Is Age Just a Number?
“I’m not 40, I’m eighteen with 22 years experience.” ~ Anonymous
They say that forty is the new thirty. There are claims that you are only as old as you feel. On Monday The New York Times declared that the middle aged brain (40-65 years) is actually better at problem solving and inductive reasoning than younger brains.
In preparation for entering my forties, I have perused websites lauding this decade in a woman’s life. Supposedly, at 40, women magically stop worrying about what everyone thinks. Apparently, at forty, there is a new sense of confidence and self-awareness. I am not sure how this transformation occurs, overnight. I guess the forty fairies slipped into my bedroom last night to cast a special spell arming me with secret 40 year old knowledge. I am not sure that it has taken affect yet, I don’t feel any smarter.
Despite my lamentations about turning 40, I am also excited. I can officially read More magazine, but I am still too young for AARP. I can start using memory loss as an excuse for never remembering names. When I fall asleep early, I can blame my age and not too much training. If I achieve something great, people will whisper “can you believe she did that? She’s so old.”
In an effort to better understand the effect of turning 40, I spent some time taking quizzes.
The first group of quizzes compares your mental age to your chronological age. I figured that I am still young at heart, but needed some outside confirmation. Depending on the test (and I took lots), I varied from a baby to 65. The disparity, it seems, comes from my love of bathroom humor (very young) and my habit of sending lots of text messages and knowing text vernacular (young) versus my preference for watching a TV series rather than reality TV (old).
Since my mental age spans such a wide range, I thought my physical age would offer some clarity on how old I really am. I spent too much time taking the RealAge test and found out that I am 32.6. Another site put my biological age as 31.4. As a scientist I like that repeatability using separate measures, so I decided to quit while I was ahead and stop at two tests.
I looked at taking some brain age tests, but at 20-30 minutes they take too long for my limited attention span. I wonder if that reflects on my brain age?
Now that I have taken all of these quizzes, I am on endless email lists touting everything from life coaches to nutritional supplements to more quizzes. Wading through all of this information should help pass the time until I am fifty.
Female celebrities turning 40 this year: Uma Thurman, Heather Graham, Tina Fey, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Kelly Ripa, Sara Silverman