Why is Age Such a Big Deal? Asking For a Friend...

Saturday, December 1, 2018

"Some guy said to me: 'Don't you think you're too old to sing rock n' roll?' I said: 'You'd better check with Mick Jagger.'" ~ Cher

Hey, I'm over 40! **gasps**

I was watching The Ellen Degeneres Show this week and she talked about how her age is always stated when she is mentioned in the media. And she wondered why the media felt the need to always mention her age instead of her accolades and achievements. 

Hell, why not mention her job title or even her eye color? Nope, just her age. And for the record, she is 60, to which I was shocked to learn. She looks damn good.

I also noticed that when I typed in her name on Google, the first suggested search that came up was "Ellen Degeneres age" above her name. 

Actress Julia Roberts, Ellen's guest during this show, also expressed her annoyance with news outlets front-loading their stories with a celebrity’s age. It rarely happens with younger folks or even older men. Julia is 51.

So why is a woman's age such a big deal?

Peep this. 

  • Suzanne Collins was 46 when she wrote "The Hunger Games". 
  • E. L. James was 46 when she wrote "Fifty Shades of Grey". 
  • Iris Apfel is a major fashion icon at age 97, having been the face of Australian brand Blue Illusion at age 94 and was a visiting professor at University of Texas at Austin at the age of 90. 
  • Ann Dowd earned her first Primetime Emmy Award nomination at the age of 61 for her role as Aunt Lydia on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale.

Now I ask again, why is a woman's age such a big deal?

I recently saw Ann Dowd speak at Glamour's Women of the Year Summit and was in awe. It was that day that I decided I wasn't going to hide my own age anymore and not be too hard on myself for not getting everything I wanted accomplished by a certain age.

She spoke about getting her big break late in life (in her 50's) and how she learned to create her own timeline. We are fed this notion that we have to do all these things before a certain age because God forbid we do some amazing shit when we're "old".

Me doing some amazing shit at the age of 47

What is "old" exactly? Just like size, age is often judged by its number and we are more than a number.

Getting back to me (yes, I was deflecting cause I fully admit this is hard)... My name is Marcy and I am 48 years old. 

Yep, I'll be 50 in two years and I have been struggling with that BIG TIME. 50 seems like such a major milestone where you are now crossing over from young to old. It's that median mark where now you're like, damn, I am a half century old. 

I don't feel 50. I mean, what is 50 supposed to feel like? Or look like?

I see other women who are my age or around my age and some look much older than me and some don't. I am blessed to not look my age and still get the dropped jaws when I tell people how old I am. So for me, it feels weird to get older because time seems to be flying yet I feel like I am standing still. Does that make sense?

I've also encountered ageism in the sense where I have been told I shouldn't do this or that, shouldn't wear this or that, and etc. I just want to know who created these rules and why should we follow them?

So many questions and no answers. But I have learned that the answers to these questions are subjective. WE ARE WHO WE ARE. WE FEEL WHAT WE FEEL. And age should not have anything to do with that.

Sure, from a physical standpoint, things are changing. I have menopause to look forward to (NOT). I'm now wearing reading classes because after spending most of my life with almost perfect sight, I am now far-sighted. I suffer from arthritis and now have to get extra tests at the doctor to check for illnesses that happen after a certain age. 

However, from a mental perspective, while I feel like I am wiser and more self aware, I still feel youthful and free. I still feel like I can conquer the world and I admit I still love to get on a swing at the park or run around freely in an open space. Plus, I still have my hot mess moments where I sometimes question what the hell am I doing.

The notion that you have your life together when you're a certain age is BS. Life is a journey where you are always figuring things out. I think as long as you are open to the possibilities and have committed to nourishing your relationship with yourself, it's okay to not have it together.

Nothing is perfect and your age should not be some indicator of life and where you should be. Self love is a lifelong journey that never stops and it shouldn't. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you will have in your life. 

So I remind myself daily of what Ann Dowd said on that stage...

Keep the love story alive; the love of what you do. Celebrate the small wins. Stay humble and grateful for every single day and everything that happens in that day. It will suit you and support you. Always remember the answer is within you because your heart and soul are your compass to life. Don't obsess on the How. Just remind yourself in the mirror that you are in charge of who you are. 

Yes, I am 48 but that doesn't define who I am by a long shot. Get ready 2019! I am fully prepared to do some more amazing shit going into Year 49. 

And maybe I should start thinking about what I will do to usher in Year 50. Turning a half century old is kind of cool, when you think about it.

Read Ann Dowd's speech here on Glamour's website. #BeInspired #ICertainlyWas


  1. I didn't believe 'age ain't nothing but a number' until I turned 60 -- two years ago. Yes, vision is not the greatest, arthritis, and other medical issues. But, most days I feel good, I live an active life, still working, and the best compliment I got recently was from a doctor who told me 'for a person your size and age, you're in pretty good shape'. She was teaching me yoga exercises for patients with arthritis. Getting older is not a sentence of doom, it's an opportunity, a new path on your life journey.

  2. You have a lot to be thankful for and Yes. . looking young is one of those. But, age is clearly a number and with the right treatment menopause can be just a "pause of men" LOL!! I always wondered what 65 would like until I was. Age does not look like anything, people do and the more acceptance becomes paramount we will all age gracefully. Enjoy your Life!!