There are days that I stop and wonder … how old do I look? I wonder if my outside image projects my inside image. I feel youthful, but youthful with a touch of wisdom. Fine. Maybe that’s really a huge blob of wisdom.
But still, I wonder if I look close to how I feel.
It’s obvious to me that I feel younger than I look. But really … how old do I look?
I got my answer. Several times. I got it today. And yesterday. And a few days ago, too.
I recently stopped at the grocery store to stock up on some things I needed. Honestly, you would have thought I had filled my cart with buttermilk, hard candies, and Ben-Gay from the look I got from the 17–27 (whatever, they all look young to me!) year old cashier. She called me Hon.
A rather nice young man helped me by wheeling my groceries out to my car and we loaded them into the trunk. I commented on a scratch on the bumper that wasn’t there when I went inside the store 20 minutes earlier. I was still griping about the scratch when he asked me how long I’d had the car.
“Four years,” I said.
“Probably gonna be your last car, huh?” he answered.
I was shocked and more than just a little ticked. “No,” I said. “ I expect to buy at least 2 more cars before I die. Don’t let this gray hair fool ya, kid.”
He scampered away with the grocery cart before I could say any more. Or before I could say anything more within his earshot. What an impudent little bugger.
Anyway, now I’m wondering … just how old DO I look?
I guess I look pretty dadgum old. At least I do to young people. And probably some old people, too.
Yesterday the carhop at Sonic called me Sweetie when she delivered me my banana milkshake. The young woman behind the drive-through window at McDonald’s called me Sugar when she handed me the ice cream cone I ordered for breakfast this morning.
Maybe I should just stop eating so much ice cream.
Gee whiz … how old do I look?
You know? I don’t know. I really don’t. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see an old woman. Well, sometimes I do. It depends on the day. But most of the time I see someone I kind of like. I don’t notice the wrinkles and loose skin under my chin unless I put on my glasses or take a close-up gaze in the magnified make-up mirror.
A couple of weeks ago, I stopped at a garage sale. I didn’t want to buy anything. I just wanted to look at the lady’s flower garden, so I pretended I was interested in the junk she had set out in her front yard. We struck up a conversation and eventually she quizzed me about how old I am. When I told her that I’m 58, a satisfied look settled across her face.
“You’re 10 years younger than me,” she purred.
She obviously thought I looked older. She also quite obviously over-estimated how young she looks. I actually estimated her age at 12 years older than me. Oh, well. Whatever makes her happy.
Good grief. HOW OLD DO I LOOK?
Do these people see something I don’t see?
Apparently they do. And it’s probably the wrinkles, loose skin, and gray hair that gives my age away. Maybe they should just take off their glasses. That works for me!
You can find Peggy writing at PeggyBrowning.com. This article was originally featured there.