Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lying About my Age

I lie about my age but not in the way most women do. I make myself older. Here's why. I'm 38. If I tell people I'm 29 then they may think I look a bit rough for a 29 year-old. But if I say I'm 40 then they all think I look GREAT! I'd rather people think I look young for my age than old for my age.

I try not to get too caught up in the youth worship. I think every age has it's draw backs and perks and purposes. My 20's were all about accomplishment and identity. My 30's have been about building career and family. I have spent to past 20 yeas just working my ass off trying to create the necessary circumstances for a good life as I define it (satisfying career, good marriage, children, community, culture). In my 40's I hope I can start to enjoy the fruits of all that work. I don't think I am "done" working on career, marriage, family, community and culture but the foundations have been laid. It's time I started to enjoy my life instead of just trying to build my life.

I want my 40's to be about reflection, correction, recreation and fruition. Where have I been? Am I happy with where I am and where I am going? What do I need to change? Am I taking the time to enjoy all that I have? How can I have more fun? I still have a year or so before I'm actually in my 40's but I take a while to come around and change gears.


I'm someone who gets caught up in the details and to-do lists. I run on stress and anxiety. My parents ran on stress and anxiety and while that has certainly gotten me pretty far in life I don't have much fun. I never rest or enjoy life. I just work. I always feel like I am behind where I could be or should be. My house isn't clean enough, my resume doesn't have enough honors, I should gain this or that skill set, I should have had three kids by now. I do love learning, accomplishment and being challenged but I'm always striving; never satisfied. I tell myself that accomplishment = happiness. And while it's certainly satisfying it's not happiness. Perhaps I have been lying to myself. Maybe with increased maturity I can be a little softer. I can be a little kinder to myself and others.

Fun and enjoyment do not come naturally to me. Recreation and begin social actually make me uncomfortable. Funny, out of all my accomplishments in life having fun and enjoying myself may be my biggest challenge.

All you fun and social people out there...how do you do it? What are your secrets? How do you find the time? Is is just natural and can't be learned?

How do you "enjoy" your life. Is it just a state of mind? Am I over thinking this?

And the next time you are asked your age add on a few years and let people tell you how great you look. I promise, it feels nice.

8 comments:

Ophelia said...

Hmmm... I'm going to tell people I'm 32 and see what they say. I'm used to people telling me how young I look, but recently that has stopped :( I *look* 27 now and that bothers me... I don't want to look my age. I want to look 17! Dang...

You know, I don't think about my life in terms of phases... like my 20's being about identity and my 30's about such and such... Maybe I will when I have kids someday? I don't know. Right now my life doesn't have much meaning... it's just putting one foot in front of the next and seeing where that leads... I kind of like that I don't know. :)

Riley said...

I think it's how you are wired. For me, life is about experiences - those you have outside of work with friends or family or while taking a vacation. I view work as a means to other things so I can afford to have a social life and recreation. Maybe if I had a job that I was more passionate about, I would feel differently. I do have regrets that I haven't accomplished more professionally in my 38 years, especially when I get my alumni magazine and see what all these people who graduated after me have already accomplished in such a short time. However, I'm just not that driven when it comes to my career - I'm more driven to plan my next vacation or to figure out what I'm doing this weekend.

areyoukiddingme said...

My "fun and social" friends are very harried, and not all that happy either...because they don't take the time to relax and enjoy. You just have to find balance, I think. For everything you do that's a chore, find a moment to do something that you enjoy, that makes you relax, or that simply doesn't stress you out. For all the fun you have, take some time to do nothing at all.

I have always looked younger than I am, and I don't think that's changing much. But no one thinks I'm in my 20's anymore, so that's kind of sad.

Renovation Girl said...

Perhaps it's just about finding that joy in the lifestyle you are already living. Taking time to savor the accomplishment instead of just adding it to the resume. Am I sounding too much like Oprah? I hope not...I'm not an overly fun person, either, and I do think it's how I was raised. As I get older, I do try to stop a bit more and enjoy the small accomplishments...the kitchen sick is actually empty and clean? Go me! Builder Boy didn't freak out for two whole hours? I must be supermom! I don't think you're overthinking it, though. It's good to be reflective.

Sky said...

I see we're both perfectionist-minded, Type A personalities. Stress is my middle name. :)

Fortunately, I've never had an age complex. When I was 23, my friend Denise would NOT tell me how old she was for months. Finally, under penalty of death if I told, she confided she was 28. I thought, WTF is that about?! I don't feel much differently today. I'll tell anyone I'm 42. Big deal, I'm 42. Hey, the alternative really sucks! :)

Your strategy is spot on, btw!

Pepper said...

I remember when my age (39) sounded old to me. (It still kind of does. Heh.) But I don't feel any different than I did ten years ago. That old line is an old one because it's true.

Well, maybe I'm a little wiser and over myself. Definitely over myself. ;-)

chicklet said...

I never in a million years would've thought about telling them I'm older, but compliments are fun so I just may have to try that...

And to enjoy life, for me there's two big things. One, downtime with the husband. If that means just sitting on the couch watching tv cuddled up together, I'm happiest there cuz there's no phones, no work, no dirty house. Two, running. It forces me to get out, take some me time, see nice things while I run, and clear my head.While I stress a lot, I never stress for the rest of the day after a run - I feel too good it just can't happen.

Seriously? - Erin said...

My DH can't relax either, its always about some project, some event, some class, some duty (at the firehouse), whatever. It drives me crazy. While I run on anxiety a lot (obviously)I can just relax usually I have to find a book that takes my mind somewhere else...

Thanks for your post, I don't mind that it was a book. It really hit home. You are right it is mostly about my body issues, that is what makes BF uncomfortable for me. What is astounding is that I have been seeing a therapist for 11 years and we have yet to make it to those issues since there are so many others...LOL

I think it might be on the agenda for Monday.