“So what year is this?” she asked.
“Forty-three.” I really confused her. She thought I was going to turn 39. Technically, I am. But I have always lived in a world where lying about your age wasn’t an occasional little lie, it was to be expected.
My mother would fib about her age so much, that as a young child someone asked me how old she was and I responded with “40.” She was mortified. But how was I suppose to know her real age, every year her birthday cake had a question mark candle on top. To my young eyes she looked about 40. (Note: she was not even close to forty, hence her dismay.)
I started my career at a very young age, and quickly learned not to bring up my age.
At my first “mandatory fun time” happy hour, I got asked why I wasn’t drinking. I could have said I’m on antibiotics … I have to run a marathon tomorrow … I’m working the steps … It’s against my religion … I’m pregnant. Anything would have been better than my truthful response: “I’m not of age.” The rest of the “happy hour” was tipsy adults coming up with ways to pick on me for my age.
So like my mother, I also started lying about my age. Except, I was adding years to the count.
As a kid you want to be older then there is a pivot. You find yourself older, but want to seem younger.
Not me! I think I was born an old soul. I’ve always had to stand on my tippy toes to age up. Now, I am relishing my chronological age catching up to my mental age. Welcome to 40ish! I am wrapping myself in a warm blanket of middle age. I enjoy discussing doctor’s visits and new ailments that pop up and are here to stay. In fact, any time I catch up with a friend at least 10 minutes has to be devoted to such details.
Recently, I started adding more years to my age as a test. I would get carded by a young man who, in an alternate universe, could be my son. “Look at me at 47 and still getting carded.” It was a test to see if they could do the math or even look at the DOB. But I think when you are 19, everyone else is just ancient. 37, 43, 56, it all falls under the category of “ma’am.”
I have even managed to push my age to senior citizen status. In a recent outing with my mommy friends, I asked the young man selling movie tickets if they had senior discounts. I got $3 off my ticket! My friends tried hard to not burst into crazy laughter, so as to not foil my ruse.
Life does get better after middle age! There are discounts at the end!
I am taking a tip from the 30 Rock character Jenna Maroney who pretends to be 56 “in hopes of escaping the curse of the middle-aged actress.” She looks good for 56.
I get compliments anytime I say I’m 45. “You look good.” So why not lie about my age. And if you say you’re 55, you get $3 off at Harkins Theaters.