Should You Tell Your Age?

Dr. Christiane Northrup was on PBS recently, vivacious, intelligent and fascinating as ever.  She’s a wonderful role model, full of advice about growing older, especially for women.

However, one thing she said perplexed me.

“Never tell people your age,” she advised her audience.  “Don’t celebrate your birthdays, even the milestones.  Society will foist cultural conditioning on you, starting as early as 30.”

I had to think about this.  Although I agree there’s cultural conditioning (just go to any Hollywood movie where you see sixty-something actors romantically paired with women young enough to be their great-granddaughters), I’m not sure the answer is denying who we are.

And how can we hide our age?  Unless you’re Halle Berry most of us look our years, give or take a few.  You can declare you’re not stating your number, but for most of us, it’s evident.  By not giving my age, I doubt anyone’s going to think I’m 25.  And I’m okay with that. (*sniff*)

And if age shouldn’t matter as Dr. Northrup rightly claims, is the answer pretending it doesn’t exist? If it’s just a number, why not say it? Why not accept who we are and how far we’ve come? Agelessness and goddesses (as she calls women) are nice fantasies.

But in the end, we’re real women and do age and I don’t think that’s so bad.  Milestone birthdays should be a source of pride.  The climb may be daunting, but what an incredible view.

And doesn’t hiding age buy into the cultural conditioning we’re trying to avoid, that increasing years in women are bad, even shameful?  Age is ever shifting, who we are at a certain moment.

I know women who are more youthful now than twenty years ago.  I also know young women with tough lives, older than their years.  And yes, there are more wrinkles and creaky joints past forty, but maybe that’s the price of being mortal and having the benefit of time.

I have no problem saying I’m 58.  I’m proud of my age.  I earned these years.  I laughed and cried and wore out many a pair of high heels to get here.  I find life as exciting (probably more so) than I did in my angst-ridden twenties.   The strangest thing is although I look different outside…I feel no different inside.

My grandmother Nana never talked about getting on in years till she lived in a Ft. Lauderdale nursing home at 95.   “Who are all these old people?” she kept asking of her fellow residents.

Up till then, Nana was always comfortable with her years.  “Look at these legs,” she’d say to me, posing showgirl style.  “Not bad for a 75 year old.”  Nana was proud of herself at every mile, radiating self-acceptance, and well into her eighties always had great zest for life.

In the end, I guess it’s personal.  Some women don’t give their age like we don’t give our weight or shoe size.  And I get that.  To tell or not to tell is a choice.  But there’s something freeing in saying this is who I am, take it or leave it… like men do.

I hope someday Dr. Northrup rethinks the age thing, especially about celebrating birthdays.  She’s a cool, pretty, intelligent woman.  Knowing her number won’t change that.

 

Agree?  Disagree?  Comments are always welcome and if you’d like to receive postings by email, please fill in your address below.  Thank you for reading and sharing!

 

 

24 Comments

  1. I am with you! I have never hidden my age, nor have I been ashamed of it. I am a better, happier person in my 40s than I ever could have dreamed of being in my 20s. I have a knowledge and a confidence that I find attractive in myself, and that is far more important than what might be seen on the outside. I hope to be like your Nana…she sounds like a great role model!

  2. Totally agree with you. Being the younger sibling, maybe this is where I got how I always feel like I'm the youngest one in the room, whether it's true or not. I'm shocked sometimes to realize the kids today probably think I'm an old lady. I'm still me though (but thankfully with a little more maturity).

  3. I’m entirely with you. I am 46. I definitely look 46. I feel about 12 or 15 on the inside 🙂 I don’t care who knows my age. I am not trying to hide it.

  4. This is beautiful! I’m 47 and am proud to say it. The older I get, the more I embrace my age. Your Nana has a good thing young there. She’s definitely one to admire.

    Women should hide their age. Just no sense in it imo.

    • Laurie Stone

      Brenda, I never saw the point of hiding our age. Its who we are. I agree, Nana did have a good thing going. Miss her. Thanks for reading.

    • Laurie Stone

      So happy to hear that Michelle. I’m totally with you. I get mad at girlfriends when they start listing all their “old” flaws. I say enjoy each stage of life, including the later ones.

  5. I totally agree with you, Laurie. I am very proud of my age. I will be 63 next month! I had a dear friend/mentor who taught me to make every single day of my life – my birthday. That way I would celebrate myself every day – instead of just once a year. I try to live by that. My father passed away very young………….I feel blessed to be able to age.

    • Laurie Stone

      Good point, Ellen. I never understand people who complain about their age, most of them being given a long, full life. I feel like they’re missing the big picture. Thank you for reading.

  6. Dr. Northrup was my GP when I lived in Vermont. She is a delight. I agree with you on this one though. Lets embrace our age and change cultural norms. Being outspoken and living large is the best way to do it.

    • Laurie Stone

      Wow, Anna, that’s very cool about Dr. N. being your GP. Yes, I’m surprised she would take such a strange stance on aging. Still like and respect her, though. Thanks for reading.

  7. I don’t flaunt my age, but I don’t hide it either. I look a lot younger than I am, and sometimes that works to my advantage. There is age discrimination and there are times when I have felt invisible in a room full of younger people. It is probably something I put on myself.

    • Laurie Stone

      Michele, I’m the same way. I’m neutral about age. I love people of all ages, and try and accept myself wherever I am on the journey. Thank you for reading.

  8. Hi Laurie! I saw that same show on PBS and felt the same as you. I think she has a lot to share with women our age (I’m 61) but I completely disagreed with her assessment not to tell her age. I got the impression that “looking young” was far more important to her than it is to me so maybe it’s that. Some women are extremely attached to their appearance and that makes it really hard for them to see themselves as older. While I realize that I looked younger when I was younger 🙂 I have always thought my mind and my personality were far more important. When looks lessen in importance, then age really doesn’t matter as much. ~Kathy

    • Laurie Stone

      Good point, Kathy. If its all about looks, then you’re right, its all about age. When our inner depths take center stage, then age recedes as an issue. Great thoughts and thanks so much for reading.

  9. I’m almost 53. Grandma to 5. 3rd level black prajioud in Muay Thai kickboxing. Yoga teacher. Bestselling author. I can put you into a state of deep relaxation or break your ribs

    I love being almost 53 and don’t care what anyone else thinks of a woman in the middle of her aging.

    • Laurie Stone

      Peggy, You have a full, amazing life. Age will never hold you back. I can see that from here. Thanks so much for reading.

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