I once remember a colleague refusing to tell anyone how old she was. She looked to me to be roughly my age and at the time I was in my thirties i.e. really not that old. The more she refused, the more people were desperate to know. She couldn’t even provide a reason as to why she didn’t want anyone to know. Apparently, not even her boyfriend knew. This obviously led us all to wonder how old could she possibly be to go to such extreme lengths to ensure that nobody found out.
For years, it has always been said that you should never ask a lady how old she is. For years, when a woman has revealed her age it is quite often begrudgingly or with shame. I am of course referring to women of a certain age. Women in their twenties will happily announce that actually they are 28 with some pride and so they should. So, why is it that once women reach a certain age threshold that that pride dwindles away and is only met with remorse.
I have never, quite frankly, understood this. Surely, the older you get, the more proud you should feel of your age? As someone once said “Do not regret growing old, it is a privilege denied to many” (I have relentlessly tried to find out who originally said that quote, but to no avail) or to put it frankly as the French actor Maurice Chevalier said “Old age isn’t so bad when you think of the alternative”. I bear this in mind as I approach my 40th Birthday next week. Without sounding too morose, I think of the friends who haven’t got this far and I feel almost disgusted at the thought of feeling pity or shame about turning 40 when the privilege wasn’t afforded to them. Therefore, I simply cannot understand why someone would be full of regret that they have lived another year.
I understand that some people might be ashamed of how old they are as they feel that they haven’t achieved much in the time they’ve been on this earth, but this doesn’t mean you should be ashamed of your age (and mate, I reckon what you’ve achieved in your life will be a hell of a lot more than some people have. Plus what’s all this excitement about “achievement” anyway. If you’re healthy and have people that love you, you’re doing pretty bloody well).
I believe we all should (and women in particular) hold our heads high when we inform someone how old we are. I think people should say it with a smile on their face and be almost obnoxious about it. I think one’s age, no matter how old you are, is an achievement. Life is hard and not everyone gets as far down the road as they would have liked or as we would have liked. So next week, when I turn 40 and despite the fact that the other day when I sneezed I tore a muscle in my stomach and have a dodgy back, I will be elated that I made it this far and will wish for many more Birthdays to come. Also, personally as a parent, every year is worth celebrating as that means I’ve watched my child grow for another year and if that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.