Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Inner You; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images, Our Columnist Looks at the Gap between Age and How Young We Feel

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Inner You; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images, Our Columnist Looks at the Gap between Age and How Young We Feel

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles Saatchi the naked eye

IS YOUR teenage self still lurking inside you? Most people admit that they are conscious of feeling that way. It seems we can never rid ourselves of the nervy insecurities of adolescence -- or the youthful desire for carefree fun. We simply get better at hiding our inner teenager in order to present a sensible, grown-up exterior to the world.

In studies of older people, the average difference between their chronological age and their subjectively-felt age was 13 years -- but the gap was much wider among those who were healthy and active They were not in denial of the ageing process. However, even the more elderly sense that in many ways they are little different to their younger selves. Writer Michele Hanson is typical in explaining that although she is 70, she still feels 18 and is masquerading as an adult.

It is certainly the case that being aged 40, 50 or 60 is not the same as it was for our parents at 40, 50 and 60. We are better educated about taking care of ourselves, and have many more options for staying active, connected and engaged in life.

Preconceived notions about getting old no longer apply and, in fact, being young at heart has many benefits. Researchers have found that people who feel more youthful than their age are in fact more likely to live longer. University College London surveyed 6,500 older adults, with an average age of 66. When asked how old they felt, around 70 per cent felt younger than their actual age, around 25 per cent felt their precise age, and just under five per cent felt a year or more older than they really were.

The scientists followed up their subjects eight years later, and found that those who felt older than they actually were had a higher death rate than those who felt younger. Their report concluded that people who feel they have a youthful inner self, albeit in a much older body, are more resilient and have a stronger will to live. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.