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How Young Do You Feel?

AARP took to the streets this past summer to ask people how their “real” age compares with the age they actually feel, physically and mentally. The great news: Most we met feel younger than their calendar year. Here’s what they told us:

spinner image three interviewees pictured from left jocelyn jerome dan ota and cynthia chapman
Left to right: Jocelyn Jerome, Dan Ota, Cynthia Chapman
From left: Matt Salacuse; Brian Guido (2)

Age is an elusive thing: Your chronological age is definitive, precise, undeniable ... yet older adults consistently think of themselves as 20 percent younger than their years, studies show. To test that premise, we took to the streets in several cities to ask people their “real” age, followed by the age they actually feel, physically and mentally. While our subjects had vastly different life experiences, they also had one thing in common: Almost all of them feel younger than their calendar year, just as the research suggests. Here, they tell us their challenges, dreams and aspirations.

spinner image cynthia chapman feels forty eight physically and forty mentally she is age sixty
Cynthia Chapman
Brian Guido

Cynthia Chapman, Tupelo, Mississippi, 60

“I feel great — I lost 138 pounds in two years. I can breathe. And now that I’ve found a new husband, I’m getting to the best part of my journey.”

AARP The Magazine Special Edition

AARP takes a look at how aging has evolved and improved over the decades — and how it likely will change in the years ahead.

Read more stories from the Age Issue

spinner image martin jennings who is age sixty three says he actually only feels age forty five both physically and mentally
Martin Jennings
Matt Salacuse

Martin Jennings, New York City, 63

“I’m not ready to plunge into senior citizenship. I’m still vibrantly, busily active and working and thinking.”

spinner image dan ota age sixty six says he feels his physical age but mentally feels like he is age thirty
Dan Ota
Brian Guido

Dan Ota, Pasadena, California, 66

“I work with a bunch of young folks in their 20s, and I ask them, ‘What are you talking about? What does this mean?’ So I feel knowledgeable.”

spinner image eighty year old marion margolis says she only feels fifty five years old both physically and mentally
Marion Margolis
Matt Salacuse

Marion Margolis, New York City, 80

“I feel 55 because I’m vital. My husband and I are aware that this is the last act. We hope it’s going to be a long act.”

spinner image paul kim feels like he is physically and mentally age thirty five but he is actually age sixty three
Paul Kim
Brian Guido

Paul Kim, Los Angeles, 63

“The older you get, you know what life takes. Don’t stay home too much. Much better to be out playing tennis with people.”

spinner image seventy one year old eric mosley and eighty one clara mosley both of them say they only feel age fifty both physically and mentally
Eric and Clara Mosley
Brian Guido

Eric Mosley (left), Los Angeles, 71

“I forgot stuff when I was 5 years old. I’ve been forgetting stuff all my life — it’s just now we make a big deal about it.”

Clara Mosley (right), Los Angeles, 81

“My friends aren’t all in my age category. The Gen Zs and millennials are amazing — they keep me current.”

spinner image eighty one year old jane chase says she feels the same age mentally but feels seventy five physically
Jane Chase
Matt Salacuse

Jane Chase, New York City, 81

“I’ve entered a phase in my life where there are losses, many losses. There’s both grief and a savoring of the last years, a sense of an ending.”

spinner image fifty four year old juan jimenez says he feels the same age mentally but feels sixty years old physically
Juan Jimenez
Matt Salacuse

Juan Jimenez, Teaneck, New Jersey, 54

“I have some problems related to an accident. But I also feel my age, because I’ve achieved what I wanted to by now. I’ve had a family, a house. I’ve had a good life.”

spinner image richard moschetti age sixty five says he feels forty five physically and twenty five mentally also pictured is caleb ballard age sixty three who says he feels forty nine physically and thirty five mentally
Richard Moschetti and Caleb Ballard
Brian Guido

Richard Moschetti (left), Philadelphia, 65

“I discovered music at 18, but there’s no reason I have to listen to that music all my life. I want to discover what rebellious 18-year-olds are listening to now.”

Caleb Ballard, (right), Los Angeles, 63

“I was a hellbat. But I just really looked at my life and did a complete 180. I feel better in every single way than I ever have.”

spinner image eighty four year old jocelyn jerome says she feels seventy five mentally and seventy two mentally
Jocelyn Jerome
Matt Salacuse

Jocelyn Jerome, New York City, 84

“When I sit down with older people, sometimes friends, and they talk about their age and being ill, that’s just not me. I don’t think about age.”

spinner image sixty eight year old marc chesin says he only feels age fifty physically and forty seven mentally
Marc Chesin
Brian Guido

Marc Chesin, Chandler, Arizona, 68

“I feel younger than I am, because I regularly take 20-plus-mile rides on a nonelectric bike.”

spinner image seventy two year old peggy salwen and seventy three year old mary carson both say they feel their age both physically and mentally
Peggy Salwen and Mary Carson
Matt Salacuse

Peggy Salwen (left), New York City, 72

“I was a children’s librarian, and then I couldn’t remember things very well. I would have to go look them up in the catalog. I felt old and I retired.”

Mary Carson (right), New York City, 73

“I discovered the senior center, which I’d avoided. But I’m taking a mosaics class and meeting great people. It’s satisfying to hang out with people who are in their 60s and up.”

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spinner image pictured are two women erica garcia age sixty six who says she feels her physical age but only feels thirty five mentally also renee beckham age fifty four who feels fifty physcially but also only thirty five mentally
Erica Garcia and Renee Beckham
Brian Guido

Erica Garcia (left), Jacksonville, Florida, 66

“I can’t believe that I am my age. I haven’t met many people my age who act as weird as I do. My kids keep me young.”

Renee Beckham (right), Jacksonville, Florida, 54

“I was diagnosed with MS in 2016. It affects my mobility. But mentally, I feel like, ‘Hey, let’s go!’ ”

Video: Helen Mirren Says Her Age Has ‘Always Been an Asset’

Photographs by Matt Salacuse and Brian Guido

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