How to change Ageism

When I was a little girl, my mom told me a lady never reveals her age.   

The truth is, what does age really reveal?  How arrested our development has been?  Do you ever think that?  How could you possibly be …?  and still …?  Wouldn’t it be more helpful if we shared our maturity score? But since we don’t, I advocate just forgoing sharing your age. 

In the acting world, people go by an age range.  On one occasion, years ago, a former agent of mine asked me my real age for a project he wanted to submit me for.  I didn’t think anything of it and I told him. 

Oops.  From that day on, he stopped submitting me for my former age range and my booking rate decreased dramatically.  I chatted with him about it but there was no turning back time on this matter because he had slotted me into a new category based on my real age.  I ended up leaving that agency.

People cannot help slotting us into categories based on their own experiences of what our age means to them. 

I’m sure you’ve heard stories about couples falling in love only to break up when ages are revealed.  I’ve seen both women thinking a man is too young and when a man finds out a woman is older than he hoped. 

People argue that it’s only realistic to deal with people’s real ages.  Is it though?  My brother in law Bob was one of my favorite people.  He married my sister in law who was 21 years younger than he.  People warned my sister in law that he was too old for her and would end up leaving her a widow early. 

Well, people were right.  My brother in law left too early but my sister in law would choose Bob all over again in a heartbeat.

And what of those that are laid off because of their ages and then have tremendous difficulty finding another job? 

I don’t like it is what I’m gonna say and what can we do?  My thought is, let’s change the way we think about each other and age. 

I never ask a person their age.  I want to enjoy people for who they are.  For that my matter, I’m not big on asking you your last name, your occupation or your marital status.  I want to know YOU! 

What do I say when people ask me my age?   I simply respond, “A lady never reveals her age” and if someone insists, (it happens) I simply say, “It’s not polite to ask a woman her age” and then I move on.  

I know people are tying to figure out my age.  People ask me questions about pop culture from different eras, do the math of how old my son is and how long I’ve been married.  Suddenly people want to know how old my brother is and how much older he is than me.  These games are a smidge funny to me. 

Let me end by saying, I don’t think age is important.  I don’t even remind myself of my own age because I am so much more than a number and so are you!  Whether you’re 22 or 102, I like you the same. 

Give my idea a try.  For the next month, don’t reveal your age and see what happens…