There’s a little person in your head.

People waiting at O’Hare airport, Chicago.

There’s a little person living inside your head.


That’s right.

But don’t panic – the little person is you. Or, more specifically, your mental image of you.

We all have one. In our dreams. In our daydreams. Little flashes of an image when we think about something that involves us. There he or she is.

Our mental self.

And that self is a prankster. A joker. A tease. A deceiver.

Go ahead, if you’re in your teens, twenties or even your thirties – go ahead and ask someone who is in their late 40’s or older. “When you think of yourself, have that mental image of yourself, how old is that you inside your head?”

I can almost guarantee they will say somewhere between 25 and 35.

I have had some folks in their 80’s and older say their inner self is between 55 and 65.

The little us in our heads seems to consistently deceive us by about 20 years or so.

Sometimes, this is a good thing. It can help keep us feeling and thinking young. Even people who aren’t at their proper weight according to the charts, even ones who aren’t out there exercising regularly are often still very young at heart. And that is a wonderful gift that comes, at least partly, from that younger inner self.

Sometimes, this is a bad thing. We’ll push our selves too hard. “Sure, (our little mental self goads us to say) I can climb on the roof and clean off the leaves!” (which, mind you, my neighbor across the street does and he’s in his 80’s) – but now you find you have a touch of vertigo you never had before because of your bifocals. “Sure, I can dance all night!” – but you’re not able to move beyond a shuffle the next day. “Sure, I can handle that long road trip in one day!” – but now you’re exhausted the next day instead of ready for action. (Plus, you had to stop a lot more often for restroom breaks.)

All this is not to scare you, as I say, it happens to everyone. Even the very fit begin to find their bodies just aren’t the same as when they were in their younger years. Every thing wears down. Animate and inanimate. Everything wears down.

It is they way it is.

So yes, do what you can to stay as healthy, fit and mentally active as you choose to, but don’t fear the way of all things. Live your life as best you can. Enjoy your life as best you can.

And remember, to quote Red Green: “We’re all in this together.”

Pearl, 2005 – age 51, scoring a hit on Keegan, 20 something still in college. I wish I was still fencing.