In a Youthful State of Mind

Why do we think we’re younger than we actually are?

Last weekend, my fiance and I moved into our recently acquired home.  Although I’m new to co-habitating with a member of the opposite sex (other than my father), I’m not new to the process of moving since I’ve moved to dorm rooms, apartments, townhouses, and regular houses before.  So, when I was relocating from my 1-bedroom apartment to our 4-bedroom house, I naively thought it was going to be like my other moves in the past.  I was wrong.

I planned and packed, doing what was necessary to get the job done.  It was a given that my apartment was on the second floor and our house has two floors.  No biggie.  After all, in the past I moved up multiple flights sans elevator to a 4th floor dorm room.  I failed to remind myself, however, that I was 20 years old at the time and now I’m twice that age.  What I didn’t take into consideration with this move was that my body is not as young as I still think it is, a fact which became painfully apparent when my back was killing me the following day.

What causes us to think we’re younger?  When I was in my teens and twenties, I remember my mother and others saying that they didn’t feel they were their actual age.  I tried to understand it, but until lately I didn’t really experience what they were experiencing.  My fiance and I may be nearing middle age, but we were literally jumping up and down like a pair of over-excited 5-year olds the first time we entered our new house after closing on it.

I suppose attitude has a lot to do with creating a gap between our chronological age and our subjective age.  If we have a positive perspective, keep ourselves busy with activities enjoyable to us, surround ourselves with good friends and family, and look forward to doing different things, we feel more alive and happy.  We have more energy and strength.  In short, we feel younger.  The only problem is that sometimes our bodies don’t always keep up with our minds, which brings us to the real question: Why can’t we synchronize our physical and mental ages?

Why, indeed.

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