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wundayatta's avatar

How old is your mythical, essential self?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) December 29th, 2012

When your eyes are closed and you are imagining yourself interacting with the world as your ideal self, how old are you?

When I look in the mirror, I see someone who is old and gray. But when I don’t look in the mirror, I feel like I am 20. I feel like I can run for miles and jump high and do anything I decide I want to do. Inside, I am the most perfect I ever was still.

Reality sets in, as is its wont, and I am 56. I can’t dive off the diving board because it hurts my heels. I can’t ride my bike 100 miles because I don’t even have the stamina to go 40 miles. My memory fails me regularly.

But when there is nothing to remind me of all that, I am still 20 and I feel like that’s how the world should see me. Not as this old, gray non-entity that everyone ignores.

How old do you feel, inside, when no one is looking and your true self can appear?

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12 Answers

hearkat's avatar

I definitely don’t feel as though 46 years have passed since my birth. My physical peak was probably in my teens, and I definitely don’t feel in my mind as though I still have all those abilities anymore (but I was never much of an athlete anyway). I don’t mind being 46, but I feel as though only 32 years have gone by at most—I think I’ve been gypped of 14 years somehow. What really blows my mind is that my son will be 22 soon. It really does go by in the blink of an eye. sigh

bookish1's avatar

I don’t have an essential self.
But I felt old at 17 and now I feel like I’ve been that age for about a decade.

Blondesjon's avatar

I’ve been stuck at 12 years old for the past 30 years.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

GQ.

I feel about 35. I was at the height of my career, which has been downhill ever since then. At the end of my 35th year, I got sober, so everything felt new and raw. I was not yet diagnosed bipolar, thus lacked the reeling mind.

The last 14 or 15 years have been interesting to say the least.

And, @wundayatta, you are not a non-entity.

Ela's avatar

Probably around 13. I still giggle a lot at stupid things (what adults find stupid at least).
I also say silly, awkward, random stuff that no one seems to understand much.
Sometimes I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin and I allow people I care for to influence how I feel about myself.

burntbonez's avatar

I think I’m 30. That was when I felt like I had finally become an adult. I felt like I understood the world and could make things happen. I was about to get married and it seemed like my path through life was set. Perhaps it was a moment of hubris in my life. Things changed rapidly after that.

cookieman's avatar

In my head, I am perpetually twenty-five.

pleiades's avatar

I’d say my commonsense and wisdom is that of a very experienced man. I’d say about 60. However at the same time I am as immature as a 13 year old who has to come home at 6pm.

Shippy's avatar

I’m 32

downtide's avatar

My essential self is around 30, and is a ginger. Just like my Second Life avatar.

Ela's avatar

@downtide are you a daywalker? my middle son is a daywalker : )

downtide's avatar

@Ela not really, because sadly, my real, physical self is not ginger. I wish I was though.

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