I was giving a speech the other day and somehow summoned the term “age-fluid” to describe a world in which our age or fear of aging does not define us. Maybe we are all the ages we’ve ever been.
People seemed to resonate with my newfound term, which makes sense in our age of gender fluidity. After leaving the stage, I did a quick Google search. I found “age-fluid” nowhere to be found in a dictionary, except in the hipster URL Urban Dictionary, which had this definition: “something that justifies pedophilia.”
Wow, that was SO not what I meant when I used the term on stage. Then, I found all these ultra-conservative bloggers using the term to parody gender fluidity, as in, “if we can change our gender, why can’t we change our age?” I started to sour on the term.
But, then, like a Whack-a-Mole game at the carnival, “age-fluid” popped up again when I was leading a recent workshop, and the compadres gravitated to it. So, in that spirit, I decided to give the word a makeover, including a new definition, along with a reputation to live up to. Here goes:
Definition: Age-fluid (adjective)
Denoting or relating to a person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed age or being part of a specific generation.
Someone “age-fluid” might have been called “ageless” in the past. However, that definition (“never looking old or appearing to grow old”) doesn’t fit this context. Today’s age-fluid individual is perfectly content to be both younger and older than their chronological age. They look at ages (or stages of life) as dress-up identities that they can don like a costume or unrobe like a bathing beauty.
What do you think?