Irene was eighty years old, but she didn’t feel eighty. Not just because she was, sprained ankle notwithstanding, a spritely, trim woman, but because it was impossible to feel eighty. Nobody felt eighty. When Irene considered it, she thought that she probably felt somewhere around thirty-five. Forty, maybe. That was a good age to feel, wasn’t it? You knew who you were then. You weren’t still flighty or unsure, but you had not yet had time to harden, to become unyielding.
The truth was that you felt a certain way inside, and while the people who had known you your whole life would probably see you that way, the number of new people who could appreciate you as that person, that inside person, rather than just a collection of the frailties of age, was limited.—A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins