From Our ReadersI’m Gonna Be Happy About My Age Even If You’re NotFrom Our Readers

I am a lot of things I am proud of. I am a writer, actress, comedian, lawyer, daughter, sister and friend. On the other hand, I’m 31 years old. That’s when you were supposed to spit out your pizza in disgust. Because, apparently, being 31 is something to be ashamed of.

I learned this recently while chatting with a younger male friend at a bar. We were talking about relationships and I mentioned that since being a part of the New York comedy scene, I had dated some guys that were younger than me. It was an off-hand comment that I didn’t think about very much. UNTIL…

My friend asked me if I thought that the prestige of getting on a house team at our comedy theater had helped me date these guys that were “otherwise out of [my] league.”

What!

I had given him NO information about these dudes except that they were younger than me. They could’ve been Prince Charming or they could’ve been Prince Humperdinck. He had no idea. And yet my friend automatically deemed them out of my league because they were younger than me.

Now, forgive me if this comes across as conceited in my old age, but I have never considered the fact that someone would be out of my league. Could I imagine a scenario in which someone didn’t want to date me? Sure. But it would be because there wasn’t chemistry or he’s a Republican or something. Not because I wasn’t good enough for them. And certainly not because I had timed out, like some amateur playing Taboo. (For the record, I am awesome at Taboo.)

I went into the conversation as a confident young woman. I left the conversation feeling like a crusty old lady, lucky to have increased her quickly-declining value by being good at comedy. And that sucked.

But I can’t blame my friend. It’s the world we live in. Women are not allowed to get old in this society, and yet, we haven’t figured out how to stop time. So where does that leave us?

It leaves us teaching women to be ashamed of something they can’t control, to lie about it, to hate themselves for it. It leaves me feeling like I have to add a few years when a guy at a bar asks me when I graduated college. It leaves me feeling like I need to apologize for something that I didn’t do wrong.

Shaming women about their age is just another way society tells women they aren’t good enough the way they are. The voice that tells us we should inject poison in our faces to belie our age is the same voice that tells us we should starve ourselves to change the shape of our God-given thighs.

Well, thanks a lot world, but I’m sick of feeling like the first draft of a term paper that needs to go through a shit ton of revisions until it’s ready to be shown to the world. I have a lot on my “To Do” list that has nothing to do with staying pretty and young for you.

While I am disappointed in society’s obsession with women’s age, I’m not delusional. I know that people will continue to judge women based external factors associated with youth. I can’t change that.

But I can change whether I’m going to be ashamed of myself because of something as arbitrary as my age. I can choose to recognize that age is just the number of years you’ve been on this Earth, with no positive or negative value attached to it.

And frankly, I’ve reviewed all 31 of my years and there isn’t one I’d be willing to give back. Regardless of what league it puts me in.

You can read more from Kassia Miller on her blog.

Feature image via Shutterstock

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  1. Didn’t you know, yet? Apparently once you hit 30, you’re an old cow and you can’t get a decent guy anymore! That’s what I heard, at least. An acquaintance of mine almost choked on her drink when I told her I’d also go out with guys up to 5 years younger than me. You would think ppl were over the whole issue by now…but as a 30-something you shouldn’t have to feel like a cougar! Great article, thanks!

    Jessica, it’s really funny, cos I’m in the same situation just the other way around: I’m 29 (30 in April) and went back to university last April. Of course everyone is about 8 to 10 years younger than me. Funny thing is that literally NO ONE guesses my real age and I just started asking myself if it’s only because of my good genes or my behaviour… :-p

  2. I love this article!
    I’m 23, and in a very different life situation than most 23 year olds I know (I work within the Social Services field, have been living on my own and supporting myself since I was 18, paid for my own college classes etc.). I’ve always been percieved as mature for my age. Whenever people ask me how old I am I make them guess before I tell them. I often hear 26 or 27, but recently someone guessed 33! I took it as a compliment. There is nothing wrong with aging, the problem lays in society’s view on it.
    I constantly tell my mom that I can’t wait to get wrinkles and gray hairs becuase of the wisdom and elegance I see in them, and she always responds with telling me that I will change my mind when that happens. This makes me so sad. Shouldn’t we be proud of our age, and the life we’ve lived, rather than ashamed that we have been on this planet for so long?

    There is something so wrong with the way we view age, and the way men age v.s. the way women age. The above comment sums that up perfectly. I completely agree.

  3. YES!!!! It reminds me of a story I heard about a husband complaining his wife was no longer thin, mere months after she gave birth to their child. Even worse was that said husband was a fat slob.
    Men can grow old, go grey, get wrinkles and they’re dignified, handsome, sexier than ever.
    Women get old, go grey, get wrinkles and they’re washed up, ugly, deemed someone’s grandmother.
    The way society treats the gender biases creates panic in the hearts of women everywhere. And there isn’t a woman out there who doesn’t wonder if her husband is going to leave her for someone younger, prettier, thinner. And yes, there are men who wonder the same thing. It’s not just men who are jerks, there are women who are jerks, too. But those women are called “whores” or “sluts”. Men who do this just “score” younger women.