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Here's something I've been pretty curious about for a while. So a common trope with immortal characters, most commonly vampires, is that they have to periodically move to a new town in order to keep people from noticing the fact that they haven't gotten any older in all the time they've known them.

Vampires are also typically depicted as frozen at the age they were turned at. This can make the above problem especially frustrating for, say, vampires who were turned as children, who are expected to change radically in appearance over just a year or two, and thus would have to move all the time, barely able to stay more than a year or two in the same place.

...But what about the opposite? Which age is it ideal to be turned at in this regard, where you aren't expected to change much at all in appearance over the years, to the point that it takes ages before anyone notices how weird it is that you don't look any older than you did the day they met you?

If your goal is solely to be able to live in one place for as long as possible without anyone getting suspicious of the fact that you haven't visibly gotten older, what age would it be most ideal to be frozen at?

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  • $\begingroup$ Functional anorexia can result in an appearance of being 20 or 60 (citation needed from me) whilst being 18, I've known a 103 year-old that could have passed for sixty-eight for reasons of lifestyle and genes. What sort of standard are you talking about, what lifestyle - healthy, glutenous, Keanu Reeves, Audry Hepburn? - as a standard I mean. What's the "normal" here? $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2021 at 2:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Tantalus'touch. There are notable exceptions to the rule, yes, not everyone ages at the same speed, but there are still general rules for what people are expected to look like at various ages, and I'm looking for the window of time when the typical remarks of "you look really young for your age" would take the longest to happen. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2021 at 2:35
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, fair enough. I think there are answers coming that will explore the rate of human ageing in a scientific way hopefully, a graph might help. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2021 at 2:40
  • $\begingroup$ Ideally you should be in your prime so that when trouble brews and you manage to outrun everybody they would only think that they are out of shape and not be awared that you have clocked 50kph way faster than Usain Bolt and by prime I mean must clock at least 50mph! ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Feb 3, 2021 at 6:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Cyrus Drake: But why would you tell people your age? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Feb 3, 2021 at 17:43

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Queen Elizabeth, hello?

I think she's just the perfect example ( besides being queen, if you want to hide something probably not the best ).

Why she's the perfect example? Well, do you even know how old is she? Do you remember the last time you saw anything change in her appearence? Well, she's 94 years old according to wikipedia and I bet that at least 10, 15 years earlier she wasn't THAT different.

So what age would be the best to freeze?

Well, let's think first, if we choose to be frozen too early:

  • 20's: I'm currently at 25 and I'm pretty anyone could see my changes from 20 y.o. to 25 nowadays and I'm also pretty sure that from 25 to 30 I will also change a lot, so I would consider this to be too suspicious to choose.
  • 30's: Now it starts getting interesting, there's a few people, mainly rich ones and healthy ones that really doesn't change that much, from let's say 30 to 40, some people stay the same if they don't gain or lose weight, at maximum some white hair. But this won't last long since entering the 40's can be tricky without changing.
  • 40's: Well, where I live there's something we call The 40's crysis. Which mainly concerns getting old and changing a lot ( most of the times negatively, that's why there's a crysis ), you start feeling older now, I think, therefore, also not a great time to freeze.
  • 50's: Now it's getting better, but also I think some people still change a lot at 50's, besides the really rich ones but I don't think people can hide the aging proccess here.
  • 60's plus+: This is where you would like to freeze. Maximum discretion. At 60's you are already old, people can see you're old and they start specting you to die or to stay alive while you can, but the changes aren't that visible anymore. White hair is common, you start gaining benefits from society, more respect from younger people (at most cases), therefore, I think that people would only think: "Yeah he's old, must be healthy to be alive for so long." After 10 years ... They would say: "Wow, how old is he now? He must be healthy and like to live a lot to be alive still, he still looks the same, I wish I be like that when I grow older ..." and so on ...

TL;DR: Freeze on 60+ years old to be unoticed for longer time. I think from 60 to 90 you are good to go without being noticed.

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For humans, there is really no age at which one ages the least.

Life in the real world, and presumably in your fictional world as well, is a progression with small changes occurring constantly. Not only the forces of normal development, but various emotional stressors, physical illnesses, spiritual transformations, events that occur within an individual's family as well as in a person's broader community: all of these things push and prod at the little levers that age one.

At best, one could possibly say that any given two or three year stretch is about the longest timespan wherein one doesn't appear to have changed very much. Take a picture of yourself today, then find a picture from this time last year, and also get one from this time next year and chances are good you'll appear fairly similar. But compare a picture from two or three years ago to one two or three years from now...I think the differences will be much more startling.

The problem for your scenario is that no matter what age you're frozen at, the people around you will be onto it as they age and you don't. People your age will grow old and die and will wonder why you haven't. People younger than you will have associated you with people of their parent's generation, and as their parents age & die, while you don't, they too will wonder why. And then as they grow old and die...

You see what I'm getting at.

I think your best bets will be to either play it up, like Gandalf or Saruman, and simply be ageless in the midst of ordinary society. They'll get used to it. Or, alternatively, go on the road, and take up the life of a permanent wanderer. Call no place home for more than three to five years, then move on. Depending on the time period, you may not have to move far! Or you may have to move to an entirely different planet.

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From mid 20s, growth is shown more through behaviour rather than biology.

In your mid-20s:

  • You have no more "expected growth". Puberty is done. Youre at your full height.
  • You have no evidence of ageing - no wrinkles, no grey hairs. Back and knees still work.
  • Growth starting in this period is mostly societal rather than biological, and you can fake getting older by changing your behavior - people finish college and get a real job, turn from a batchelor into a father, stop partying and become a mother. They get a mortgage and a more practical car.

You could last 25 years without standing out around your non immortal peers by copying their behavior, and when they're turning 40: - "you exercise and mostly avoid junk foods and dont smoke and arent staying up to 3am with a sick child" that's why your not getting wrinkles or grey hairs.

When they're getting into late 50s theyll start to get suspicious, you should move on by then, or go just "move to warmer climate" only to have your "child" return a year later and "move into their parents place". You then make friends with a new batch of mid 20s and continue the cycle again.

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  • $\begingroup$ But not everyone follows these conventional societal patterns. E.g. I didn't get a BS until my mid-30s, and have yet to own what most people would consider a really "practical" car. The exercise &c works, too. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Feb 3, 2021 at 17:48
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I would say the teens and mid twenties. There's little to no difference between a 16 yo and a 26 yo looks wise. A simple hairstyle can make a 16 look way older or a 26 way younger. Also consider beards, teens can grow beards and adults can cut them.

Also height... There's people who stop growing at the age of 12....there are twelve year olds way above the average height of an adult. With enough makeup and some hair styles you could pass for any age you want. Usually rounder hair that goes around your head makes you younger, hair that goes sideways or upward makes you look more mature not older but more mature. And long hair makes you look older, that's why a lot of moms cut their hair short in an attempt to get back their lost youth. Also muscle mass plays an important role, there are strongmen and powerlifters of age 14 to 18 that lool like 50 year olds grown men.

So my best bet would be 20 years old, experienced it first hand too with people thinking I look like a 14 yo boy when I cut my beard and 28 or 30 when I go bald and let my beard grow long.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah and sun exposure is the most important factor actually, 1 year of sun bathing can destroy 1/3 of all your skin collagen making your skin look forever 5 to 10 years older. $\endgroup$
    – Vik
    Feb 3, 2021 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ why would a vampire be sunbathing though? ;) $\endgroup$
    – stix
    Feb 3, 2021 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ @stix: Suicide? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Feb 3, 2021 at 20:01
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There is not a single age which can be valid for every individuals, since each person shows the sign of ageing in a whole different way, according to their DNA and their lifestyle.

When I was 16 I used to play basketball in a nearby town, and used to hitch a ride from another teammate who had the driving license when going to the trainings. One day he asked me why at my age I didn't have a driving license myself, and when I asked him how old did he thought I was, he said I looked 25. And the other day, watching myself in a video taken about 13 years ago, I have seen that I am not changed that much.

On the other hand I have seen a classmate from high school, who in those years looked like Britney Spears in her golden times, looking like a 50 years old at the tender age of 35. And I could name a lot of celebrities who seem to have some sort of secret pact for looking way younger than their real age.

If your vampire is wealthy and can appear to have a healthy lifestyle not many people will question its apparent lack of ageing, within limits.

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This question assumes that aging is a linear process, which it isn't.

Growing from infancy to puberty is as much aging as growing old and frail and dying. They're just two different forms of progression of the human body in different life stages.

That said, it seems your question is more focused on the degradative changes of aging, those in which the body is in decline, rather than the constructive changes of aging, where the body is growing into its final form.

This degradative aging begins at around age 21, when you begin to lose the strong healing capability of youth.

This means the time of "least aging" as you put it is going to be between puberty, in the mid teens, and age 21, when the body begins its slow decline, so between the ages of 16 and 21 or so. Since the decline doesn't begin immediately, you can stretch the upper part of this to the late twenties, so say between the ages of 18 and 30.

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