Something unpleasant keeps happening to me, more than once. In fact, it’s happened four times now.
I keep being mistaken for someone older than I really am. And by older, I don’t mean a little bit older – I keep being mistaken for someone retirement aged, 70+ years old.
Look, I know the reality of my situation visually, I’ve lost and regained and lost and regained weight so many times that parts of my body do look like they’ve been through a war (they kind of have). And I’m not young, I’m 43. I’m not old either, I’m an age in-betweenie. I always thought I looked okay though, at least that my face looked okay.
I don’t want these mistaken identity situations to hurt me, but they do. They really, really do.
The first time was at my niece’s senior photo shoot for college. She was in her early 20’s at the time. She and my sister were working with a great photographer and since the site they were shooting at was close to my house I walked over to watch. As I walked up, the photographer smiled at me and said, “you must be Grammy.”
Grammy is what my niece calls my mom. He thought I was my niece’s grandmother.
I quickly did the math in my head. If he thought I was my older sister’s mom and my sister is in her late 40’s, then this guy was thinking I was about 70 years old. So I was apparently looking about thirty years older than I really am.
The second incident involved a nice lady at my church inquiring as to whether my friend who I’d brought to church that day was my son. My friend is 52 years old. Again, quickly doing the math, this means she thought I was at least 72 years old. Not to mention it would take a truly miraculous feat of time travel for me to be the mother of someone a decade older than myself.
The third time was when my husband and I were out celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and my husband mentioned this to the staff as we were seated. Our waiter came bouncing up to us and exclaimed, “I heard you’re celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary – congrats!”
So… Ted and I got married when he was 9 and I was negative 8 years old, apparently.
Or, he mistook us for a retirement aged couple, both at least 70 years of age.
And most recently I was having breakfast with a friend who was visiting from out of town. The young busboy, who knows my husband and I from seeing us every weekend, came over and asked us if my friend was my daughter. She’s 40, and once again – I’m 43.
Yes, it hurts. If it only happened once it would be one thing, but it keeps happening, over, and over, and over again. I know I need to accept that aging is inevitable, and I do, I just wasn’t quite expecting to have to accept looking retirement aged while still in my early 40’s.