As old as you feel

I know we have all listened to some older relative and heard them say “I don’t feel any older..” At the time, we are often looking at a grey, possibly wrinkled person, and inside they are still a youngster. I suppose it must be a pretty universal feeling but at some point we stop our inner ‘age clock’ and, despite the external evidence, we cease to age emotionally from that day.

I guess I am a little like my car. It is no longer the current model but looks and feels pretty good for its age. I still enjoy driving it; it all works perfectly, and from the driver’s seat, I seldom think about its age. The exterior is in similar condition but it has the odd nick, nudge and signs of its time on the road. However, on the forecourt, you would probably choose a newer model.

Belatedly, I am beginning to realise that perhaps I am no longer the 25 year old I once was! This is not necessarily a bad thing either from the perspective of the passing of the years and what they have brought or how I feel. I appear to have traded a little hair for some wisdom (and I have to tell you the exchange rate is rubbish!) and a family (bless them!)

However, taking a broader perspective, we all have a divergent view when it comes to internal and external perceptions of reality1. We might apparently be dealing with a middle-aged man, having an adult-to-adult conversation, and inside they feel that some nasty grown-up is telling them off! We might see a capable, experienced professional and inside they perhaps feel confused and scared. What you see is only part of what you get!

So, if the responses you are getting from people seem ‘out of whack’ with your expectations, maybe this might explain it. Try shifting how you talk to them both in terms of tone and language; experiment and see if this is more successful at reaching them.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain

“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional”. Chili Davis

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