By Elizabeth Russell
View the first post in this two-part series.The conversation about age begins when we are born and continues throughout life. It may be written or spoken. It may come from our mothers (who heard it from their mothers) or it may come from people who have studied other people in order to make profound pronouncements. Whatever the source, it is all conversation. And labels are one element of the conversation—labels we give to everything, labels that carry weight and are endowed, over the years, with meaning such as young, old, immature, stodgy, etc.
Those who engage in the conversation don’t make it
up. It is a given, running through all the channels—parents, peers,
school, television, advertising, public and private institutions. From
this conversation we learn there are things we can do at five that we
can’t do when we are seven, responsibilities we have at 15 that we
don’t have at 10, privileges we acquire at 21 we don’t have when we are