At Your Age…





I don’t know when this happened, but some time in the few years after I hit fifty, I began to notice a subtle difference in the way strangers perceived me.

It’s a curious thing, this aging. People make assumptions about you.

Like, at the store: The young produce lady “helped” me just a bit too much. The girl at the doctor’s office who talked to me in a condescending way after I entered my “height and weight,” instead of “weight and height.” Or the twenty-something associate at the new and unfamiliar computer store who assumed I couldn’t find my way around and gave me kindergarten-like instructions to get to the computer paper aisle.

Lately, I’m getting this a lot: “at your age…” from my dentist, my doctor, the radiologist, the folks who desire to profit in the funeral business, the life insurance people, the pharmacist.

And now that I’m not gainfully employed, the assumption is that I’m not doing anything productive. Or that I’m not as capable of thinking or working effectively.


I remember noticing this happen to my older friends. Somehow, it didn’t occur to me that this judgment would strike me one day, too.

I think it has much to do with our culture’s worship of youth: taut skin, supple, lithe bodies, health and vigor.

It’s true. I’m not beautiful. Age has scripted lines around my eyes and dragged my flesh downward.



Here are ten truths about older people I’d love to imprint on younger people’s minds and hearts:

  1. Age is a number, not a diagnosis.
  2. Age confers wisdom, accumulated knowledge, and skills that younger people often lack.
  3. Age makes us slower, but our thinking is often deeper, wider, and higher.
  4. Age spurs us to focus on achieving goals we put on the back burner when we were younger.
  5. Age helps us appreciate the preciousness of life, and to recognize how quickly it passes.
  6. Age gives us perspective on human relationships, particularly challenging ones.
  7. Age teaches us patience.
  8. Age gives us greater appreciation of nature and the arts.
  9. We may not see as well, or hear as well, but we feel pain as acutely as younger people.
  10. We are valuable, not just because of our experience and wisdom, but because our lives are precious in God’s sight.

“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” (Job 12:12 NIV Bible)

7 thoughts on “At Your Age…”

  1. The other day a ginormous dude covered in tats spotted me when I stepped into the tram. He stood up and offered me his seat with a kindly smile. I realized that (a) I’m not eighteen anymore, and (b) that ain’t bad when the ginormous dudes in town are gentlemen who smile kindly at their elders and offer them their seats.

  2. I’ve noticed that younger people often talk to older individuals like they’re cute toddlers. We may need a little bit of physical assistance with lifting things or chores, but we have much to offer the younger generation.

    1. Susan, yes, I’m noticing that, too. i sometimes wish we could post in a big sign on our chests our biographies, with all the jobs and all the interesting things we’ve experienced so that we could quickly connect with new people. That way younger people wouldn’t be so quick to write us off merely based on our age!

  3. Since December, I have been walking with a quad cane. Those with whom I have had to deal with have been very polite and even helpful.If I should happen to run into someone who would treat me as a child, I would smile and remember that they one day will go through the same thing.

  4. Cecelia, you have a great attitude. I remember being eighteen and thinking how glad I was to not have old people’s infirmities, never imagining that just a few years later I would be facing the prospect of chronic pain and disability.

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