How old you feel?
Everyone says that 'age is just a number', but feeling a certain age and being of a certain age are two very different things. Find out why some of these Dubai residents feel young, or old, and why it's all just in your head
Someone I know is about to turn 30, and she is mortified. She cant get over the fact that she can no longer write a '2' in the age column - it now has to start with a '3' instead. Apparently, that's a game-changer. All that mumbo-jumbo about age being just a number has flown out the window, and has been replaced by thoughts of lying about her age. It has nothing to do with feeling 30, by the way, it's just the milestone that's the problem.
So what is it about adding another year to your tally that raises mental alarms? Is age really just a number, and, more importantly, does that number have anything to do with how old, or young, you actually feel? These Dubai residents, young and old - both physically and mentally - tell us why it's all in your head and why you should act like how old you feel, not how old you are.
Dale Thomas, 57. Feels 25
I think that at some point, age is something you feel because your body or mind starts to tell you that you can't do certain things. Of course, that's not the case for me. I ran two Marathon des Sables in the Sahara - that's a six-day, 251km ultramarathon - in 2011 and 2013, and I also run at other marathons around the world. I run for cancer charities and I have climbed the Kilimanjaro as well. My last race was the Amazon Jungle Ultra marathon, that I was forced to retire from, not because I was too old for it, but because I was not getting enough nutrition during the run, which forced me to pull out. I have never thought of slowing down. In fact, the day I came back from the Amazon, I signed up for the race this year, which takes place on June 5 - and this time, I intend to finish!
I think you can do anything you put your mind to; age doesn't even come into the picture. And the only way you can do that is to focus. I see people - maybe of my age, or even younger - that don't have something to focus on. I have two sons, aged 30 and 27, and I spend a lot of time with them. They are my focus. When I'm with them I feel young and lively, and they never tell me to slow down. In fact, when they visited me in Dubai, we went to Yas Island and I went on more rides than they did.
Running, especially for cancer charities like the Ollie Young Foundation, which is just a stone's throw away from my house in the UK, gives me focus too. It's a mental challenge I relish and it gives my life some intensity.
There are times I feel like a man out of time. I still say my 'pleases' and 'thank-yous', and never ever write emails or even text messages without proper spelling or grammar. That is quickly disappearing from peoples' interactions these days. Good manners and behaving like a gentleman are very important to me. I think that should come irrespective of your age. The values that are instilled in you stay with you, whether you're five or 75. Those values will carry you through your life.
Simona, 53. Feels 30
I feel young - young at heart. I know people in their 20s who feel older than I do! Age is nothing more than a number on your birth certificate. It's what you feel inside that matters, and you can't let a number dictate that.
I moved to Dubai 10 years ago, when I was in my 40s, and have been here for 10 years now. I don't remember what it was like to be 30, but I feel like I'm reliving my 30s now. Just think about it, the younger generation is working; they have things to do. We have the time, the money and the energy to spend, which is why people over 50 are becoming a strong market for everything from fashion to travel. These are the best years! 50 is definitely the new 30, or the new black. Take your pick!
I don't ever feel my age. Of course, you feel it in your bones sometimes, but even 20-year-olds feel aches and pains. I am a bit of a couch potato sometimes, but more than physical fitness, I focus on keeping mentally fit. I read a lot. A lot. A lot! I have a library back home with more than 10,000 books, and since I got a kindle, I read even more. I do my job, which I enjoy, and I'm lucky to have children who help me feel young. I just found out that I'm going to be a grandmother, and even that doesn't make me feel old. Instead, it makes me happy. I feel happy that I get to be the wacky grandmother who spoils her grandkids. I feel great. Why would I ever feel old?
Who you are is what you do with your life, and that is not defined by your age. There are people in their 90s looking fabulous and doing great things. Look at Iris Apfel (fashion icon, interior designer and businesswoman). She's 93 years old and still doing incredible things.
Our generation, we had our problems, but I think the generation now just makes up problems where there aren't any. We ate dirt when we were kids! These days, even letting a kid go outside brings all sorts of worries. Just let them be children. Let them get cuts and scrapes. Stop worrying, young people, and maybe you will start to feel younger!
Debjani Mukherjee, 24. Feels 27
Although I'm 24, I sometimes feel like I'm a lot older - 27, or pushing 30. When I'm at work and things get hectic, and we have a lot on our plates, I feel a lot older than I actually am. I think that when I have to work hard to achieve something for myself or handle situations on my own, it makes me feel older.
When I'm at home or with my family, I feel a lot younger as things are often done for me. My family pampers me a lot and it makes me feel younger than I am. In a way, how old I feel fluctuates between 21-27 based on what I'm doing and who I'm with. Sometimes, after a particularly tough week at work, all I want to do is go to bed at 9pm - behaviour normally associated with 'older' people - and there are other times when I want to stay up all night and party.
I don't think maturity has anything to do with age. They are independent of each other and different people mature at different ages. Some, not at all! For me, getting older is associated with achieving milestones in life and having more control and responsibility over my own affairs. I think control is very important, and not having as much control is something I would associate with being younger. But my biggest fear about age, or getting older, is becoming irrelevant. I hope that never happens!
Tanya Sharma, 32. Feels 25
I am 32, but I don't like sharing my age with anyone, mostly because it's just another excuse for people to judge you. And it's a terrible thing when people start judging your whole life based on a number. I usually ask people to guess my age - and they almost always guess lower than what it is - and it makes me feel younger and wiser.
I do feel like I'm in my 30s when I'm surrounded by younger people who are on their phones the whole time. I think we need to talk to each other more and bring back the emotions, instead of using emoticons. Not participating in these phone conversations makes me feel a bit out of place. But what keeps me young is my faith, my family and my attitude towards life, which is to look at every situation with positivity. I consider myself a happy soul looking to spread smiles, love, happiness and positivity, no matter what.
Age is definitely just a number. but maturity has nothing to do with that number. Maturity depends upon experiences one has had in life. I think that with age, you realise the importance of being happy in life. You have to view life through the eyes of a child and get excited about the smallest of things. When you are childlike, age will be just a number and you will always feel young at heart. Always. Until you start getting wrinkles and white hair!