What’s My Age Again?

For years, I’ve always looked younger than my age. I suppose at 12 I may have looked twelve, but after that, I was always mistaken for a younger version of myself. Once, around 27, a local campaigning politician came to the door of my parents’ house and asked for my mother or father. I replied they were out, and she asked me if I was old enough to vote. I stopped getting carded buying alcohol around 28, but still get carded at bars. In Italy, at age 26, a nice old lady asked me if I was old enough to drink wine with dinner. Yet, this is a country where pre-teens sip vino with the Sunday pasto. Last week, during a massage, the masseuse asked if I was 26, because he was “good at guessing ages.” I told him I’m turning 32 this year, and he was surprised.

Through the 18-21 ages, it was terrible to be confused with a young age. During the 20’s it was just a funny little thing that my face still appeared babyish. But now that I’m in my 30’s I appreciate it very much that I remain youthful. The question I asked myself today was, will I get upset when someone actually guesses my correct age? Is it possible that I will continue to look five years younger at each consecutive age, or at some point will the marathon of life catch up to me with a properly distinguished exterior? Since I’m used to getting the younger guesses, it would certainly hit me harder, but I am preparing for that day, and the terrible things I will say to that unlucky person.

Can the positive thinking exercises and mantras people use to keep a shining interior also be used for the surface? If you’re “only as old as you feel” is it additionally possible you’re only as old as you appear? Did the guys in high school with full beards feel like they were 25 and working entry-level jobs some days? Did the girls with fully developed bodies at age 14 feel like they were getting harassed at the office due to their precocious hormones? It’s funny though, in those very young days, I used to wonder when I would grow hair on my body. Now that it’s here, I spend that time shaving it off.