As I head deeper into middle age I am more aware of the fact that I carry a mental-physical age around in my head that is not the age that I am. I used to hear of this notion, that people "stopped" at a certain age and I didn't understand it. Now that I am getting older, I understand it perfectly. I would put my mental-physical age at about 25. Sometimes I am shocked to look in the mirror and see what is reflected back at me. The face isn't too troublesome, but the full body look is downright depressing. It is not the body of the 25 year-old me and I am doubtful that I will ever see that body on myself again. Now don't get me wrong, I don't look "bad." In fact maybe I actually look good...for MY AGE. That's the clincher, when I was younger I could look "good" period, no disclaimer added.
I don't mean to be vain, but carrying around a mental-physical age that is decrepant from your real age has its drawbacks. For example, I can't just up and leave my job, confident that I will be able to get a new one. When I was 25 I had confidence and I wasn't used to disappointment, so I didn't anticipate it. Also my mind was sharper back then and I interviewed better than I would now. Now I am more blunt, not as idealistic, and mostly I am just plain tired and unable to utilize any emtional bandwidth towards shoveling bullshit in the professional realm and this makes searching for a new job ever so complicated. I don't like to shop, not that I ever really loved it, but I used to be able to cruise into a store, pull something off the rack in my size and style, and expect it to fit without ever tying it on. When I was younger, this strategy worked about 99% of the time. Now, even if a shop for a couple of hours and try everything on, I can still return home empty handed 99% of the time. Then there is the whole ma'am thing, I am still not used to it and it has been happening for years now. Sometimes I give short pause and look around a bit, is that "Here you are ma'am" or "Excuse me ma'am" really meant for me! This is particularly bothersome when it is said by a good looking young man who may actually be young enough to be my son.
It is good for me to write about this. This is the first step on a long psychological progression in which I will slowly match my mental-physical age with my true age and cease to give myself heart failure when I look in a full-length mirror. My other choice is to carry on with the rest of my life thinking and acting like a twentysomething while looking like an ageing fool.