An Adjusted Age
It has continuously bothered me how much stigma is associated with your chronological age. Too often there is an expectation that you should be living a certain life in a certain way at a certain age. Seven years ago, when I was much younger (a relative age), I wrote about this. I argued for an adjusted age based on numerous variables.
Skip ahead five years. I’m watching a scientific programme on the telly, and it is telling me about two doctors, Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, who are providing customers with an adjusted age based on their response to questions about physical health and lifestyle. They call it RealAge.
Their approach is primarily physical. It can all be done online, though I think an in-house assessment including a physical and some strength tests is also available. I like this idea, and I like these doctors. I believe that to get an accurate, and comprehensive assessment of one’s age, however, we need to include other variables other than physical health.
First, I would start with intellect. Smarter people live longer; it is known. Secondly, I might include a psychological test to uncover any neuroses (an attenuating factor) and discover the level of emotional intelligence the person had (hat tip to Daniel Goleman.) Third, I may or may not address a capacity for profound understanding, i.e., something close to spirituality but something that doesn’t necessarily need to be spiritual per se. I would take into account the person’s appearance and social behavior. Do they look young? How do they move? Are they a bit immature? What kind of personality do they have?
Finally, I would take into account certain rites of passage relative to when others pass through the same. For example, leaving the nest, making their first major purchase, the loss of virginity. (Incidentally, those last two may be the same event for some.)
Of course, all of these factors would be weighted differently, with physical health and lifestyle still receiving the lion’s share of the weight. In any case, I’d like to see RealAge and the above described method of calculating age—I’ll call it TruAge to differentiate between the two—accepted in place of calendar age. In fact, I would suggest that people calculate their RealAge or TruAge and use it in place of their calendar age when answering the age-old inquiry.
Why bother with all of this? Because you really do have some control over your aging, and using a fixed calendar age does not reflect this. A TruAge is liberating. It empowers an individual on a fundamental level, a level that once seemed immovable.
It allows you to travel in time.