Age is defined by a measurement of numbers within time. It is a number of months, a number of years, a number of days and numbers passed within seconds on a clock.
It measures how long one has been alive and can help speculate how long one still has left to live.
For an imperceptible few, however, they differ from those who are defined by the amount of time that has passed or by the measure of numbers still to come.
These few have souls that are thought to be much older than the moments lapsed, and too often find themselves thinking of time going by in slow motion.
They see the clock still ticking, the car still running and the music still playing, but these few-and-far-between people are usually caught questioning the complex, and sometimes under appreciated things in life: The understanding of power within heartbreak, the wisdom within travel and the lessons in mistakes.
Thought to be lost in the wrong era, standing still without movement and frozen in time, old souls stray far from the worn path.
Here are seven questions only people beyond their years ask themselves:
1. What if?
Questions that start with “what if” cross most people's minds every day. They are two words that hold the utmost amount of uncertainty beneath unanswered questions, thoughtful probabilities and wishful thinking.
The aged soul often finds wisdom and strength in asking questions that start with "what if."
What if technology wasn't as advanced as it is today? What if letters were still written?
Put the two words together, and they have the power to create endless possibilities and a life of mystery and pursuit.
2. What about?
It can be typical for a normal subconscious to filter out thoughts about those who aren't in their daily lives and overlook questions about those who don't cross their minds every day.
For old souls, however, the thoughts of "what about" come frequently. Selfless and understanding, it's naturally effortless for someone beyond their years to think about the "abouts" in life.
What about the single mom who's raising a child by herself? What about the man on the street who's sitting alone? What about the single dad who's working two shifts to keep his family afloat?
3. What happened to?
Many generations of phones, flat screen TVs and wireless computers later, technology is advancing faster than we are aging. And because of this, the future is a concept that crosses everyone's minds.
But the past is a thought only an old soul would truly appreciate.
It takes having gotten to where we are to get where we are going, so do you ask yourself, "What happened to the appreciation of the past? What happened to conversation? What happened to the way we communicate?"
If you do, you're most certainly wise beyond your years.
4. What are?
Money, materials and status have dominated our goals and fascinations in life, but are they really the finer things?
Old souls tend to find no attachment to objective things, but rather the things that can be felt and heard.
What are the things that make a person happy? Human relationships give purpose within our time here on Earth, but what are the things that make them important?
What are the better things in life? What are the most important aspects of human relationships?
5. Why do?
The cause or motive of someone doing something is always under thoughtful consideration and examination for the aged soul.
The "why" follows an infinite round of questions: Why do people do the things they do? Why do people fear losing things they haven't lost?
Although one may never know the answers, these are still questions the old soul will never stop wondering about.
6. Why is it?
The reason and purpose behind everything is a familiar way of thinking for the old soul.
Known for being very observant, they often get caught up in learning the nature of every common human characteristic.
7. How can I?
It is often said the ultimate purpose of life to an old soul is to change people's lives, but if they can change one, that is enough (even if it's only their own).
So, they question, "How can I make things better?" "How can I stop to change someone's life?" "How can I change mine?"
Inner satisfaction and passing on the lessons learnt to others are typically crucial aspirations for the old soul. They find themselves constantly looking to achieve inner peace.
Outside the cardboard box, odd in a handful of evens, diverse in those who are all the same, old souls are often hard to come by.
However, if you do happen to come across a mind that doesn't quite match their age, prepare yourself for questions that will make you think and answers that will give you an inner understanding of the world around you.
They will be a light in some of your darkest times; they will comfort in your times of grief and help you see success in moments of failure.
Far reaching for wisdom, compassion and the “understanding of” everything, they are old souls. They can be detached from life, watching and observing people from a distance. They see themselves as being as opposed to doing, believing as opposed to seeing.
So there is one more question to ask yourself: Are you an old soul?