‘Age:’ Boon or a Barrier (depending upon ‘who’s asking‘)


Joan Rivers  frequently makes fun of herself.  She should; she targets others all the time, demeaning them (with a heavy emphasis on ‘mean’).  In the process, she derides her own plastic surgery saying she’s had more tucks and lifts than a crinoline petticoat.

***One of my favorite cards, this one’s verse is by Maggie Kuhn, while the card itself is from Laughing Head, copyright Deidre Scherer 
This woman on the card would be revered in many societies of the world for her age and life experince (aka ‘wisdom’); unfortunately, not so in the United States and other westernized nations that seem obsessed with a “Culture of Youth.”


I just never get these women who apologize for their age, as in “Oh, I’m not going to tell you my real age“… and they look demurely away. Why? I’m thrilled to be 66! In fact, I’ve been proclaiming my age for the past many years.

Whenever someone in an official capacity asks me in hushed tones: “We need to know your age (to see if you qualify for a program or a special discount,) I say: “No problem…I‘m 66.”

I don’t lower my voice or soft-pedal it.

You see, the way I look at it is: I earned each and every one of these years and I’m proud to be where I am in life.

After all, I never take being ‘above-ground’ for granted. There was that bout with breast cancer some 10 years back that almost had me “Out of here.” It simply didn’t look good. Doctors diagnosed breast cancer requiring mastectomy.

But thanks to modern science and wonderful doctors, I’m alive and well, a decade following diagnosis.

But I know “Touting one’s age” isn‘t easy for all. Recently an actress sued a company for including her age in its data base released for public consumption. She apparently had good reason. As a a performer, she knew: Once a woman reaches 40, she’s less in demand for glamour roles. Her age becomes an impediment.

Who’s defied that general principle? Helen Mirren. But she’s the exception (and she appears on magazine covers just for that reason.)


In Asian and Native-American societies, an older person is afforded respect for his/her life experiences (aka “age“). These folks are considered repositories of useful information, a valuable reference for the young.  In fact, the younger generation in Japan embraces their role as caretaker of their elders. They consider it an honor.

And the wrinkles and lines that come with age? They’re considered badges of honor, sort of like the rings in the circumference of the tree that denote its age (each ring signifies a year of growth).

They’re the outward sign of a life fully-lived: No one attempts to eradicate them.

But in America, we Botox (**note the cautions on this website) them away at every opportunity, preferring a smooth young face reflecting youth (and lack of worry) in our zeal to prettify everything. In other words, we want bland and smooth, as we deny the value of complexity.

So, my question:  Is the Asian world outstripping us in the category of human relations, as well as technology, math, and science? Should we give the young coursework in the real ‘humanities’? Tell us your thoughts…


About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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