There’s nothing like age to make you humble. I’m turning a nice, round number later this year — let’s just say I’m アラフォー (arafō, around 40) and leave it at that — and perhaps because of that, the phrase いい歳 (ii toshi) has been rattling around in my mind.

If you take いい歳 too literally, you end up with an English term like “good age.” But a more accurate translation would be “decent age” or “sensible age,” at least in a vacuum without any context.

However, language is insidious. While I was sitting here chuckling at myself for getting “pretty old,” I didn’t realize until I looked into the phrase further that it can actually have quite detrimental effects on people, depending on how it’s used.