Too young, too old


I turn 36 years old in 5 months.

I was told that I would not qualify for a particular academic programme because I was too old.
I was told that I do not look like a consultant because I was too young.
I was told I could not go run around in puddles because I was too old.
I was told that I lack experience because I was too young.
I was told I should not play with bears because I was too old. (Fxxk that!)
I was told I could not charge as much or facilitate workshops with senior leaders because I was too young.

So, where do I stand?

There is more than just me who turns 36 years old in April 2017. Does this number really matter? It baffles me why parents & teachers told me I should not tell people my age because I was a girl. It perplexes me why older people blush at their ages, or refuse to be opened about them. What is the rationale? What does this little number symbolize? Why is age such an embarrassing issue?

We limit ourselves to “age-appropriate” activities – and I accept that some activities are better left for “adults” – but in terms of being playful, being imaginative, and being courageous to be who one is, there are no limits. Similarly, I would not dismiss a 2-year-old’s point of view that chess pieces could be food for a toy rabbit. Why could they not be?



I will never be able to have more experience in terms of length of time on earth, nor will I be able to reduce it. But my length of time on earth does not equate to the life experience I have had. Nor does that length of time discount or define my intellect, my acute awareness, or intuitions — I could very well be as capable as any 50-year-old PhD who struts around with white hair out his nose.

Many use my age to attack, to defend against their envy towards me, to make excuses for not paying me, to try to cut me short, or to rationalize my differences from them. This age comment used to deflate me, and I would admit defeat. I wondered if botox could give me some grey hair and a few lines of wrinkles – that would surely make me more credible for work!

But I am who I am. I am however old I am. And if you do not like it, that is your problem.

Let no one tell you that you are too old, or too young…

8 Responses

  1. xina says:

    well said noch noch
    it’s a thing that i got since day 1 started working till now 11 years later

  2. Zara says:

    Well said!

  3. Jim says:

    Happy Birthday Noch. Don’t ever let the bastards get you down.

about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.