RT Cunningham


Some People Look Older Than They Really Are

older peopleI don’t want to say I look younger than my age, but there are people younger than me who look older than me. Perhaps it’s because I have more hair than a lot of white people my age. Maybe it’s because my face isn’t full of wrinkles. Maybe it’s because I can still walk (and run when necessary). But that’s about me, not about them. Why would someone younger look much older?

Looking Older isn’t necessarily a Bad Thing

I don’t want to get too deep into the ramifications of looking older. Teenagers seem to always want to look older than they are and it’s usually so they can buy beer or something they’re not legally old enough to buy. Once people hit about 30, they tend to want to look younger.

Tommy Lee Jones has almost always played an older character in movies. He’s 69 now, but he was only 53 when he played an ex-text pilot in Space Cowboys (2011).

He was supposed to be in the same age group as the other actors (Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland and James Garner). He was 11 years younger than the youngest of the other three. Perhaps Agent J said it best in “Men in Black 3” when he said Agent K had some city miles on him.

There may be other reasons for wanting to look older but I don’t know what they might be. At least, not without thinking about it more than a few minutes.

Looking Older can be a Bad Thing

Hair loss and wrinkles can make a person look older. So can being too thin. I have four brothers and I look like I’m the youngest (to outsiders) and I’m not. I attribute my health to the 20 years I spent in the Marine Corps. I ran or jogged three or more miles three or more times a week. I exercised a lot, especially in the last year.

If you want to look younger than you really are (and it’s a matter of perspective, of course), then you need to exercise regularly. You need to avoid sunshine as much as possible. Nothing looks worse than what I call the old-man neck, with more wrinkles than what’s on the face.

When three Belgians visited in December, everyone around me swore they looked older than me. The youngest was 45 and the oldest was 52. I’m 55. I’m pretty sure it was because they all spent more time in the sun than I ever have.

Good nutrition can make you look younger. When you start getting up there in age, being slightly overweight will make you look younger than being slightly underweight. I’m sure it’s not always the case, but it’s what I’ve observed.

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By RT Cunningham
January 9, 2016