Physical Age is Meaningless

“How old are you?”


“Sorry. That might be rude… but I was just wondering.”

Goodbye PurpleWith a genuine smile I say: “No, it’s fine. How old do you think I am?

“25. 26?”

I laugh out a “thank you.”

“Younger or older?”

Very surprised laughter now, “I’m even more flattered by that question. Older… by a good bit.”


“I’m 33.”

“Wow. You don’t look it.”


Not rude and also not telling

In my Italian class today (which I share with the most recent student who asked, the one quoted above) we learned “Quanti anni hai?” (how many years have you?). Using formal phrasing would be unlikely because, as we briefly discussed, it would be inappropriate to ask a Lady or Gent such a question.

I shared a laugh and brief eye-contact smile with said student.

I’ve been asked my age a number of times offer the last 3 weeks. Because of my position I am both one of and slightly appart from the other student at the center. The others, most of whom weren’t alive when The Wall fell, keep me feeling both young and old at the same time.

Old for all the missed references, young for I can still hang.

I don’t shy away from claiming my 33 years, but I am always interested to know the guesstimate first.

Often from those older it is in the 27/28 range, from those younger in the 25/26 area.

I always take it as a compliment but I know however flattered I might be that I can pass as a 25 year old, my place in the life spectrum is what skews perception to the lowball number.

Past being able to qualify for better insurance rates (or in my case disqualify from better cell phone rates) of what significance is that statistic?

Does the number matter?

GRT BirthdayI’m not sure I put much stock before in the idea that “age is just a number” or “you’re as young as you feel” but now I guess I have come around to that refrain. Our number of years spent on this earth is a rather meaningless piece of datum.

“How many years have you?” is just our shorthand for “Where are you in life?”

As my current situation demonstrates, the former isn’t necessarily reflective of the latter.

Just as we don’t know how much time we have left, how much time we have spent is not necessarily indicative of where we are.

I’ve lived a few different lives in the past 6 years. I’ve experimented, changed direction, moved locations, switched career paths and now am making up for some long held regrets.

I’m 33 but I’m in better health than I was at 23. I had purple highlights until a month ago andI discovered grey eyebrow hairs just last week. I certainly don’t have my 19-year-old bodily rebound ability anymore but I’ve been staying out late and still getting up early to do and see and experience as much happiness as I can each day.

The important question isn’t “how old are you?” but “how old do you think I am?” Or even more so:

How old do I think I am?

Life elasticity and adaptability is what we associate with the young, but it doesn’t only have to be a young person’s game.

Our age doesn’t necessarily determine how willing or able we are to change direction to do better for ourselves. Here I am breathing, seeing, hearing, looking, living, enjoying BeINg proof that it is never too late to chase down your dreams.

Tumblr Photo Posted September 01, 2012 at 08:29AM

Our physical age doesn’t matter so much as our mental and emotional pliability to embrace opportunity and change.

It isn’t how many years we have spent but where those years have brought us and what we are doing with the current time? It isn’t how far along our charted course of live we are, it is how happy are we here on this course? It isn’t how much time we have spent in our pursuits, but how willing we are to see and love our life’s current purpose and direction and, if it isn’t to our liking, tack onto a better one.

I hope that I know, remember and believe that at 43, 53 and 103.

Whether it be your millionth or billionth moment upon this earth, may you always…

Be IN,

Jo Signature





  1. Hi Jo, my impossible friend. 🙂
    I remember the Wall falling. Like you, I’m doing better now than at 23, unlike you, I’m doing way better than I did at 35. I’m 38. I’ve been “carded” buying alcohol twice in the last month (though I don’t think by any means I look 21), and most of my younger friends are amazed/bewildered by my tales of good livin’.
    Your message is a great one and I hope people take it to heart. If you’re not living younger than you are, today is the day to start!
    – Aaron

    • Hello My Impossible Friend,
      I’m only not surprised by your age because you seem to have an old soul. I too hope that more heed the call to jump in and try. I am certainly glad I heard and followed yours down the path of good livin’ — can’t imagine going back now. (You can do it! Sign up!) Keep your eyes on the horizons and love feeling the ground moving beneath your feet.
      PS – Going “barefoot” for Paris – can’t risk fracturing my foot again in silly soles.


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