Here’s a post that few people will admit they can relate to. It’s about (one of many) problems I’m experiencing with growing older. No, not that my body hurts in the morning until after coffee, nor that young people find me invisible, nor that I can’t (don’t wanna) bungee-jump, or stay up past midnight.
This problem is about looking too young for my age. That’s right, I’m going to list problems (I guess first-world problems) about people thinking I’m younger than my real age of 61.
My parents were teenagers when I was born, so they’ve always looked young. I didn’t realize that I’d scored on the genetic lottery until my grandmother turned 90. I was in my 30’s.
“Wow, Grandma, you’re 90 now! That sounds so old.”
“Yes, I know,” she replied, “People think I’m in my 70’s!”
Wow, I thought again, how old do you have to be when you think looking 70 is great? Well, 90, I guess!
As my sons turned into teenagers and my husband’s hair got first greyer, then whiter, I noticed I sometimes became annoyed at silly things. Like the jeweller thinking my husband was there to buy his daughter a ring, not one for his wife for their 25th wedding anniversary. Or for the cute comments from the cashier shopping for groceries with her college-aged son implying a cougar-style relationship. Funny at first, then annoying as my own hair remained dark brown, and my thickening middle not quite middle-aged enough. As a new author, (Camp Follower One Army Brat’s Story) I will get admiring comments from readers at signings, although some seem genuinely annoyed that such a “young” person wrote a memoir – live a little longer, honey, before you think you can do that, they think, and say! But still, nothing to be complaining about. Surely, there are worse things in life to be worried about.
With my 80-year-old father’s recent illness and surgery (he’s on the mend now, thank you for asking!) I encountered a more serious complication of looking too young.
Nurses, even doctors, don’t read the charts carefully enough to notice age of the patient. I had to intervene a number of times when they implied that “a young man in his sixties” should surely be improving faster than my father was. He still has dark hair and is very slim, yes, but he’s 80, almost 81, and is progressing as fast as he can! The sympathy would soon return, but again, I got many looks of disbelief and even cross-checking of the chart, as if I was lying.
Again, I’m sure I will get some, “oh, boo-hoo, you look young, wah-wah” comments about this post. I don’t mind. What I mind is that people have, do, and always will, judge a person by their looks. It’s something to remember, and try to resist.