At a Christmas party recently, an interesting topic came up among several Baby Boomers. 'How old are you in your head?' Meaning, to what age does your mind hearken back as some point with which you associate your core identity? Two men in their 60s said they felt inside that they were in their late 20s. I, the Gen Xer, said I thought of myself in my early 20s. No one, including the older people from the Silent Generation who were there, went above their 30s. There was a consensus that a cognitive dissonance arises, wherein everyone is still 20- or 30-something in their brain, and meanwhile the body ages and becomes more and more at odds with the mind. I don't think the age of one's core identity coincides with one's mental age. The three are distinct: age of self-identity; mental age; physical age.
Joan Crawford (1905-1977) interviewed on The David Frost Show in 1970. Image Source: My Pretty Baby Cried.
This is similar to something one of my friends, C., noted about women: many of them style their hair for the rest of their lives with the same look they had when they felt they were at their most attractive; for many, that decade is apparently the peak of young adulthood. I don't think this is the case as much as it used to be. There used to be a Gloria Swanson parodied stereotype of older women who were young in the 1930s walking around with turbans in the 1950s or even the 1970s (by which time they had come back into fashion). Perhaps this lagging hairstyles trend among women has waned. We can all be thankful that we don't see many Gen X women walking around with late 80s' hair.