I recently threw a party to celebrate my lovely daughter’s 21st birthday and met quite a few people that night who I’d never met before. However, it got me thinking about what seems to be the mandatory response when for whatever reason you reveal your age in public.
As I’m nearly 60, the subject of celebrating my own milestone birthday came up more than once and almost without exception the response, accompanied by eyes opened wide, hands clapped dramatically over mouth, was ‘60! Noooooo, no! You don’t look it!’.
Now I can assure you that I look absolutely 60 and I’m not being remotely coy, this is no reflection on any aspect of my appearance. I’ve concluded that it is simply an almost automatic, polite response which is surely the only thing that will do in the face of such antiquity - that of exclaiming that it can’t possibly be true. To be clear, this wasn’t the response from the 21 year olds (who couldn’t care less actually) but of people in the 40 plus bracket who I have to conclude are horrified at the prospect of ever being 60 themselves.
There is definitely a decade or two where the auto-response is ‘you don’t look it’ which I’m guessing then changes to ‘wow! You are marvellous !’ (probably around 80, when clearly it’s a miracle that you’re still walking and talking). Isn’t this ageing business a funny thing? Looking young is clearly something to be congratulated on (even when you don’t), a bit like ‘have you lost weight?’ (when clearly you haven’t).
In the meantime, I shall continue to relish the ageing process as much as I possibly can, being firmly of the belief that it sure beats the alternative.