Of all the cliches that we continue to endorse this is probably the most misleading one. It also looks like a half-ass, miserable attempt by an insecure, ageist human being at ableism. I don’t agree with you and let me tell you why. IT’S NOT TRUE.
In fact it’s as far from truth as it can be. How is age just a number? Age is what makes our organs stronger initially and later weak. Age is what determines our reproductive potential. Age is what predicts our morbidity and sometimes our mortality also. Age makes us develop life skills. Would you say that an infant and an adult are the same mental age because really chronological age is just a number according to you ? It’s stupid and reeks of a person’s insecurity around their process of getting older than they were yesterday.
And let’s look at this statement critically and objectively. Do we not expect better decision making from a man than we do from a child? Do we not expect our mothers and grandmothers to be so much wiser than us? Do we not revere the wisdom that’s transmitted from father to son?
Age also isn’t just a number if we talked about the stark naked reality of it. Of its implications on our health. How cancers happen more to people who are older? How coronary disease is more common in middle-aged population? How screening and surveillance are generally recommended after a certain age? How DNA corruption happens after living for a few decades?
So I’ve accepted that age is not just a number. Age is a solid reminder of how many years we have spent honing our craft, celebrating our life, guiding our young, loving our family. It’s not just a number.
Age is a reminder that our body needs some looking after now. It is an indicator of some high-risk problems that can happen. It also tells people that we know what we know and have spent a lifetime knowing it.
Age isn’t a number of how many wrinkles and how many laugh lines and how many stretch marks and how many crow’s feet. It is a sign of how strong, how brave, how kind and how whole.
Age, whatever may be the popular opinion of it in relation to women, is never a woman’s enemy. It actually works for a woman. It makes her strong, indomitable, comfortable in her skin and kind with her offenders.
Calling age just a number is a disrespect to our experiences through age, our wisdom through age and our accomplishments through age. Ageism is another form of implicitly practiced ableism. Make aging a thing to celebrate, not a thing to layer under creams and emotions. Use that cream to protect your skin from natural skin damage, but not because you’re 30 and that’s what all the 30 year olds are doing. When you use that cream to cover up age it makes me feel that you think age is a disgusting animal growing on your skin.
Do you know what we look like when we repeat this arguably the most stupid line “Age is just a number” over and over? We look scared of age. We look embarrassed of it. And most of all, we look offended by it.