My name is Tanya. I am 31 years, 7 months and 25 days old.
I was born in 1987. I grew up with Cabbage Patch Kids, Loonie Tunes, and Polly Pocket (version 1.0); and when I was 10 I wanted to be (or meet) a Spice Girl more than I wanted anything else in the whole world.
Everything they said about your 30s is true. It’s way more gooder than the other ages I’ve experienced. (Except 7. I really loved 7.)
I’m entering this era of my life where I feel more confident. I have better friends and deeper, more meaningful relationships. I can say no to things that need to be said no to, and I have a handle on drawing healthy boundaries. On the flip side, I’m also noticing a new-to-me trend: more and more frequently my peers, more prevalently women, are starting to become more illusive about their age.
I can’t begin to tell you how much this bums me out.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand aspects of this choice (which I’ll get into a little later here), but even still, I just can’t get on board with it.
I love being 31. I have never felt more sure of who I am as a person. I feel acutely aware of my traits, for better AND worse. I have so many tools to manage the various challenges that come my way. I am wittier, my sense of humour is more developed, and I am quicker to retort in a debate. I know myself, I have opinions and I’m less afraid of sharing them. I am less concerned with being considered a threat when I share my point of view – and yet I am also simultaneously more compassionate and aware of my language when I do. I have an accumulation of knowledge and experience that has served me very well, and I have more opportunities to share from those experiences than I ever have.
I am also under the belief that this will continue. As I continue to age I will accumulate more understanding of the world, myself, and the people around me. [Insert cliche-meme about wine and women getting better with age blahblah.]
To those of you that choose not to disclose your age, I want you to know that I have compassion for that choice, and my intention is not for you to feel judged or called out. I understand that the culture and society we live in may treat you with certain bias based on the age grouping it puts you in. (Isn’t that awesome? How we’re all put into GROUPS. Just love that. Sarcasm-font, where are you when I need you?) I understand that this choice may make you feel more accepted. Or even more confident. Whatever your reasons may be, they’re yours. And they are entirely valid.
It doesn’t change that I can’t help but hope that less people will make this choice. By hiding our age, we’re reinforcing and agreeing with society that our age is something to be ashamed of; and that our value is tied up in our physical appearance and youth.
Naturally this hide-your-age mentality is ever-present in the entertainment industries. It seems there is this looming deadline; this unspoken belief that an (female) artist (or actor or dancer…or or or…) can’t ‘break’ if they are 30 or older. So naturally, staying in the youth bucket lets you a bit more time to pursue your dream. And this is exactly where you lose me.
NO! People. BE BOLD. Be something new, and different. If you don’t think the industry has room for an artist over 30 to break. Then BE the artist over 30 that breaks. Don’t be another 20-something year old. They have a butt-load of them already. (Note: No disrespect (or ‘shade’ as you call it) to you 20-somethings. I love you. Muah.) BE YOU! Be the 40-something year old that breaks. Hell, be the 50 or 60-something year old that breaks. Try to convince me that you should put an age limit on your ambitions, it won’t work. I don’t stop working at the things that fill my heart because society doesn’t approve of my age.
Continuing to hide our age silently condones all this societal behaviour. It silently condones that we are of more value for our appearance and others’ perception than we are for our experiences and our knowledge. It reinforces that our value is wrapped around our aesthetic, and our ability to be ‘care-free’ and ‘fun’. (Because we are predominantly fun in our twenties? Is that it?)
Here’s what. Be aesthetic, be care-free, be fun! AND be opinionated, be deep, be expressive. Have values and morals you fight for and stand by. Use your voice, your heart, and your body.
What a world it would be if we saw the true depth in women. These amazing beings that have vast array of amazing characteristics: Beautiful, powerful, compassionate, funny, charismatic, loving, nurturing, fierce, intelligent. What poetry and symbolism it is that these same incredible beings are the source of all human life. (Shout out to the men for your (very) small contribution.)
Celebrate your life. Celebrate your age. You have had this amazing privilege to live a human life; each year being this beautiful gift that some don’t receive. Each passing decade offers this glorious opportunity to give less f**ks than the previous; To focus on what are the truly impactful parts of life and recognize how much choice and power you have in your own life. We GET that people. We GET to age. We GET to give less f**ks. We GET to CHOOSE our life!
No matter how young you look, or you act; or what your job is, or if you go to school; how old your kids are, or if you don’t have kids. Whatever reason you hide your age, whatever your justification; BE your age, and teach society that your age doesn’t designate what you can accomplish or act like or become. Whatever your reason may be. Put it in front you and PROVE IT WRONG. Be brilliant. Be radiant. Be you.
Okay. Maybe I’m getting a little too #inpso here, and if I’m gunna keep this up I’m going to have to change my name to Tany Rybbins. Or something. (In case you missed it, that was a really really poorly executed joke attempting to compare my previous paragraph to the work of Tony Robbins.)
The point of the story is – ain’ no shame in your aging game. Being that it is inevitable and completely unavoidable. So go act your shoe size; regardless of what your birth certificate says.