Showing Your Age

8 02 2009

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So I’ve got this complex about my age. It started back in the 7th grade when me and some friends went to the grocery store. All of my friends developed way before I did so once we all became interested in boys there would always be these instances where they would be mistaken for high schoolers and not me. So as each of my friends went through the check out line, the goofy little teenage boy (who, at the time, some of us thought was kinda cute), checked each one of us out as well. “How old are you? 16?” he would ask one of the girls as they would giggle. “How old are you? 15” he asked the next one. So then I go through the line. “How old are you? 9?” he asks me with a stupid laugh. I’ll never forget that day. It was very embarrassing because truth be told, I was actually the oldest out of all of them.

And the pattern has continued ever since. I always know that when a woman calls me “honey” or “sweetie” that they see me as just another college student. Or when people say things like "I'm sure that was before your time," in most cases they don't even know what my "time" was to even make such a statement. Sometimes it's hard being a college professor because there's always somebody who mistakes me for a student. Most of my students are pretty used to me by now and know that I'm old. But the admissions reps and administrative people don't get it. And it pisses me off when people suggest that it’s because of the way I dress. That argument would hold water if it only happened when I’m in my everyday street wear. But last week I had on business attire and makeup and one of the registrars told me (as I was walking to the faculty parking lot, mind you) that I needed to come see her to early register for Quarter 2.

Sometimes it gets pretty annoying. It’s gotten to the point where I am counting every gray hair and every wrinkle, waiting for them to come in fully. Which brings me to the point of this post.

I can’t understand our society’s fear of aging. Whenever you talk to people about getting older they start talking gloom and doom. They don’t want to tell people their age. They’ve got to find the latest cream or tonic to reverse the aging process. Or better yet, there’s botox. I just read an article that Jennifer Aniston cried when she realized she had a gray hair. Whenever I tell people about my age complex they always tell me that I’ll appreciate my youthful looks when I get older. While that may be true, I really look forward to going gray. I truly think gray is beautiful. There was actually a time when I thought about dying my hair gray.

While I don’t so much look forward to the aches and pains usually associated with getting older, I have a lot of admiration and respect for “seasoned” adults. That was very PC of me, wasn’t it? But it’s a very appropriate term. Seasoned adults have wisdom that no one else has. They have experiences that no one else has. Even though we often don’t want to hear it, they often have the best advice because they’ve lived it.

Every now and then I try to do things to make me look older, but then I realize that I just have a young face. I can’t help it. So I might as well just accept it. It makes no sense to be dress uncomfortably just to make other people see me a certain way. It’s kinda become a little game to me because it’s priceless to see the look of shock on people's face when I tell them after a long conversation that I graduated from grad school almost 10 years ago.

Along the same lines, I can’t understand why people feel a need to dye their hair or get facelifts when they get older in order to make themselves look younger. It’s not like people can’t tell the difference. I have an aunt who is over 80 years old and has a head full of jet black hair. It’s pretty ridiculous if you ask me. You’ve earned every gray hair, why not flaunt it? So many people don’t even live long enough to be “seasoned adults.” Shouldn’t it be considered a blessing to be old?

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Yesterday I attended a banquet for my grandmother called Women of Wisdom, where they honored the senior women from several local churches in the community. My grandmother is 93 years old. As she walked down the aisle with her full head of gray hair, she walked with honor and I saw how beautiful she is. Everybody marveled at how good she looked and I could hear people saying that she doesn’t look 93. So I guess I get it honest. But I’m so glad she has the guts to be who she is, gray hair, wrinkles and all.  If the Bible says that wisdom is the principle thing, why would you hide all evidence of your wisdom away?

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4 responses

9 02 2009
grimwomyn

I told my daughter to refer to my gray hair as my goddess hair. I tried to dye it but my hair started falling out– I’d rather be gray than bald.
-p

9 02 2009
Avril

Haha!! I like that–goddess hair. 🙂

9 02 2009
sis

Hooray for wisdom!!

9 02 2009
sis

Daddy said you have 2 aunts with jet black hair…Go figure!!

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