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IT'S INDIVIDUAL

Your age matters less than who
you are

Aging is inevitable, but it is also multifaceted. The rate of physical aging among people varies widely. Biologically, there's a great deal of diversity between people and even within the same person's different organ systems. Genetics as well as lifestyle choices affect the quality and length of our lives.

We tend to believe that as we age, people become more similar. Recent research shows that, in fact, people become even more different. The older population is more diverse than any other part of the population. As we get older, we actually become "more of ourselves." Older people are more diverse because of different backgrounds, abilities, interests, and experiences.

So, the bottom line is that people are different and aging is individual. You have to look at the person, not at how old they are. Sometimes we can have more in common with someone older than we are than someone the same age or younger than we are. It all depends.

Have each person – young and old – write out the following on a sheet of paper: their birth date, favorite color, favorite food, favorite sport, and favorite animal.

Everyone can then wander through the room to find people who are similar. First, can you find anyone who is exactly the same as you (i.e. a match on all five items)? Probably not, because everyone is an individual.

Next, can you find someone with a birth date close to yours? How many of the other items do they have in common with you? Is everyone the same age the same? Just because two people are similar in their age, doesn't automatically mean they have other things in common.

Finally, try to find the person with the most items in common with yours – four out of five, three out of five, two out of five. Are they close to your age or not? Does someone have to be your age to enjoy some of the same things that you do?

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

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