How old are you????

Post date: Aug 15, 2015 3:00:51 PM

Written by: Mohamed Eldessouki

Date: 14/10/2014

We were raised on the naive notion that: "whoever being one-day older than you, will exceed you with a one-year of knowledge"! We were also taught that younger generations should "respect" the older ones, and the older should "be kind" to the younger! Unfortunately, many people manipulate these principles heavily and consider their age as their "main asset"! I always wonder why people make a lot of pride for nothing but their age?! It seems like, because that is their truth! People who did not achieve anything in their life tend to consider their age as an advantage that "should" put them somewhere on the top of others!

Personally, I don't prefer to consider the age as a "pre-factor" when I get into a conversation with any person. I do not even prefer to use the words "older" or "younger" than me. Instead, I refer to people as they were "born before" or "born after" me. My personal experience showed me that: I learned A LOT from people who were "born after me", and - I think - I was able to "teach" some people who were "born before me"!

So, here is my philosophy about the age and how I perceive it! ...

I believe that, there are three ages (not "one age" as people might think):

1- Calendar age: I call it this way because this "age" depends "only" on the calendar. When you flip the calendar one day, you become one day older, if you flip it one month, you become one month older ... and so on! We do not have any control over this "age"; as we do not select our "birthday" and we can not modify its measuring units (days that consist of 24 hours, hours that consist of 60 minutes, minutes that consist of 60 seconds) that are equal for everybody on earth.

Unfortunately, people use calendar age most of the time; despite - what I believe - the fact that: it is not accurate and does not precisely reflect the identity of the person! However, people use it ONLY because of its "simplicity" as a "quantitative" measure that does not include many arguments about its identification!!!

2- Mental age: Mental age is "relatively" proportional to the calendar age (to some limits). That is, when kids grow up (in terms of their calendar age), their mental age grows up with them. This process continues until a certain age after which they reach a "control point", where they can decide if they want to: increase, stop, or decrease their "mental age"!

The mental age is formed by gaining "experience" and people grow mentally by exposing themselves to certain experiences that teach them the "right" and the "wrong" doings! However, mental age is not constrained with the calendar age and - if you decide - you can increase it "exponentially"! This can be achieved by acquiring the experience of other people! But, the question that poses itself here is: HOW?

The answer is simple: READING! We know that, books are the placeholders for people's experience as they document their "personal life" there. Since you do not have enough time in your life to experience everything in the world, it is easier to read what others have experienced and learn from it. This is the shortcut that, definitely, helps the person to grow his/her mental age!

On the other hand, some people abuse their mental abilities and make the wrong decisions. For example, If you decided to watch TV all the day and night, please check the length of your ears and "tail" every day... Because your tail and ears are elongated and, at some point, you will become a "donkey" :)

If the "calendar age" is used more frequent for its deterministic properties, the "mental age" cannot be determined precisely. It is difficult to be measured and in many cases I disregard the claims of a person telling that "my mental age is so and so"!

3- Emotional age: Unlike the previous two ages, this age is amazing; since YOU can CHOOSE it as you WISH.

Have you ever meet "hopeless" teenagers, who live the life of 70 years persons while their "calendar age" is 17?! Those "pessimists" do not have a sense or feeling of their life. Benjamin Franklin said "Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75"... This statement does not literally mean "people die at 25", but it implies that these people "stopped of living" at 25 and their death happened at 75 and they were buried by then. The emotional age resembles the "glasses" that you wear and affect the way you see the world... If you choose to wear black glasses, you will see everything blackish, everything is not good (damn it, it is a black life)! Therefore, It is up to you to decide the way you "see" the life and "feel it"... "Emotionally". Just consider yourself without a "birth certificate" that tells you about your "calendar age" and decide your age by yourself.

By the way, when someone asks me about my age, I directly answer that "I'm 19 years old" :) ... In fact, I forgot my "calendar age" because I see it as completely irrelevant and I do not think about it anymore! ... I have "chosen" this age because this is the time when you feel the complete control over your life! At this age, you can decide to become or make anything, while you do not have yet the "heavy load" that life will through on your shoulders afterwards!

In a nutshell, we can perceive the three ages from three different perspectives as indicated in the following table:


Ability to Choose Ability to Control Ability to Measure


Calendar Age NO NO YES

Mental Age YES YES NO

Emotional Age YES YES YES


I understand that there is also a "physical age", which is controlled by the "biological cells" of our bodies and the way they are "aging" with time. It is unfortunate truth that we can not go over that constraint :-( . If a 75 years old person (calendar age) decided to consider 25 as his/her "emotional age", he/she might not be able to carry out the "physical actions" of a person 25 years old! This is a fact, and I cannot argue about it! But, I just want to point out the difference between that person as he/she will be far better (even physically) than his/her colleagues in the same club (the club of 70s) who just think of themselves as 75 years (emotional age)!

After I built these ideas about age(s), I noticed some references to that notion in historical work, such as the ones by Francis Bacon (the great philosopher of his time) who said "I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am." He also stated that: "A man finds himself seven years older the day after his marriage" ... According to this statement, my answer to the question in the title of this post becomes ... I am 26 :)!