Is Age Really Just a Number?I just celebrated my 34th birthday.

Alice Vuong
3 min readAug 16, 2017



I made it!

I spent it in an escape room with my husband, which only confirmed my suspicion that crime in the city would remain unsolved if ever under my watch, and having dinner with my family. And like with every birthday that passes, I wonder what I’ve accomplished this past year, if I’m really that old or if age really is just a number?

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old” — George Burns

This isn’t going to be a post on entrepreneurs who started in their 40s or 50s or even 60s because as inspiring as those people are, if you’re someone who uses age as a disability, these stories will never inspire you to take action and get out of the “I’m too old” mindset. It’s actually shocking to see how many people believe they’re too old regardless of how old they actually are. It doesn’t matter if they’re 19, 25, or 34.

At 19, you might think you’re too old to switch majors after you’ve already gone through one or 2 years of University or College
At 25, you’ll think it’s too late to switch careers.
And if you think that way when you’re 19 and 25, you’ll definitely believe you’re too old to try anything new by the time you hit 34.

How fair is it to ourselves that we let our age get in the way?

There’s nothing we can do about aging. We can’t control it, but we also can’t let it control us. When did it become acceptable to say “we’re too old”? To let our birthdays dictate our choices and how we feel about ourselves? The difference between 29 and 30 is only one day, one second. How much have we really aged in the time it took for that hand to strike midnight?

If we let time get in the way, we’ll never get anywhere because time will always be against us. That’s why birthdays can be the greatest motivators or the greatest demotivators. We can see it as another year gone by, feel sorry for ourselves and continue to do the same old or see it as another year where we can (at the very least) try. Just try. Try something new, something creative, something that will make you light up so that when the next birthday rolls around, you can say “wow” instead of “ugh”.

You have not reached your prime

Your prime is where you are right now. Don’t be one of those people who believe their prime was 21. The average life expectancy is about 80 years old.

Source: Google and World Bank

Considering that, I still have 50 years to go (*knock on wood*).

Yes, maybe my joints will give out on me…eventually
Maybe I’ll lose my memory…eventually
Maybe I’ll come down with a disease…hopefully not

I can spend my years in this hypothetical space of negativity OR

My joints and health will hold up for the next 50 years
My memory will be as sharp as ever
I can start crafting my life instead of just letting it happen to me

Age is just a number until we decide it isn’t.

Our birthdays allow for reflection and reevaluation of our life, choices, and goals. It helps us reflect on our accomplishments (and if we’re being honest, sometimes lack thereof) and to reevaluate where we want to go. We’re only as old as we make ourselves to be and age is a barrier we put up against ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with getting older. We become wiser and more experienced. It’s easy to use age as an excuse to do less but what if we start using our years as an opportunity to do more?

Not many have the privilege of aging so rather than letting our age define our abilities, let’s use our age to refine our abilities.

Here’s to the chase,




Originally published at on August 16, 2017.



Alice Vuong

Living life imperfectly and as creatively as possible.