Your calendar age doesn’t define you

Break free from the birthday shackle © Glowimages – models used for illustrative purposes
Break free from the birthday shackle © Glowimages – models used for illustrative purposes

Do you believe that you are you are ‘as young as you feel’? That you’re free to take charge of your own health, happiness and wellbeing, no matter what your age?

In frustration at some of the ingrained beliefs about aging that he saw shackling his colleagues and friends as they grew older, an American baseball legend asked, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” implying that you need to break out of the mental conditioning that makes you think you are defined by your age.

The calendar is a useful way to let you know the date, but if you let yourself be hemmed in by your chronological age, you may lock yourself out of potentially valuable opportunities.

Nextgen population researchers have recognised the greater import of health, cognitive function and life expectancy rather than age data as they plan for future populations. “We should not consider someone who is 60 or 65 to be an older person,” said researcher Sergei Scherbov. “Saying that ‘40 is the new 30’ .. is truer than people know.”

We’ve heard how our health age can be years younger than our calendar age, if we’re active and eat sensibly. Now, research into the mind/body/spirit connection in several fields, including neuroscience and meditation, adds evidence to the claim that it is our mindset, more than the food we eat or the exercise we do, that affects our physical body.

Excited by the health implications of the mind sciences, a Cleveland Clinic Foundation exercise psychologist compared individuals who worked out at a gym against another cohort who just visualized working out. Not surprisingly, the gym-goers experienced a 30 percent increase in muscle. However, the ones who only thought about working out also experienced a 13% increase in muscle strength, urging us to think beyond the physical to mental attitudes and capacities.

Many integrative health practitioners take this a step further, asserting that it is spiritual thoughts and practices that make a significant difference to better health and longevity. Mary Baker Eddy, an early researcher into this connection in her book, Science and Health, suggests that we “…. shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight” for a longer, healthier and happier life.

She also suggests that it’s time to stop focussing on the body so much, and be aware of the myths about aging that are constantly influencing us. Be aware that “timetables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood”, and stop keeping a record of ours or others ages; or at least dispute the assumptions of debility and aging every time you buy a birthday card.

Healthwise, it’s worth acknowledging that spiritual, mindful or positive thoughts bring vitality, freshness and promise to each day.

Some have broken free from the belief that they’re ruled by an aging body. You too can adopt a mental attitude of ageless being, and look forward to experiencing the health benefits.

This article was first published by the Fraser Coast Chronicle and Bundaberg News Mail.


  1. Tony says

    Thanks for that insight. What we keep in thought is so important. As we get rid of those angry, sad, depressing thoughts and concentrate on the good, we will enjoy life

    • health4thinkers says

      So true, Tony, although not always easy…. It’s great to hear how others are moving beyond the physical.

  2. Dianne E. says

    People can be so caught up with the ‘age’ scenario. Thank you Kay for broadening this discussion. It is good to read and know that integrative health practitioners are taking this step further. I was with a friend recently who is definitely challenging these medical health ways and she shared how her health practitioners are supporting her quest for the alternative. We shared ways we can’ shape our views of existence into loveliness”. A great article to share. Thanks so much.

    • health4thinkers says

      Thanks for adding to the discussion, Dianne. Many, it seems, want to move away from the narrow body-based medicine.

  3. Barbara Gunn says

    Interesting article, thanks Kay. I’m glad these ideas are ‘out there’ where they can be read and given thought.

    • health4thinkers says

      Yes, there’s certainly more and more information and research data ‘out there’ about the importance of our thoughts, and their impact on health. Thanks for being part of the conversation.

  4. Pam Gasteen says

    That was a very timely article….so much is talked about the “ageing process”. It would be lovely if we could be relieved of all the hoo-har attached to ageing and just be treated naturally and just live.

    Thankyou Kay Stroud for your good thoughts on this subject…..the book, Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy sounds like one everyone should read.

  5. Carey says

    Such a timely topic, thanks, Kay. The uncertain idea: “you are what you eat (exercise, sleep, medication…) is turning towards more certainty: “you are what you think…”; towards ageless truths only found in spiritual ideas and living.

    • health4thinkers says

      So true, Carey. You are what you think! So think thoughts that bring health and wellbeing to you and everyone.

  6. Barry M says

    Thanks Kay, I think we pay too much attention to time. I understand that some physicists have questioned the reality of time and have said that it was a human invention, a very convenient one but an invention.

    • health4thinkers says

      Dear Barry
      We really are just beginning to get beyond the ‘flat earth’ stage, in relation to time and space. Thanks so much for your input to the discussion.

  7. Julie Swannell says

    This new research is so very interesting. Thank you for broadening the discussion regarding ageing. It’s interesting that Mary Baker Eddy’s research led her to the discovery of man’s innately spiritual nature.

  8. Wendy J says

    Wonderful reminder that we are not victims of age or anything else – other than our own thoughts and attitudes. Thanks Kay!

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