Mar 27, 2006

The woman at the counter looked at my age, registered a certain amount of surprise and muttered. “You are aging well”
When I registered a certain amount of surprise in response she elaborated:”…it’s a compliment.”
But I didn’t know how to feel about that.
I mean, I hear a similar sentiment about one out of the five times I get carded. “Oh, you look younger” and “Huh, would have guessed you are a bit younger than that.”
And yes, this is a good thing, and yes, I understand it’s a compliment.
But still. Something about that phrasing of the sentiment startled me.
You are aging well.
A guy at the liquor store once said it in a way that similarly freaked me out “whoa! I didn’t think you were nearly that old!”
Now see what I mean?
I understand that they are getting at. I look, to many, younger than my age.
But, I don’t really care if I walk around looking young.
And here is the thing, the crux of the issue: I also walk around feeling young. Or rather I walk around feeling like me. An adult in the prime of her life. It never dawns on me to relate the words OLD and me, in the same sentence, unless I am around those significantly younger than me. In fact, a bus full of high school students can make me feel ancient. But, It doesn’t dawn on me that I am aging well, because it doesn’t dawn on me that I am aging at all. The very notion gives me the willies.
I am passing time. I am developing. I am growing. I am proud of this. It doesn’t make me feel old or young or mature or immature. It just makes me feel like I am getting something out of my time. And something about the words aging and old is so much more loaded with responsibilities unfulfilled and laden with wrinkly connotations of time lost to the past. It makes me think of landmarks I have passed and benchmarks I may or may not have met.
Well, like I said, it gives me the willies. And it makes me a little indignant.
I feel proud of who I am and where I am at and it makes me a little sad that pride, instead, should be found in resembling the echoes of my youth, or pursuing a greener and more innocent outside face to the world.
Hey, here is the thing: I am 32. And every year has changed me. I mean, really.
What a difference a day makes.
And I would wear that age as proudly as I wore 21 and beg someone to judge my development based on where I am at, not how long it took me to get here.

On the other hand, if you want to tell me I look GOOD. Well, that’s another story.


Bjetsey said...

I get this too. Recently my doctor thought I was at least 3 years younger. I don't take it to mean much, these people see me one day of my life or for a few months. How do they know if I'm "aging well"?

cordelia said...

You look good, Daff.

Anonymous said...

Aging well is a compliment. It means you look your age AND you look good. Sometimes I look at someone and see the older version of them and think, that's going to be a gorgeous eighty year old. I'm jealous.