I look that young?!!

I celebrated my 40th birthday several years and treated myself to a trip to Orlando.  I had a great time by myself.

I went out one evening and a (very) young man came over and had small talk with me.  He asked me what I was doing in Orland and I told him that I was celebrating my birthday.  He asked how I old I was and I said 40.  He laughed and asked me the same question.  Well, I gave him the same response but he was not impressed this time.  He said “I am also here celebrating my birthday.  I just turned 27 years old and I know you can’t be older than me.  Now how old are you?”  I was surprised at his response but decided to see what he would say if I gave him a ridiculous answer, so I told him that I had just turned 23.  He said “Well, that’s more like it.  Happy birthday.”  I could not believe that he had believed me, but apparently I looked that young.

I know most people in the west would find that flattering, but where I come from it’s not that flattering.  Why?  Because looking younger means people will not show respect to you.  As result, I had always hated the fact that I look far much younger than I really am.  However, I have now come to terms with this ‘flaw’ in my appearance because nothing I do makes me look my age.  I once changed my clothing to look older, to no avail.  I have even been scolded by strangers back for calling my friends  by their first names without the prefix “ba”, a word that shows respect even if these friends are younger than I.  Why fight something that I can’t change?

I am healthy and life is good, so why bother.



10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lori
    Dec 12, 2016 @ 22:27:29

    This is interesting to learn that your culture is different in the way of age appearance. I can’t help but see how our culture bases perceptions on the physical, while yours is based on something deeper. I’m someone who likes deeper. Thank you for sharing this. I think it’s good that you decided to go with the flow of the Universe. What will be will be.


  2. jono
    Dec 10, 2016 @ 13:55:15

    If someone says that in your own world just pretend you are in the West and take it as a compliment. Everyone deserves respect, no matter their age.


  3. Bill
    Dec 10, 2016 @ 12:24:43

    I’ve always looked younger than my age too. It’s no a problem now, but when I was starting out in my professional career it surely was. Who wanted to hire a lawyer who looked like he should still be in high school?! But now I don’t mind it at all and as I get older I still look old enough not to be mistaken for a child.

    In our culture some people are very offended if you mistake them to be older than they really are. So it’s always best to assume a lower age. 🙂


    • Zambian Lady
      Dec 12, 2016 @ 19:52:12

      I am still learning to appreciate my looks, but back home (or among Zambians here in DC) I subtly make sure they know my age, then they respect me. It may not make sense to other cultures, but it is a big deal where I come from :). I can only imagine your frustration when you were starting out.


  4. cocoaupnorth
    Dec 04, 2016 @ 13:23:00

    Embrace, it’s a great compliment.😀


  5. anotherday2paradise
    Dec 03, 2016 @ 17:06:10

    Well, I think that’s really wonderful. I was charged a child’s fare instead of an adult’s, a good many times when I was in my 20’s, and I had a salesman come to my door and ask to see my mother, when I had already been married for a couple of years. 😀 I think it’s a great compliment when people think you look young for your age.


    • Zambian Lady
      Dec 07, 2016 @ 16:10:06

      I don’t mind looking the way I do here in the west, but not at home because people. Back home, I make sure that people know that I am not as young as I look.


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