Age Is Just a Number, a Test Score to Ignore ); Fiona Looney's KITCHEN SINK DRAMA

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), January 30, 2011 | Go to article overview

Age Is Just a Number, a Test Score to Ignore ); Fiona Looney's KITCHEN SINK DRAMA


Byline: Fiona Looney

After an intensive bout of brain training on her Nintendo, The Youngest now boasts a brain age of 48. I cannot decide whether that's a good or a bad thing. I know that I'd be deeply dismayed if I posted a mental age of 48 and I can't help feeling that The Youngest's results actually suggest that she's a bit absent-minded and vaguely menopausal. Which, since she is nine, is slightly unsettling.

In any event, it's not brain age that I'm concerned about right now; it's body age. Because it turns out that in spite of everything I've thrown at myself in the way of health and fitness over the past 20 years, my true body age is actually -- well, let's just say that it's considerably older than the numbers on my birth certificate suggest.

I have only myself to blame, of course. Simply, I can't pass a quiz. Whenever I see a headline that queries, 'How fit are you?', 'How much do you really know about nutrition?', 'Are you a stress-o-holic?' etc, etc, I have to do it.

I have done quizzes in The Teenager's magazines to discern which character in High School Musical I resemble most and which member of JLS I'm most likely to marry. The fact that I can't tell one member of JLS from another didn't deter me for a moment -- put a multiple choice in front of me and I am compelled to choose.

So when the Good Health supplement asked 'Are You Old Beyond Your Years?' I was primed. Now, normally I perform well in these sorts of quizzes, otherwise, obviously, I wouldn't do them at all -- so I was quietly confident ahead of the various mental and physical challenges it set down. But, from the off, I stumbled.

Count backwards in sevens from 100, it said, and see how long it takes. Well. It took a while. I had to abandon my first effort because I got confused and then panicked. When I took a second run at it, I got from 100 to zero in 30 seconds and then checked to see how I had defied the years with my score. I hadn't. The result suggested I am between 40 and 60. Whoop-dedoop.

The second test involved pinching the skin on the back of my hand and counting how long it took to return to its original position. It took five seconds: a crime that carried a two-year sentence. The years were suddenly mounting up. …

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