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November 2, 2010

How We See Ourselves

I don’t often think about my age. In my mind, age is just a number…it’s more about how you feel and how you act, and since having children, I’d probably add “what life stage you’re in” to that list.

I think of myself as an “old soul”, and I’ve felt a lot older than my calendar years for as long as I can remember.

Do I look my age? Well, I don’t really know, and I don’t much care. I take care of myself as best I can, and that’s the extent of my worry.

Several months ago, I found myself in a group of new people, and following meeting everyone, I had an opportunity to learn their ages. I was shocked by so many of them.

For quite a few, I would have pegged them to be older than me, but they were in fact my age or younger. And there were a couple who were several years younger than me whom I thought were surely my age.

This experience did make me question whether I see myself as younger (physically) than I really am. It was an interesting point to ponder, but I didn’t spend too much time thinking on it, much less worrying about it.

This psychological exploratory occurred to me again recently, as I thought about how the girls label almost everything they see…”Puppy dog!”…”Kitty cat!”…”Airplane!”…and their favorite word of all-time, “Baby!

“Baby” was their first word, aside from Mama and Dada, and they now most often say “Tiny baby!” at that.

Although they know the words “boy” and “girl”, I’ve noticed that they call children even their age and a little older “Tiny baby!” quite frequently.

If a kiddo is walking around the store, he might have a chance of being called “Boy!” But a kid in a stroller, or one being carried by Mom? Not a chance.

So maybe it’s innate that we strive to be younger than we really are. Well, except maybe in high school…but that’s another psychological exploratory altogether…


Posie Patchwork said...

Very interesting points!! I agree, i feel like an old soul, i have very vintage ways & have always been very comfortable with my age. It's only really now my eldest is about to start high school that i actually feel quite young when i look at the other parents, i know my husband is a good 20 years younger than some!! Yikes!! Many mothers start having children at my age now (35) but if you compare where you're at - education, marriage, children, i just seemed to cram marriage, 2 degrees & 4 children into my late teens & 20s, so 35 for me is a joy ride!! Love Posie

Deanna said...

Interesting thoughts! I have always looked younger than I am (it's the freckles, I think!). As I get older, I tend to still think that I look a lot younger than a lot of my peers...but every once in awhile, I start to realize that may not be as true as it used to be. One of these days I am going to catch up with everyone else and start to look my age! Though at times my habits (homebody, reading, etc.) made me feel older than others, most of the time I felt younger because my interests were so different from a lot of the girls I went to school with.

I have noticed that my definition of age and maturity have changed greatly as I get older. In high school, I felt so mature and grown up. Now, I realize how very immature even the most grown up 18 year olds are! I got married at 24, and now people that I know who are 24 seem so young. The cycle of life, I guess! : )

reanbean said...

I wonder if it is more common for an only child to feel more like an old soul (or maybe oldest children as well). My mother used to say I was born 40-years-old. :o)

I am also a really bad judge of age when it comes to adults. I tend to think anyone who has kids around my kids' age is my age as well. So, I do think that where we are in life (i.e. single, dating, married, married with kids) has an impact on how w life our lives and can sometimes skew (for me anyway) how old we act and how old we believe others to be.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I am terrible at guessing people's ages so I ask outright if the subject comes up.

Like now :)

So how old are you anyway?

I used to always look younger than my age but I think I look my age at the moment - the weight doesn't help!!!

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