You know how Entertainment Tonight does their birthday announcements at the end of each show? It always cracks me up to hear that someone, who up until a year ago was my age, is now magically two years younger. Seriously? Did you think we wouldn’t notice?
Lying about our age is certainly not unique to this generation. Our mothers did it, and their mothers before them. But in a time when turning forty is embraced more than ever, many of us are still hesitant about embracing it. If forty really is the new thirty, why hide it?
I’ve always been one to embrace my age. In fact at age 28, I was telling everybody I was 30, so convinced was I that 30 would be my best year ever (more on that later). But around age 28.75, to be exact, I began to notice hesitation when responding to the question, “how old are you,” particularly if the inquiry was coming from someone younger. It was just a moment’s hesitation, but it was there nonetheless, and I was shocked that I, of all people, would succumb to the deadly age embarrassment syndrome. But the thing is, I’m NOT at all embarrassed about turning forty. In fact, I’m one of the ones looking forward to it.
I’ve recently realized, it’s not turning forty that concerns me, it’s other people’s reaction to me being forty that does. And by other people, I mean other know-it-all thirty year olds like I was. I remember thinking at thirty, that I had ten good years left. Ten years to cram in the fulfillment of every wish, dream and fantasy I’d ever had. That’s how convinced I was that once I turned forty, it was all over but the shouting. Don’t ask me where I got the stupid idea that life (at least a fun life) ended at forty. But there I was in my early thirties, restaurant hopping, spending borrowed money, taking salsa lessons, karate classes, playing tennis, pool…a whirlwind of activity, convinced that staying active would keep me thirty forever. Then my mid thirties happened, and my dream of a perfect decade crumbled under the reality of lay-offs, credit card bills, a broken toe (I’ll tell you about it another time) and, well…reality.
Now, as forty quickly approaches I realize that I need it as much as I needed thirty. I don’t need it to be the new thirty. I need it to be forty – full of the same hopes and dreams that thirty was, but with a dash of wisdom born from life lessons. No, I’m not embarrassed to say I’m turning forty. And when a young thirty year old gives me that “bless her forty year old heart” smile, I’ll smile back, knowing that one day, she’ll be here too.
What’re your thoughts on hiding your age? Share them in the comment section above.