Tomorrow I turn 28. I don’t feel old, but the number looks old to me. I’ve been able to vote and buy lottery tickets for a whole decade! Turning 18 is in the distant past. That thought makes me feel old!

People say age is just a number. I’m starting to see what they mean. There can be a big difference between your actual age and your perceived age. From what I can tell, the spread can increase the older you get.

Start by comparing people of my own age - the mid to late twenties. There is some variance, for example, some of us look a bit older or younger than others - but the spread is only a few years. For the most part, we are all perceived by others as young, healthy people in our mid to late twenties.

Now compare this to people in their mid-sixties. This is the age range of my parents and also for my friends’ parents. From what I can tell, the spread between actual age and perceived age is much wider for this age group. Some sets of parents are healthy, active, and fully independent. Others are starting to slow down and just feel much older. They might be the same age, but it feels like they are over a decade apart!

As some studies have shown, this is not just an anecdotal observation. People age at different rates. A few Google searches yield some interesting reading. Since I am now starting to reach the point where the spread starts to become significant, I want to think about what I can influence now. Maybe there are some bad habits that I can identify that if I correct now, will decrease the spread in 40 years.