We usually measure our age by using a standard calendar to mark off each completed year beginning from our date of birth. However, we also need to consider two other age factors when determining our actual age: our biological (physical) age and our emotional age. Why? Calendar age reveals little about how old or young our bodies actually are and what age we feel we are, regardless of our chronological age.
As you know, chronological age is calculated by taking your date of birth and advancing it one year at a time based on a 365-day calendar, which is the number of days it takes the earth to complete one orbit around the sun. So basically, our chronological ages are measured by earth-around-sun orbits. Want to have some fun? The next time someone asks you how old you are, respond by telling that person how many orbits around the sun you have completed. Then wait for the reaction.
Maybe you think you’ve made more orbits around the sun than you care to admit. Cheer up. If you were living on our neighboring planet Venus, where a year (one orbit) is completed every 224.7 Earth days, you would be considerably older. Plus, the air there is worse than it is in China.
Biological, or bio, age is a measurement of how well or poorly your body is functioning relative to your actual calendar age. Bio age is closely correlated with lifestyle habits. Several health factors—such as exercise, eating, weight, stress levels, alcohol and tobacco consumption, quality of relationships, and the amount of rest you get—all play a role in affecting your biological age. Hereditary traits and where you live in the world also need to be considered.
Biological age tests reveal that most people physically age faster or slower than their chronological age due to lifestyle choices made or not made throughout a lifetime.
There are a couple of methods to determine your biological age. Mail-order blood tests for a fee are becoming popular. However, the jury is still out regarding the verdict on how definitive or accurate they are. Another way is to take a written biological age test. Also not an absolute determent of biological age, the results are interesting to study nonetheless. A free biological age test can be completed at https://growyouthful.com/gettestinfo.php?testtype=quizb. This 140-question quiz was created by David Niven Miller, who is a leading authority on the aging process and has authored books and articles on the topic.
How old you feel on a given day is perhaps the most important measurement of aging. Just living longer should not be the only goal you have when it comes to aging. Living longer and feeling good both physically and emotionally can be the difference between facing each day with anticipation or trepidation. People who age well—that is, who make the very best of what their bio bodies will provide by staying active, usually also have a positive outlook on life. For them, completing another orbit around the sun doesn’t mean one less year of life to travel. Rather, they view the anniversary of their birth as an opportunity to add a few more chapters to the story of their lives.
Those who remain emotionally younger than their calendar ages and their contemporaries tend to do so with hearts filled with gratitude rather than regret. Many find some of their greatest joy in defining their purpose as serving others rather than expecting to be served by others.
Having a life purpose in not just one but several facets of your life regardless of your retirement status provides a feeling of relevance and meaning—a huge factor in feeling loved and accepted. A strong sense of purpose is a known contributor to slowing down the aging process. Discovering a new purpose beyond employment responsibilities is a critical component in retirement planning. It’s important to feel relevant and connected beyond the social confines of jobs that may no longer be present one day.
Based on how you feel physically and emotionally today, if you didn’t know your calendar age, how old would you say you were?_______
If you feel younger than your calendar age, the next time you do something childish—like spontaneously squeal for joy or figuratively color outside the lines—and someone tells you to act your age, tell ’em this: you are!
Chronological years don’t necessarily make you right, but they can make you wise. The real value of wisdom is realized when it is shared with others through personal life stories. My grandfather was one of my greatest life teachers for this reason.
Bio age is the result of lifestyle choices made each day over a lifetime. Healthy choices equal slower aging. Unhealthy choices equal accelerated aging. It’s almost as if the universe interprets positive lifestyle efforts or lack thereof as a desire to stick around for a while or not.
In addition to being affected by your current physical health state, the age you feel you are is also impacted by attitude and belief—two things you have the power to change any time.
My recipe for feeling younger than I am has four ingredients: a commitment to making good decisions every day about my physical, emotional, and spiritual health; a vow to be active and live on purpose rather than by accident; a pledge to metaphorically drink daily from a glass that is half full rather than half empty; and a promise to not take myself so seriously—because no one else does.
What’s my age? I’ve completed sixty-five orbits around the sun. My body age is fifty-five, and I feel like I’m thirty-something most every day.
Enjoy your orbit!
I created You Vision for you to discover your core purpose in seven facets of your life. Request yours today. It’s free. Click here: You Vision
Jim Collier, author of Retirement is Recess for Grown-Ups and the blog The Retired Retirement Planner, is the founder of RetirED LLC, a non-affiliated retire ready resource company located in Larkspur, Colorado.
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