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Act your age 按照年龄行事

中国日报网 2024-02-06 15:14


Reader question:

Please explain “act his age”, as in this sentence: The judge told him to act his age after avoiding jail sentence for hitting his girlfriend.

My comments:

This guy is immature. That’s what the judge implies here.

Let’s say this guy is 45 years of age, not 15.

Hitting one’s girlfriend at any age is not acceptable, to be sure. But the thing being implied here is the immature part. If you’re 15, young and immature, it’s slightly more understandable.

If, say, the guy is 45 years of age, it becomes really inexcusable. At 45, people are expected to behave like a responsible adult, certainly not someone who uses fists and elbows to make an argument.

To be clear, it’s unacceptable for people of any age to use violence to make a point but at least you’re more forgivable if you’re young and don’t know better.

That’s why the judge told this guy to, in future, act in a way befitting his age.

In other words, act your age.

Act your age!

That’s something we often hear parents say whenever we do something silly and immature. By “act your age”, what parents are saying is “you are too old for that kind of stuff”.

In other words, grow up. Parents want us to behave with maturity. They expect us to behave in a manner appropriate to our age and not to the age of someone much younger.


All right, and oh, conversely, if a young kid acts like an old man, he can also be admonished for not acting his age.

Or, on the other hand, a senior citizen who has the easy gait of an athlete can be commended for not acting his or her age.

It all depends. Age is relative, as they say.

Oh, well, for better or worse, here are media examples of people acting or not acting their age:

1. Christian Lopez had just finished high school when his debut album Onward made him a standout in roots music circles. The album felt uncannily poised and wise beyond its years – an indie-folk throwback of worldly, self-written songs and old-soul vocals with tracks like “Morning Rise” and “The Man I Was Before” presenting powerful ideas of what a mature relationship might look like. Lead single “Will I See You Again” also garnered more than a million Spotify streams on the strength of its infectious hooks and simple-but-insightful lyrics.

Hailing from a Norman Rockwell painting of a town called Martinsburg, West Virginia, Lopez first arrived in Nashville as a tender-footed 18-year-old and recorded Onward with Dave Cobb, the producer who flipped commercial country’s script with Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton. His success added up to critical praise and coveted national performance slots, but looking back, Lopez says those conversations tended to over-hype his youth, making it hard to just be himself.

“I was down here kissing ass like everyone has to,” he says, relaxing at an East Nashville sidewalk cafe sporting a pair of wire-rim shades and a twisted shock of golden hair. “I felt I had to put on this persona of a mature, professional kid with a clear path, but at the end of the day we’re all here on a gamble. I’m 22 now, and I’ve slowly realized that I need to act my age – and sometimes that’s young and stupid.”

Lopez’s follow-up Red Arrow, out September 22nd, finds him aiming higher than ever. No longer wishing his years away, he captures a transitional moment familiar to anyone with a Y chromosome – but he does it in real time, not after the fact. Like Onward, it’s full of old-soul insight and melodies as crisp as Appalachian spring water, but now he sings about being young and stupid from experience, letting the mental tug of war between love, exploration and home leave its mark.

- Christian Lopez on Embracing the ‘Young and Stupid’ on New ‘Red Arrow', September 19, 2017.

2. With age comes wisdom. Yet aside from teenagers looking to get into an over-21 nightclub, many people over 40 seek to look their age or younger. But especially in the workplace, many people enjoy the credibility of looking their age. True, anti-aging products are big business, and according to research, some people appear younger through natural self-presentation. But there is nothing wrong with embracing the benefits of years of valuable experience.

Children are often reminded to act their age when they are misbehaving. And some adults have been advised not to act their age when competing with younger prospects, whether personally or professionally. But why not?

Psychologists Irina Gioaba and Franciska Krings, both with the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, examined how proactive impression management in a job interview setting can impact age discrimination. They recognize the importance of such research in light of the increasingly aging population that exists in most industrialized societies, along with a current workforce that is age-diverse. They sought to study how impression management could be used to debunk common stereotypes of older workers in a job interview setting.

Although they found that older applicants who utilized impression management techniques to contradict frequently held stereotypes of older workers were viewed as more hirable than those who did not use such techniques, discrimination and age bias persisted. Yet many employees have found that instead of trying to look and act younger, they achieve both professional respect and personal satisfaction through capitalizing on their experience and institutional knowledge, using their cultivated expertise to benefit the company and their co-workers.

Part of the charm of the veteran employee is their likability as role models and mentors. Enthusiastically pouring into the younger generation, many older employees are delighted to encourage and inspire younger workers looking for advice or direction. As older adults re-enter the workforce or decide to work longer, especially with more remote working options available, they benefit from longer life experience. Bringing a combination of insight, intellect, and investment in raising up new leaders, veteran employees demonstrate that the well-loved adage that we are “only as old as we feel” may apply both personally and professionally.

- How Older Employees Maximize the Benefit of Wisdom, PsychologyToday.com, March 9, 2023.

3. Anthony Hopkins may be seared into our minds as Hannibal Lector from “The Silence of the Lambs,” but he’s just a cheery, 86-year-old man making wholesome videos on TikTok.

He doesn’t post often, but he’s built a 3.4 million-strong following since making his debut on the platform in May 2020 by participating in Drake’s “Toosie Slide” dance challenge.

Sure, Charlie D’Amelio has 151.7 million TikTok followers, and Khaby Lame has 161.6 million, but do their videos feature a two-time Oscar winner looking silly with chopsticks stuck on his chin or cackling like an evil villain while dressed as Santa Claus?

In a new interview with People, the actor shared that his wife Stella Arroyave and his niece were the ones who encouraged him to post on TikTok – and it seems like his fans and other TikTok users love it.

One of his more recent videos, an eight-second clip of him dancing in his kitchen, has already garnered over 22.6 million views since it was uploaded in November.

“Hey goomba do you like how I dance the rumba…? Sunday vibe,” Hopkins writes in his caption, accompanied by pizza and pasta emojis.

But it’s not all about being goofy in his videos.

In his latest upload from three days ago, Hopkins can be seen strolling in a park while reciting a verse from “The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock,” a poem by T. S. Eliot.

“Taking a stroll on this winter day in London. There’s something beautiful and melancholic about the light here at this time of year,” Hopkins writes in his caption.

Despite the zealous response to his videos, Hopkins admits to People he’s “slightly reluctant” to film those videos whenever he’s asked to.

“I say, ‘Oh no, not again,'” Hopkins said. “But I do something silly because we need humor. We need a laugh in life. For good reason, I guess. Life is tough. The world is a savage place, but life has its beauty.”

He added he tries to adopt a youthful attitude in his life.

I try not to act my age,” Hopkins said. “I’m 86. So I’ve reversed it. I’m 68, really.”

- Anthony Hopkins Says He Tries Not to Act His Age by Making TikToks, WardenTimes.com, January 18, 2024.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣  编辑:丹妮)


Sitting tight? 按兵不动


Significant other? 重要的另一半


Pandora’s Box? 潘多拉魔盒


Identity theft? 身份盗窃


Works like a charm? 非常有效

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