A male journalist friend of mine recently asked an interesting question: Why are some women so reluctant to reveal their ages?
When researching stories, he said, he often asks interview subjects how old they are and he’s noticed that some women tend to clam up or get suspicious — “Why do you need to know my age? — when asked the question.
Personally, I have no problem revealing my age. But I’m also still relatively young — unless, of course, you ask my children, who will gladly tell you I’m old — proving, without a doubt, that age is a matter of perspective.
I also tend to think of myself as young; in fact, I’m constantly surprised by other people’s ages. Case in point: At an event the other night, I met a lovely woman who I considered sophisticated, polished…you know, mature. Somehow, she worked her age into the conversation and I was shocked when she revealed that she was several years younger than me. Maybe that’s a testament to my own insecurities — that I automatically assume I’m younger than women who really seem to have it all together.
It reminds me of what my mother once told me when I was around 16. She said, “You know how old you feel inside right now? That’s how old you’re always going to feel.”
Age, it seems, is a lot like size. Yes, there may be an arbitrary number on the calendar or on the tag inside your jeans. But what really matters is how you feel about that number — and about yourself. Choose to see yourself as youthful and vibrant and your “age” is suddenly less important. Choose to see yourself as healthy and fit, and suddenly “size” is no longer so important either…unless, of course, you allow other people’s judgments about those numbers to affect you.
Sure, there are people who think a woman in her 40s is no longer young, just as there are people who think a woman who’s a certain size can’t possibly be beautiful. What do they know, anyway?
If telling your age bothers you, then don’t. If the size on the tag of your jeans makes you feel bad, take a pair of scissors and cut it out. If the number on the scale fills you with angst, don’t step on it.
It’s time we women stopped playing the numbers game. Just for today, let go of those arbitrary numbers and just be. And don’t forget to notice how great it feels.