Too Young, Too Old: When age imposes restrictions

Too Young, Too Old: When age imposes restrictions

Hiding your age is not always a symptom of the fear of aging. Sometimes it expresses a refusal to allow oneself to be tied to an age category, with all the social consequences that follow.

The importance attached to age has become relevant relatively recently. A few generations ago, this data was little or no use. At present, the two urgent questions that we are asked on closer acquaintance are invariably related to our age and our professional activities.

The politeness that once forbade men from asking women their age has been forgotten, and critics despise anyone who refuses to disclose it. Some consider it a rejection of aging, others-excessive coquetry, and others-a sign of narcissistic fragility.

In an article entitled ” at what age are we old?» sociologist Bernard Ennuyer reminds us that age is a social construction, are designed for classification and categorization of people.

This categorization begins in early childhood. A child is judged “sooner or later” in relation to his age. If he sucks his thumb, if he can’t talk or walk after a certain age, a child psychiatrist should be visited. It doesn’t matter that Einstein was misdiagnosed as stupid, because he didn’t know how to speak until he was 4 years old. In addition to behavior, age also dictates the emotions that a child has a right to feel. For example: “Don’t cry, you’re not little anymore.”

At your age…

When children come of age, things don’t get better. On the contrary, the list of things that are “no longer our age” grows with every birthday. Age classifications always come down to setting limits and working out an order that everyone should follow, in which everyone should stand in their place. So for women, after a certain age, clothes that are too short, long hair, or bikinis on the beach are considered bad taste.

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If you are thirty years old and have no children, you may hear: “Hurry up, the biological clock is ticking.”

As for the elderly, they also did not escape the procession of received ideas. “Very early in our societies, the image of a curved age scale was formed with an apogee of about 40 or 50 years, preceding an irreparable and final decline to a devalued old age,” notes sociologist Jean Foucard.

This scheme includes many options and exceptions, but it has a deep and lasting impact on the psychology of older people, and exacerbates the deterioration of their social status. Some give up skiing and Cycling at the age of sixty on the grounds that ” femoral neck fractures occur in most cases after the age of 60.”

Others reject the project because they are “old enough to take risks and challenge themselves.”

Who says you can’t run a marathon at 92 and after beating cancer, like American Harriet Thompson?

The sages are right when they say that there are two kinds of prisons in life: the physical ones, which lock us up behind bars, and the mental ones, which lock us up behind our limiting beliefs. Because the age that does not allow you to do anything is not registered anywhere, except in our heads.

Some read this small text online: “the founder of Facebook started his project at 19, the founders of Whatsapp and Wikipedia at 35, the founder of Intel at 41, the founder of Coca-Cola at 55, the founder of KFC at 65.” moral: in life there is no age to succeed, and there are no failures, there is only oblivion.

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Denial of aging

To these examples is added the story of Francis Crick, one of the discoverers of DNA, who died at the age of 88, in the most fruitful phase of his scientific career. And also 95-year-old Klaus Obermeyer, who refuses to identify with the idea of a nonagenarian society. This German swims 1.6 km every day and does daily bodybuilding, skiing and Aikido. “Being old doesn’t excuse laziness,” he says. It is far from the image of a coughing and drooling “old man” who has lost his muscles, hearing, sight, memory, taste of food and life.

In this regard, it is interesting to note that the age when a person was considered old has constantly changed over the centuries. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in Western thought, a person was considered” old ” at 40 years of age. In the 19th century, this limit was moved to 50 years. Today, according to several studies, people believe that old age begins at the age of 69, if you take the arithmetic mean of answers.

Everyone gets old at different times

Scientists also distinguish between two types of aging. The first, chronological, is related to the age of a person, and the second, biological, is related to the aging of his cells.

Aging manifests itself differently from one person to another. Some people get gray hair and wrinkles at 25, others at 45. Therefore, chronology does not make much sense for age estimation.

The biological age characteristic of each person is calculated according to a variety of criteria. The environment and eating habits obviously play a role. Therefore, a 30-year-old smoker may have lungs or skin like a 50-year-old person.

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But a healthy person who effectively protects themselves from oxidative stress and its damage can’t always fight their genes. For example, the length of telomeres, small DNA structures at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells divide and age, varies from person to person. A person born with short telomeres may look biologically older and age faster.

In the end, the most relevant answer to the question “How old are you?” should be: “what age are you referring to? Biological, social, or chronological? And if this is the last one, what calendar is it? Gregorian, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Hebrew, Ethiopian?”

Isadora Duncan’s age varied according to circumstances. The American dancer refused to allow her achievements to be measured by the number of times the Earth had completed a complete revolution around the Sun since her birth, and so spent her life losing her passport.

Hints that let you guess your age

Several hints allow you to guess the age of a person. From the Chinese astrological sign, musical preferences and cultural references. If you, for example, were a fan Of it’s My Life, a song by Dr. Alban, in your youth, there is a high probability that you were born in the 1980s.

As for social networks, they also say a lot about our age: 71% of Snapchat users are under 25 years old. Those on Pinterest are between 25 and 34 years old. The audience of Vkontatke is 18-35 years old, Odnoklassniki is 34-60 years old.