Archive for December 15th, 2009

Look young, live longer…

…..so the research says.

Today’s news update is brought to you via an Associated Press article on a new research study released in the British Medical Journal

I’m paraphrasing the report here.  Danish researchers were testing sets of twins.  Older twins (70+ years old).  They figured out which twin looked younger, based on three separate groups of people looking at photos.  Then, the researchers tracked how long the twins lived for a few more years.  So, the article says that the experts found “that people who looked younger than their actual age were far more likely to survive, even after they adjusted for other factors such as gender and environment.  The bigger the difference in perceived age within any twin pair, the more likely it was that the older-looking twin died first.”

Say what?  What does looking younger have to do with living longer?  There may be some correlation but how do you logically link the two?

I guess there is a potential biological reason.  The report goes on to say that the researchers found that people who looked younger also tended to have longer telomeres, a key DNA component that is linked to aging. 

I know.  Sounds fishy.  But also slightly intriguing. 

All I have to say is – if younger-looking people have longer telomeres, then I must have some of the longest telomeres in human history.  

Yes, it is slightly true that the older I get, the more I appreciate looking young.  But there are limits and frustrations with it.  Mind you, I would not wish for the opposite.  I’d rather people think I am 5 years younger than older.  But 5 years is nothing.  I still get carded.  And not just the – “We-got-busted-for-selling-alcohol-to-minors-a-few-months-ago-and-now-I-have-to-ask-for-everyone’s-ID” sort of carded.  But carded as in – the cashier took a serious look at my face and is now making me dig around in my purse for my ID, which she is sure to think is fake because it says *gasp!* that I am 38 years old.  38.  Legal drinking age is 21.  You do the math.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t constantly feel like I need to point out to Sweetie’s old friends (and new friends) that – yes indeed, our marriage is legal in all 50 states.  Over Thanksgiving dinner, I tried to find a way to bring up the age thing in conversation.  Just to reassure the new folks I met that night that I’m very close in age to Sweetie.  And of course, once I brought it up and laughed about how young I look, they all started telling me “Well, you do look *really* young.”  And “Yes, you look young.”  Same thing happened two years ago when I met many members of Sweetie’s extended family for the first time during the family reunion.  When I stood up to introduce myself, I left about 86 clues that I was pretty much the same age as Sweetie, which made me older than a lot of the cousins sitting around the room.  I think they were a little surprised.

I will admit, the whole issue is not as sensitive to me since I’ve started working from home.  Alone.  With no more client meetings and public hearings and meetings with half a dozen engineers, planners, lawyers and applicants who look at me enter a room and wonder: “Excuse me, where’s the real senior project manager?  Why did this firm send a 16-year old to manage our project?”  It is hard enough to tell a roomful of people things they don’t want to hear about a project.  Trying to do it while feeling like a 10-year in super-overstuffed chairs around a conference table I can hardly reach is NOT conducive to confidence building.  Egads.  Leave it to the lawyers to have the biggest, fattest conference room chairs made by man.  Thank goodness I don’t intimidate easy. 

So yeah, it’s a pain.  And I know I shouldn’t complain about it too loudly.  And I admit it doesn’t help that I act like a big goof sometimes.  This brings my perceived age-due-to-behavior down to about 14 (but what’s wrong with climbing a good tree?)  And, according to my old hairstylist: “You could wear more make-up.”   Argh. 

OK, I’ll shut up now.  I don’t know if I can convince anyone there are disadvantages to looking younger.  But don’t hate me because I look young.  Hate me because I have long telomeres. 

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