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Help me, I'm an aging reporter! - Curt Yeomans

Well, yet another birthday will be upon me this weekend, and I have somewhat mixed feelings about it.

I will be 31. That's nine years shy of being over the hill.

Even so, I still don't know why so many people are intimidated by age, and try to pretend that they are younger than they really are.

In all reality, birthdays don't bother me. The fact that I'm one year older doesn't make me upset. Eh, it's just a number. A year ago, I was 29, about to hit 30. A year from now, I'll be approaching 32.

I may be getting older, but I am still a long way from being decrepit. True, the days when I was 23, and getting confused for a 16-year-old, are long gone. But I have aged well.

I'm still somewhat healthy, and I'll continue to be healthy for some time (if I have anything to say about it!).

You really can't attach an appropriate behavior to a specific age, in my opinion. At 25, you're pretty much the person you're going to be for the rest of your life, personality and mindset and all that other jazz.

If anything, your behavior may change as you get older, because your body can't do certain things anymore, and not because you had some sudden epiphany at 40 about the way things should be.

Take acting in the days of William Shakespeare as an example. Boys would play women's roles in plays until they hit manhood.

Then, they would play male roles. It wasn't because they reached an age where it was expected that they would play male roles, but rather because they hit puberty and their voices dropped through the floor - and because women acting in plays was really frowned upon back then.

But, think about it. I mean, how romantic would "Romeo and Juliet" be, if Juliet said "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" like she was Barry White singing "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby?"

Going beyond how people are expected to act at certain ages, there is the issue of people refusing to let other people know what their age is, in the first place. It is often said that you should not ask a woman how old she is, because she may not want people to know.

I just don't get this. It's not like a woman in her 50's can pass herself off as a 20-something. It's just sad to see someone say, "I'm 29!" when you look at their sagging body, and think, "Oh gurl, please, you ain't foolin' anyone. We all know you haven't been 29 in at least 30 years."

The other issue at play is that old attitude of "respect your elders." You can't respect them if they won't let you know that they are your elders. It's sort of a broken concept, if you catch my drift.

In summary, I think people should give up on trying to play down their age. There are some people in this world, who, when you ask them their age, will gladly give up the secret. I'm talking about the old timers, who are in their 70's, 80's and 90's.

I know they gladly give up the age, because I've interviewed several of them. And what is their response when I ask why they are so eager to share their age with me?

"Hell, I'm proud to let people know I have lived this long," is generally what they say in response.

I say we should all take that attitude.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.