feel - 30, experienced, capable, confident.

Only rarely to I remember that I am 56.  That usually happens after I realize that 2012 with be my 40th high school reunion.  Or that my quiz book was published 32 years ago.  It is hard to keep thinking of yourself as 25 when those facts pop up.

So how old do I feel?

I feel ageless.

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