Age perception is like price perception: erratic


How odd. When I was 75, that felt fine.

  • 75% = a pass
  • Reaching a deadline
  • Achieving 3/4 of a century
  • Roughly 70 years old
  • A bargain
  • Nearer to 50 than to 100. (Come again?)

Now that I’m 76, that has changed. I am learning that, in my unconscious, 76 also has some more sinister characteristics.

  • 76 = old
  • closer to 80 than 70
  • closer to 100 than to 50
  • to be more specific, almost 80
  • over-priced!

The science of pricing goods for sale (as opposed to no sale) depends on certain irrational perceptions of humans when considering numbers.

  • figures on the left of a page seem low, figures on the right seem high (because we tend to think of numbers going in sequence from left to right, as written in ABC-languages)
  • figures at the bottom seem lower than figures at the top
  • $19.99 seems a better bargain than $20 (a thesis with many variations that reveal just how athletic our perception of numbers is)
  • figures in a small font size are perceived as low, in a large font size as high

I reckon that is why my perception of my own age has been suddenly warped since my birthday last week. And I’m guessing that whatever mysterious bout of mental gymnastics was triggered by the number 76, you have your own version.

But hey, 76 has other qualities and is rather beautiful

“76 is an even composite number composed of two prime numbers multiplied together” — how cool is that!

To haul myself out of price-perception folly, I shall attempt to associate myself this year with the element Osmium, 76Os… (Thanks to Pinky Agnew for this excellent idea.)



8 thoughts on “Age perception is like price perception: erratic

  1. Bernadette says:

    Thank you for this completely different and unusual way of looking at birthday numbers! If you get a chance would you consider contributing a post to the Senior Salon on Wednesday. You would be an asset.

    1. Sorry to take so long to answer, Bernadette! I am flattered that you asked me — right now I’m only just keeping my head above water so at this stage, it’s a no.

      1. Bernadette says:

        No problem. If you ever get a chance, please join us.

  2. Sylvie G says:

    I love this 🙂

    1. Thank you!

  3. I’d never thought of my 73, going on 74, years in quite this way. I’m still standing upright and while my brain turns mushy every now and then, it runs on all cylinders (most of the time). Of course (now) I’m thinking all of this is going to change when I’m 75 plus. There’re going to be fewer grains of sand left to exit the hour glass, the roller coaster ride is almost over and that runaway train is just about to flatten me (why, because somebody told my tired old brain that standing in the middle of the railroad tracks was a good thing to do) 🙂 Then I remember the bumper sticker that stated, “Aging is the only way to live.” so I guess I’ll just keep waking up, till I don’t 🙂 BTW loved your post 🙂

    1. No no no, a birthday will not trigger a sudden change. You have the perfect solution: keep waking up until you don’t. And stay on the roller coaster ride — it goes up as often as it goes down.

%d bloggers like this: