Breaking the Age Obsession: Why You’re Younger Than You Think

Reframing the way we look at our numerical age.

Călina Mureșan
7 min readMar 26


Photo by Mikhail Nilov

A birthday party, especially if it’s yours, it’s a great opportunity to ponder on the whole concept of age, and of course, the opportunity to complain about getting older. As I reached the wonderful age of 27, while still feeling like 18 years old, I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself anymore. It’s usually the 20-something-year-olds that complain more often about being old than the other age groups. Quite rude, I know, but every young person fears getting older so much that they think every extra year just pushes them to the grave (ok, in a way it is a tiny step towards the eternal place, but you can get there in so many ways, dying of old age is among the best ways to go).

But, hey it’s not just our fault we are like that. It’s no secret that we live in a society that is obsessed with youth and beauty. We are bombarded with images of flawless, airbrushed models and celebrities who seem to defy the aging process. We are constantly told that youth is something to be valued above all else and that growing older is something to be feared and avoided at all costs.

A Short History of Youthfulness

But where does this obsession with age come from? For centuries, societies around the world have placed a premium on youth and beauty, and many cultures have even created elaborate rituals and practices to try to preserve youthfulness.

Throughout history, youthfulness has been a prized trait in human societies. From ancient times to the present day, people have sought to maintain a youthful appearance and have held up young, attractive individuals as role models. In ancient Egypt, for instance, cosmetics and natural remedies were used to preserve physical appearance, while the Greeks idealized the athletic bodies of young men. Similarly, the Romans believed that beauty and youth were signs of wealth and status, and the wealthy went to great lengths to preserve their looks through a range of treatments and remedies.

During the Middle Ages, the emphasis on youthfulness took on a new meaning. Young women were idealized as the embodiment of purity and innocence, and their beauty was seen as a reflection of…