When it Comes to Your Age, Do You Share?

I’m a few months shy of 65, and yes, I find that nearly impossible to believe—and sometimes difficult to share.

Divulging one’s age is definitely a personal decision. I respect that, and so do most women I know.

My friend Maery, who coincidentally turns 65 today, not only willingly shares her age, she dares people to make a joke or a derogatory comment. 

Others I know are more sensitive about sharing. One reason is because they fear age-related discrimination. That’s the situation of another friend who, unlike me, spent most of her 30s and 40s as a stay-at-home mom focused on her family.

Now, eager to complete her PhD and advance in her career, she recently declined being nominated for the Minnesota 50 Over 50, an AARP Minnesota awards program that honors Minnesotans over the age of 50 who are doing amazing things in one of five categories: arts, business, community, nonprofit and disruptor.

Two other women I know declined to be nominated as well because they, too, didn’t want to call attention their age. One felt doing so would diminish her accomplishments, another thought doing so might jeopardize her job hunt.

The male colleague who asked them if he could nominate them described the experience as awkward and uncomfortable. He went on to say that he would never feel uncomfortable asking a man about his age. And he doubts a man would ever decline being nominated because of his age.  

What do you think? Do you own your age or are you sensitive about revealing it? If so, why? Do you see a difference between how men and women view age and their willingness to talk about it? What can we, individually or as a society, do to help ourselves and others openly claim—and share—our age? 

Share your thoughts. 

3 thoughts on “When it Comes to Your Age, Do You Share?

  1. Great topic! Thanks for writing about it.

    I think naming your age can be a real dilemma because so many people make negative assumptions about older people. I don’t know if it’s worse for older women than for men, but I know the world is often disrespectful and dismissive of older women. When I met new people after I retired at 61, and they asked what I did, I always said I was a writer instead of saying I was retired. It was true, but I didn’t want to deal with people’s weird assumptions about retired people. After I turned 65, I began owning ‘retired’. And now at 67, I’m usually fine with giving my age. However, I can imagine a circumstance in which I might push back and ask why the person needs to know my age.

    I sympathize with your friends’ reaction to being nominated for the 50 over 50 honor, especially the job-seeker. Age discrimination in the workplace is real.

  2. I have come to think of chronological age as a level we’ve attained, so yes, I own my age and am proudly anticipating the attainment of Level 60 in two weeks. (Now to figure out the cheat code to grab a few extra lives!) But I understand the reluctance to subject oneself to the “Over 50” label. That’s like someone saying, “Wow, you look great—FOR YOUR AGE,” a backhanded compliment at best. Why would AARP still be using such labels when clearly they contribute to ageism? Instead of lamenting that the best players don’t want to join their all-star team, why don’t they eliminate the barriers to participation and focus on other aspects of the accomplishments they want to celebrate?

  3. Shifts in culture can occur and while awareness of gender and age discrimination are growing, it may be a while before the world catches up. Personally, I’ve always been honest about my age. I’m rather proud of my personal growth and every gray hair on my head… I’ve earned every one!

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