Admit Your Age

Today is my 50th birthday.

#WildernessYoga

I have a confession to make. I lied about my age for most of my adult life. Lying might not be the right term, I usually didn’t quote a false number, I simply told people that I don’t like to talk about my age. People pressed me all the time, but I was consistent and firm. I didn’t talk about my age.

Seven years ago a co-worker asked to look at my wallet. I didn’t think anything of it, we’re both fashion designers, I assumed that she was looking at the configuration of the credit card slots. However, she was trying to sneak a look at my ID. It seems that everyone I work with was curious to know how old I really was. She wasn’t fast enough for me, I realized what she was doing and pulled it away before she had a chance to see the date of birth on my driver’s license, but that incident got me thinking. Why couldn’t I admit my age?

Six years ago I went through treatment for breast cancer. It’s sort of a joke among cancer patients that everyone is reduced to two items of information- your name and your birthday. Even when you talk to people on the phone they won’t say anything until you give them your name and your birthday. I work in a really open office where everyone can hear everyone else’s business. At first when I took calls I would try to whisper my birthday so the people I work with wouldn’t hear. By the end of treatment I would rattle off my name, my birthday, and a whole host of other delicate and personal details at the drop of a hat. Clearly I knew that my age was no longer a secret to the people I work with. However, outside the office I was still elusive and mysterious when it came to my age.

Six months ago I went to a swanky fundraiser at a hip Hollywood Hotel. I happened to run into one of my mentors, the yoga guru responsible for getting me into Kundalini Yoga. He is an incredibly popular spin and yoga instructor in West Hollywood. He also DJs and is just an all around cool guy. My friend brought up our plans at the time to go back to Africa this year as he had expressed an interest in going with us on our next trip. Then my friend told him about the safari we were tying to add on to the trip since this was the year I am turning 50 and I’ve always wanted to go on safari.

I was mortified. The first thoughts in my head were-

Oh no! Now Mr. Fabulous knows how old I really am. I’ve just lost all my hip + cool credentials. I think he’s looking at me sideways. Is he disgusted with me now that he knows I am so OLD? How can I dance around and sing and cover up the fact that this even happened? How can I make everyone forget that I am going to be 50 years old?

Why was that my first reaction?

I could blame our society and the media and the fact that we ALL seem to be obsessed with youth. I could blame the women’s magazines and television shows that celebrate the young and either vilify or ignore the old. I could blame the beauty industry and the billions of dollars they spend marketing magical anti-aging products to play upon our insecurities.

But a lot of the blame lies with women like me. Women who won’t admit their real age. If I can’t accept the fact that I am almost 50, if I can’t stand up and yell to the world that I am almost 50, how can I expect the world to accept me at 50? If I were to still lie about my age, to try to seduce people into thinking I am younger than I really am how can I ever find my place in a society where nothing is real? Where every woman I come across is desperately trying anything she can to look younger? I have friends who aren’t even 30 who pull at the hairline wrinkles around their eyes and wistfully wonder what they can do to maintain their youth. In our society most women spend more time (and money) trying to make themselves look younger than they do on any spiritual pursuits. How did we get to the point where how young we look is more important than how we feel?

In not telling the truth about my age I’m not telling the full truth of who I am. The connection we all crave in this life only happens when we can be fully honest with each other, wrinkles and all. In Kundalini Yoga we use the phrase “Sat Nam”. At it’s most simplistic this phrase means “True Name”. Sat Nam. “The truth of my being sees and honors the truth of your being.” The essence is truth. I know that I have to be truthful with myself so that I can be free.

I challenge every woman reading this to admit your age. Stop judging yourself by the standards set up by corporations to capitalize on your insecurities. Realize that lying about your age only perpetuates the concept that how young you are is the only standard by which we should all be judged. Human beings don’t have expiration dates. Your value does not decrease at 30 or 40 or 50. Don’t just do this for yourself. Do this for all the younger women coming up behind you. It is time to tell the truth.

My name is Laura and I am 50 years old today.

Join me. Let’s start a movement.

#admityourage  #thisisfifty

  • ShanaCruz Thompson

    This made me tear up a little bit, Laura. I can’t wait to see you tonight. There truly is so much to celebrate.
    You.
    Are.
    Wonderful.

  • Shari Pearson

    Knowing you in college I would never have guessed you would not talk about your age! But, while I admit my age (I’ll be 50 in October) I am contemplating some “cosmetic touch ups!” So maybe that’s a way of not dealing with my age??? I wonder…

  • I turned 50 in April and began letting people know weeks in advance! Since then, I’ve also talked about it and encouraged other women to talk about it, most recently in an interview with Evelyn Kalinosky: http://www.evelynkalinosky.com/blog/rebel-with-a-clue-a-conversation-that-matters-with-sandi-amorim/

    I’ve declared this the year of LIVING 50 and I’m happy to see I’m not alone 🙂

  • I am SO with you you have no idea!

    I love this post and I love that you’re doing this.
    I like myself better for the fact that I’ve never lied about my age even when I’ve felt the shift in where I belong because of it. I like myself better for the fact that I accept and love my silver hairs that have begun seeding my scalp since I was 22. I’ve been able to see that my forehead would gradually become deeply lined, and I feel like that’s already happening, although others tell me they barely see it.

    I can sometimes look at my face, still youthful, and see the old woman who is very slowly emerging from within me. I’ve been working on loving and accepting her for a long time now, while trying to remember to stay present with the woman I currently am.

    And yes, I know I’m in a tiny minority of women that I can say these things. But that’s why I’m so glad you’re championing this movement, Laura. Because I see the suffering of all my sisters when they hate upon who they are physically becoming, and I wish I could gift to every woman this kind of love.

    Thank you for being a role model.

    • Oh! And I’m Rachel and I’m 36 years old. #admityourage

  • Kim Amorelli

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am soon to be 57, but know it is only a number. My life is more about doing than how I look and I am comfortable with that. Celebrate the small things in life and cherish every moment.

  • You write beautifully Laura; ) I will be turning double nickels next week (55!!!) I have always loved telling people my age and even my weight when I put on extra pounds when the topic of weight comes up ; ) I know I am not the norm for this way of thinking but I think to myself… The person I am talking to is already prejudging me, (we can’t help, its what we do) They can see my wrinkles, (I’ve earned every one of those) they see my snug shirt, they see it all… What I find is that it doesn’t matter what I look like, what matters is that I care about who I am engaged in conversation with, and hopefully that is what they will walk away with: ) You are a survivor who is a Beautiful and Talented writer! I look forward to reading more of your blogs; ) Love, Lisa

  • Thanks for this post! Such a fantastic topic! Timely & much needed!.
    We have so many more choices with regard to how, we live, who we become and what we do in our 20’s, 30’s ,40’s, 50’s, 60,s, 70,s 80,s &90’s than any other generation. Let,s make the most of it!!.

  • .. And happy birthday!

  • .. I’m 42

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