I’m 53 in Real Life But Only 36 Years Old in My Head (The Atlantic)

I wonder if people on rapamycin have an even more extreme version of this…

The Puzzling Gap Between How Old You Are and How Old You Think You Are

This past Thanksgiving, I asked my mother how old she was in her head. She didn’t pause, didn’t look up, didn’t even ask me to repeat the question, which would have been natural, given that it was both syntactically awkward and a little odd. We were in my brother’s dining room, setting the table. My mother folded another napkin. “Forty-five,” she said.

She is 76.

Why do so many people have an immediate, intuitive grasp of this highly abstract concept—“subjective age,” it’s called—when randomly presented with it? It’s bizarre, if you think about it. Certainly most of us don’t believe ourselves to be shorter or taller than we actually are. We don’t think of ourselves as having smaller ears or longer noses or curlier hair. Most of us also know where our bodies are in space, what physiologists call “proprioception.”

Yet we seem to have an awfully rough go of locating ourselves in time. A friend, nearing 60, recently told me that whenever he looks in the mirror, he’s not so much unhappy with his appearance as startled by it—“as if there’s been some sort of error” were his exact words. (High-school reunions can have this same confusing effect. You look around at your lined and thickened classmates, wondering how they could have so violently capitulated to age; then you see photographs of yourself from that same event and realize: Oh.) The gulf between how old we are and how old we believe ourselves to be can often be measured in light-years—or at least a goodly number of old-fashioned Earth ones.

As one might suspect, there are studies that examine this phenomenon. (There’s a study for everything.) As one might also suspect, most of them are pretty unimaginative. Many have their origins in the field of gerontology, designed primarily with an eye toward health outcomes, which means they ask participants how old they feel, which those participants generally take to mean how old do you feel physically, which then leads to the rather unsurprising conclusion that if you feel older, you probably are, in the sense that you’re aging faster.

But “How old do you feel?” is an altogether different question from “How old are you in your head?” The most inspired paper I read about subjective age, from 2006, asked this of its 1,470 participants—in a Danish population (Denmark being the kind of place where studies like these would happen)—and what the two authors discovered is that adults over 40 perceive themselves to be, on average, about 20 percent younger than their actual age. “We ran this thing, and the data were gorgeous,” says David C. Rubin (75 in real life, 60 in his head), one of the paper’s authors and a psychology and neuroscience professor at Duke University. “It was just all these beautiful, smooth curves.”

Why we’re possessed of this urge to subtract is another matter. Rubin and his co-author, Dorthe Berntsen, didn’t make it the focus of this particular paper, and the researchers who do often propose a crude, predictable answer—namely, that lots of people consider aging a catastrophe, which, while true, seems to tell only a fraction of the story. You could just as well make a different case: that viewing yourself as younger is a form of optimism, rather than denialism. It says that you envision many generative years ahead of you, that you will not be written off, that your future is not one long, dreary corridor of locked doors.

Full article:


It’s so true. I feel like a 5 year old. :wink:

I mean 35…


Hahaha… maybe not extreme except in having a very real belief and conviction (not wishful thinking).

Based on multiple biological markers and tests saying I am 50 years or younger.

I have accepted that I am 50 years… and someday will return to my 60’s in the distant future.


I recall reading that you, “no longer worried about aging”, or words to this effect. Perhaps this viewpoint is partly based on the placebo effect resulting from a one’s anticipation that an intervention will be helpful.

I suspect that most people who have taken the plunge with “pre-perfect” rapamycin, are inclined towards calculated risks and / or they are frustrated by western medicines economic imbalances that so heavily favor big pharma and a big business focus on high priced drugs for diseases rather than treatments for wellness. Many people are frustrated by the layers of FDA processes, rules and regulations that enshrine these big business economic interests.

I’m looking forward to the time where we democratize medicinial care and give everyone just a little more hope, even if it’s somewhat placebo based.


Oi Mate!
Perhaps it is placebo - but I really don’t think so… I am euphoric 99% of the time. Had my rapa dose last night 2mg and GFJ - so about a 12mg dose. Sitting at work - small break…feeling amazing… do have a slight ring to my hearing - rapa always does that.

After the intial reversals in muscle tone/strength, memory loss, visceral weight, skin returning to plumpness, I tend to feel more like I am hovering age-wise around 50-ish and more slowly aging forward! :wink:


G’day mate,

I enjoy the way you transparently and positively share your experiences. Good on you!

Don’t get me wrong from my earlier post, I’m a believer, but it would be great to be out of the shadows and into the main stream of medical care. In lieu of that pipe dream, I’m very grateful for this excellently run forum as well as the shared experiences and some of the latest thinking.

I like the fact that there are clearly a lot of people on the forum who are not MD’s, researchers or clinicians but accomplished academics and thinkers from other spheres. I’m a math major but I have latterly moved to biotechnology which has opened my eyes to the extraordinary possibilities for a better life and for helping to heal the planet.

I have only been going with Rapamycin and Acarbose since November 22, and only committed after reading quite a bit to understand the risks. I’m a big fan of Peter Attia and Matt Kaeberlein because they are measured and analytical with their views but I’ve read almost everything that’s published in the space. Blagosklonny is clearly a brilliant guy but his writing is a bit too propagandist for me, although that certainly doesn’t make him wrong!

My first blood works last month showed some nice improvements but not perfection. I’m now taking 6mg Rapa once a week and I have reduced almost all other supps, other than the standard magnesium, multivit, etc. plus creatine and heavy exercise days. I take a Fisetin based compound for three days after starting Rapa for the senolytic benefits and I’m pleased with my purging although I wish I could measure it. :wink:

Like many of the people on the forum I’m very fit and healthy for my age - 5’10", 72kg, minimal visceral fat (under 10) - but we all carry our own genetic baggage. My DNA strs show me having 11 of 14 of the top markers for type 2 diabetes and a decent chance of Parkinson’s. I picked this all up 15 years ago and changed my life style, mostly my food choices. I dropped all refined sugars and progressively reduce some loved complex carbs and almost all alcohol. I’ve stayed in a safe zone and pretty sure I always will.

On grapefruit juice with Rapa, I’ve read about its usage and effects. The variations by individual seem to make it hard to control without a lot of experimentation and care, so that’s a pass for me.

Like you, I’m living the dream.

Feeling good and trying to do good wherever I can. Joie de vivre!


Very cool . . . sounds like an awesome field to be in right now! The next decade is going to be so interesting for biotech.

1 Like

Seems that new research supports this…

1 Like

There is a fascinating study that I’m trying to find again, but the short version was a cohort of people with dementia were taken to a “retreat” where everything had been designed to replicate the environment of their early adulthood. The clothing, the music, the tv shoes, the furniture, the food, literally everything . Within a week of being at the retreat, every person who went suddenly had the energy of people much younger, dancing around, and even many symptoms of dementia completely disappeared. Subjectively feeling young had a very real effect on their bodies.


Perhaps it was this study (ies)?