August 20, 2008

Act Your Age?

[By Crabby]

The swell folks at That'sFit alerted me to this story about Madonna turning 50.

Turns out, Madonna held a Fiftieth Birthday party at which no one was allowed to mention the fact she was 50 years old. (Confidential to Madonna: better idea? Just don't have a freakin' Fiftieth Birthday party. Are you really still in dire need of attention and presents at this point in your life?? )

Oddly enough, none of us here at Cranky Fitness were invited to the celebration, so we don't know if she was successful in squelching any of that nasty Fifty-Year-Old talk. But my guess? She probably pretty much gets what she wants.

Yeah, I swiped a photo just this once.
Sorry! Please don't sue me.

Now when I first heard this, I thought: well, sounds kinda vain and immature. Aging is a tiresome, depressing, yet natural and inevitable part of life--you can run but you can't hide, no matter how many personal trainers, surgeons, chefs and publicists you employ.

Get over yourself, Material Girl.

But then it turns out this was totally unfair of me, because Madonna's not really Fifty years old at all--she's only turning Thirty Six!

"Using ancient techniques known only to a select few, the high priests of Kabbalah have calculated her spiritual age to be 36, not 50."

So, um Happy Thirty-Sixth Birthday, Madonna!

But goodness, if I'd only known these sort of arrangements were available, I'd never dithered around being agnostic all these years.

Calling Kabbalah**: it's Crabby on the line! Can I have a new age too, please? Let's see, older or younger, which will it be... um, gosh, let's make it younger, 'k?

Oops... maybe not THAT much younger. Teething was a bitch.

(And I'd sooner drink drano milkshakes for breakfast than go through Junior High again, thank you very much.)

The thing is, though, I can totally relate to Madonna's dilemma. As a Boomer myself, just a few years behind the Material Girl, I too feel I shouldn't ever have to grow up, let alone get old.

I workout, I feel (mostly) great, and I want to think that most of my life is still ahead of me. There are still so many places to see, books to write, cupcakes to eat...

And I don't FEEL old, damn it! I feel about thirty. And I like being thirty, despite what the calendar says. Yet unlike Madonna, I can't seem to remain as effectively in denial. When I look in the mirror, I see plenty of evidence that I am indeed advancing in years. Every day there's some new wrinkle, age spot, gray hair, crease, crevice, or floppy bit.

So this would be a great place to write something inspirational about how the surface stuff really doesn't matter much in the scheme of things, and how I really don't give a crap that I'm not actually 30, either chronologically or when I look in the mirror. And gosh I'm SO looking forward to turning 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 myself...

But that would be complete horsesh*t. I'd rather be 90 than dead, but I'm not really looking forward to being either.

(But who knows, according to some folks, aging may some day be optional!)

So how do you folks feel about your chronological age versus your actual age?

**I know no more about Kabbalah than I do about Zen, so feel free to flame away in the comments about my ignorance!


  1. "Using ancient techniques known only to a select few, the high priests of Kabbalah have calculated her spiritual age to be 36, not 50."

    So what this is saying, is that even though she has been on this earth for 50 years, she only managed to reach 36 years worth of spiritual enlightenment? What is she spiritually slow or something??

    (Sorry Madonna, I still love your videos, a lot.)

  2. I think, if someone were to calculate my fake age, they would have a problem. Somedays I would most likely be a petulant 4 year old, and others, a cranky mean 97 year old. Is that normal? One thing's for sure: I'm never going back to middle school either.

    Ooo! Gossip! I heard Madge got all pissy because not enough people came to her party. I say, that's what she gets for not inviting us! I totally would have gone!

  3. This is kind of silly, but has a quiz you can take to find out your "true age", based on how well you've been taking care of yourself. (I'm 13.5....sigh, looks like I'll have to repeat high school).

  4. Ooh, more madonna gossip, thanks!

    And that Real Age test is a great resource--I just don't like it 'cause I have a shitty family history and don't get to knock off as many years as I'd like. (Denial, anyone?)

  5. The only thing I don't want to hear is "50 is the new 40". Or "40 is the new 30." Whatever. 50 is 50. 40 is 40. And I feel old at 35.

  6. uhoh.
    Ill change my comment for jason :)

    how about the Jen Lancaster standby of BITTER IS THE NEW BLACK?

    Im maturitylevel 10

    FEELphysically 20



    Ima MishMash

  7. I'm emotionally arrested in my early 20's. I'm with you on the Dran-O is better than Middle School thing! Seriously my teen years were the worst of my life. And I love Alice's point!

  8. It's not the age that bothers me so much, I turned 60 this year. But, having a brother freak about about turning 40 and dieing before he turned 50, might have put the whole thing in perspective.

    What it is, is the fact that I was really getting buff at 57. Nine months of lifting weights and aerobic made me feel alive and healthy and, yes young.

    Then I had two years of an undiagnosed heart disease, finally emergency surgery, and I'm still trying to get back into exercise. I'm stooped some times, the wrinkles and age spots have been accelerated and I don't like feeling old. Being 60 is just a state of mind. Feeling old is crap!

  9. I work very hard at ignoring my age. I want to say that I don't feel my actual age - but how does one know how any particular age is supposed to feel anyway?

    Boils down to: I don't like how quickly the birthdays seem to come and go, and it just gets faster as the years go by. As you say, Crabby, there are so many things left to do! Places to go! Things to learn! And I don't want to be "too old to wear this" or "too old to do that." I miss my 25 year-old face. And weight. Though I am lucky that my hair hasn't changed much. Actually, it's almost exactly the same. Which may not be good either. But I'm getting off topic.

    So yeah. I don't like this aging thing.

  10. I'm not sure I have an age. Certainly I'm physically in better health than I was thirty and forty years ago. Not *good* health, but better.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  11. Madonna has only a few months on me chronologically though I have no idea what my spiritual age might be. I feel somewhere in my early thirties most of the time even as my body occasionally betrays me and my real age sneaks in and waves at me from the bathroom mirror.

  12. The Bag Lady decided to go to and find out. If she had known she would have to spend what felt like a year of her life answering all those questions, she would have thought twice about it!

    When she gets the results, she'll be sure to share.... if she likes them! hahahaha

    She has a few months on Madonna, and generally feels in her 30's, but there is always that damned mirror.

  13. It seems whatever our age number, we have moments ranging from infantile youth to oppressive old age! What a strange trip it is :-)

  14. My kabbalah age is 14. I'm like Mariah Carey, eternally Hello Kitty-devoted.
    I def. subscribe to having a chronological age versus a healthy body age (for example, my grandpa, who invented jogging, is 84 chonologically but prolly has the health of a 55 year old.) That's what I strive for. And staying young in mind, of course!

  15. I am: 37

    I look: 30

    I act: 14

    So the average of my ages is 27. That's not Kaballah, that's basic math. That seems a little more realistic to me! =) I can totally dig being 27 again!!

  16. I'm with you; in my head, I'm 30, and I like it.

    What I don't like is that my eyes apparently know the ugly truth, that they are nearly 48, and so they constantly remind me that I'm not as young as I think I am. I really seriously dislike this, and I basically hate my eye doctor who says nothing but, "you're getting older so your eyes WILL get worse." Thankyouverymuch, and how come there are a billion improvements in liposuction and yet nothing that will let me lie in bed at night and do the crossword without getting a headache?

    Modern medicine, bah.

  17. Well, I took the RealAge test a little while ago and I think it was something like 20 or 21. I'm turning 30 in a couple months, and I'd much rather be 30 than 20. Much. But I haven't gotten very far in the whole aging process yet, so we'll see how I feel about the whole thing in another decade or two.

  18. Bag Lady got her results.
    *Waahh* Because she didn't answer a couple of the questions (too rushed to get up and find the results of her last cholesterol test, etc.) - it made her older than she is.

  19. My "birth" age is 56.

    My "real age" is 48. It would be lower if I had more social contacts during the week, and if I didn't have shitty marriage. Oh well. I'm working on it.

    I feel, look and act about 40. Except when I find myself wanting to climb a tree or go out to a club to dance. Big problem with that club stuff? They just start getting exciting about my bed time.

  20. The girls* at work and I celebrate our birthdays with a lunch and a card, and we ALWAYS call them our 29th birthday. If we have a cake, it says Happy 29th, same with the cards and the messages. I think a little denial is healthy.

    *girls being a very loose term

    I really like the suggestion above about calculating your real age using AGE+HOW OLD YOU LOOK+HOW OLD YOU ACT divided by 3.

  21. Yeah, that's a formula that makes sense!

    Real age: 48
    I look: 50
    I act/feel: 30

    Which makes me 43. Sounds about right.

    And Deb I'm with you on the club thing--makes me feel young to go out dancing. And in Provincetown, they have "Tea Dances" from 4-7. If you don't mind rockin' out with a bunch of gorgeous sweaty gay guys (and a few women) you can get quite a workout and be home in time for dinner!

  22. I'm turning 60 this year, but nobody believes it, including me, kind of. I'm blessed with good skin genes, I guess. Also I act like a freaking 8-year-old, which helps the illusion along. I'm having a hard time letting go of the information, though I did tell my best friend a while ago and her eyeballs nearly fell out.

    In my career, which is teetering precariously along, I'm reluctant to have people thinking about my age. I'd rather just sing. But perceptions are pretty important in this industry--don't want people thinking I'm past it, or almost past it.

    If I hadn't wasted 20 years of my life in a fraudulent marriage maybe I wouldn't feel so nervous about it. I'd sure like to take back at least 10 of those years.

  23. I love being 62. Never thought I'd live this long so everyday is a gift. I am expecting decades more but who knows, so I act as I please--some days that's 10, other days that's 40, but it's almost never 62.

    I am going to pop over to Realage now but, like Crabby, I have a terrible family history so I just hope for the best.


  24. ::::snicker:::: Alice, I had EXACTLY the same thought! Why would anyone want to be younger, spiritually? That can't be good. Hee.

  25. In many ways, I feel younger in my 50s than I did in my 30s. None of those ways have anything to do with a mirror though..

  26. Drano milkshakes? LOVE IT!!!! And I'm right there with ya; Jr. High was HELL.
    I think if people want to lie about their age, they should lie up, not down. If Madonna were to go around saying she's, for example, 59, everyone would be all "WOW, really? You don't look a day over 49!" Then she could listen to everyone talk about how good she looks. If that's what she wants. Which, um, it is.

  27. Word - chronologically 34; Physically... younger; Mentally, come on, I am a man - how low can it go?

  28. Thanks once again for helping us laugh about serious things, especially things we don't like.

    I was energetic with mucho stamina until I wore myself out in a deli job and was diagnosed with a few digestive ailments, one of them IBS.
    Until then I acted and looked younger than I was. Now I struggle to do daily things half the time and the clock seems to be catching up with me.

    I went to Second Life, made a cute avatar (virtual representation of myself) and acted however I wanted to. Everyone online there and in messengers thinks I'm in my 20s!

    So in real life I feel and look a decade younger than I am, which sort of evens things out.
    Too bad my mom and sisters insist on reminding me of my real age! My kids say I seem younger to them.

    What bugs me more than anything is the attitudes in our society that make people feel guilty for aging, making us want to hide our ages!! (No wonder Madonna acted like that. I feel sorry for her.)
    Aren't there other cultures that honor the older people instead of worshiping the twenty-year-olds?

  29. When I go to Real age, it adds 4 years onto my life. Why?

    1. Apparently I don't get enough cardio. Really? 3-5 days a week is not enough? Plus all the strength training and walking I do.

    2. I need more grains - apparently 5 servings is not enough. I need 6-11 servings A DAY. Is this true?

    3. I don't floss enough. Okay, I'll give them that.

    4. I have allergies. According to them, the fact that I ticked "allergies" and that I take an OTC for it, means they're not controlled and -1 year.

    5. Family history. Okay, fair enough.

    So, to realage, I say BAH! I'm a kid at heart.

  30. My father used to do exactly what Azusmom said. He would tell everyone he was 15 years older than his actual age and listen to them say he couldn't be that old. Then one day, at age 52, he gave his standard "I'm 67," and in response got, "Really? You don't look a day over 60!" He gave up.

    As for me, I've been told that I have lovely grandchildren when I'm out with my kids. Make of that what you will.


  31. yeah, that real age test pisses me off. I happen to do some wreckless things once in a while that jack my age up, but I know I'm perpetually 14.

  32. My kids tell me I am immature....Interesting! :)

  33. Ok, I did the real age thing too. I'm 29 and it aged me at 35.9

    Well poopoo on you.

    It deducted points for allergies because apparently even though I control them they're taking years off my life, same for depression. I find that kind of strange.

    And they took off points on relationships and I still don't know why. It just said something about leading. Um, ok. I have good relationships even if I'm sometimes pretty reclusive.

    The other things, my weight, my family history, my diet, I'll give them those.

  34. 50 or 36, Madonna can still rock out some spandex in my book.

  35. Oh, please someone let 50 be the new 40! ;) In my thoughts I usually feel 30-ish or younger. I think all of that making an age actually the equivalent of a decade younger comes from the fact that 50 years ago making it to only 60 or 70 was a norm, now people are often much more vigorous and healthy due to better medical care and exercise, instead of retiring to a chair to sit and freeze up for years. Social Security and pensions were based on a person only living 5-10 more years after retirement. People were mostly dead at 70. My in-laws are both still working and have whirlwind social lives with heavy volunteer work too at 72 and 75! They are still van camping. They would be the new 60s.

    I agree with Alice, I would think that spiritually Madonna's age would be more like 16, as she seems to be still trying on different spiritual fads. I didn't think 36 was a compliment either.

    I'm 51
    Look 42 (with help from my hairdresser)
    Feel 60
    Act 23
    = 44

    Which considering life experience and knowledge and how I feel with a good night's sleep and two cups of coffee and a couple Ibuprofen kicked in, and if I don't check my roots in the mirror to see how much gray there is NOW, is about right,(also according to RealAge) and some days maybe 36! Inside my hubby and I are often about 9, playing with Hot Wheels in the dirt (he has several 100, we have a rotating display in the bathroom) and riding bikes off curbs. If I could have picked an age to stop aging at without dying, just for physical condition, it would be about 34.

    I like "Bitter is the new black"! But it's sad too.

    My Mom just had her second 35th 1/2 birthday. We had a friend who had 32 thirty second birthdays before he shuffled off. I may have my second 26th next year! I can still remember what 26 felt like. But like junior high, I would not want to go back if I had to go through everything all over again.

    Right now is the best it's ever been, not by material standards or physical ability or health, but by the state of mind I have now, and the knowledge and hard won wisdom.

  36. I think it's all relative...I constantly run into problems at work with people not taking me seriously or as an authority (OK mostly the students I teach) because they think I'm way younger than I am.
    Knowing the reason makes me not mind it so much. I think age is all what you feel.

  37. Yanno, if I look like Madonna when I'm 50, I'll be ADVERTISING my age. Lookit meeeeee!!!! Don't you wish YOU looked this good?

    I admit I'm in the age bracket where although I still look good, I know darn well I'm not one of the Cute Young Things any more. I'm comfortable in my skin and wouldn't go back for anything, but I still get pang now and then.

    Working at a university can be hard on the ego, that's for sure. I see girls wearing styles that I would feel ridiculous in, not because of my body but because of the decades. And I see boys who would've flirted with my 20-yo self who don't even give me a passing glance. There was a time I thought I'd be glad when all that sh*t was over, but I was wrong. :-(

    In general, though, I'm happy with myself. I'm in better shape than I was 20 years ago and I wasn't in bad shape then. I plan to live to 100 and have the genes to pull it off if luck is with me and I do my bit. I just wonder sometimes if I'll hate people looking at me and seeing "just" an old lady. That's gotta hurt. Or does one get used to it, perhaps? I hope so.

  38. I'm in touch with my inner 12-year-old. That's why I get along great with my kids and their friends right now ;-).

  39. I'm old today. Yesterday, I wasn't. Tomorrow, who knows? In fact, I may not be old in a couple of hours, it all depends.

  40. Spiritually Slow! *snort*

    Ah. What a kook she is. I guess she's earned the right to be kooky.

  41. My mother decided that once she got to 40 she was going backwards, so according to her she's now gone all the way back to 18. Since I'm 28 and my sister is 30, it's starting to get creepy.

  42. LOL! What a funny post! I didn't really pay attention to age until I had a baby (she 12 months old now). Having a baby made me feel old at first. What with all the extra skin and hanging stuff. But after 12 months I'm caring less about age again. Half the time I can't even remember how old I am. (I have to subtract the year I was born from the current year).

  43. When people ask my age, I tell them whatever I think they'll believe. I got really tired of telling people my age and having them stare, then say "No!" then stare some more. Then invariably they would drag someone else over, position them in front of me, and demand "Do you know how old she is?"
    That routine got /real/ old.

    Not that I'm consistent. Someone carded me a few months ago, and I wanted to hug the woman, blind as she might be.

    Good post!

  44. Actually, all the posts this week have been great!

  45. Oh I'm not loving!

    My birth certificate says I am 41 and 5 months,, when told about my good clean living healthy lifestyle and good health, calculated my age at 40.1. That was not what I was hoping for!

    But breaking it down, I lost marks for working out too intensively based on walking my dogs twice a day! And for not having airbags in my car???????? I can see how that might shorten my life, but I don't see it actually aging me!

    Great post though!

  46. I asked my mom to please stop telling people my age when introducing me and she said it makes her feel younger!!!

    I'm a twin so I tried saying that we split our age in half but another sister said that makes us one of her daughters' ages! (insert giggle)

    I agree with the person who said if they look like Madonna at 50, they'd be advertizing proudly, "Lookit me!!"

  47. Happy colonoscopy, Madonna!

    No wonder she was cranky.

  48. Too funny KB!

    (Though I'm not going to be laughing so hard myself in a couple years).

  49. I've taken the test. And it actually calculated my lifestyle being about 31, instead of 33. I feel good about that. Now if only I could drive slower.



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