At Age 40, I’m Still Getting Carded

Why this fitness instructor thinks people assume she's half her age.

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Most people think I’m literally half my age, and it got me wondering, why do I look so much younger than I am? Is it genetics, self care routines, personality, the way I dress, or all of the above? If so, how can other people look half their age too? Without going under the knife, that is. This year I will be turning 40. Yes, the big 4-0! I never lie about my age because, for one thing, I love seeing the pure shock on peoples faces when I tell them.

When I was 32, I remember answering the front door one day to a man with a clip board, clearly ignoring the No Soliciting, Except for Girl Scout Cookies sign at my door asked, “Hi, is your mom or dad home?” I had only seconds to quickly decide if I correct him with a snarky comment or just go along with his assumption. I decided on the latter and told him they weren’t, pointed to the no soliciting placard, then promptly closed (and locked) the front door. 

When I was 35, I remember taking my 5-year-old son to the park one weekend. We went down the slides, I held him high as he struggled across the monkey bars, we played an easy game of hide and seek, the usual park shenanigans. But then this mom came up to me and said what a good babysitter I was and asked how much I charged an hour and if I was looking for more work. Again, I was slightly taken aback, but this time I chose honesty. I laughed and told her that I was his mother, but thank you for the kind words. She looked suddenly embarrassed, thinking I then must have had him as a teenager, and I don’t know why, but I felt the need to tell her I had him when I was 30. She was speechless because she thought I was in high school.

My genetics, the things I was born with and can not change, I think are a big initial part of the age assumption. Being vertically challenged (aka; short, I’m 5’2″) and having a naturally small chest automatically make me appear younger at first glance. Most 12 year old girls today are taller than me, after all, and wear a bigger bra size… Eeek! 

But then there are the necessary self care practices to prevent the effects of aging that can’t be hidden once up close and personal. Hair and skin for example. I frequently get my hair colored to cover up any new grays creeping in, that’s obviously a major giveaway. Due to acne, I began to get facials on a regular basis at a pretty early age, but it was also preventing wrinkles in the process, a win-win! I never smoked cigarettes, I’ve always been an avid gym-goer, I drink more water per day than the recommendation, I always take my vitamins, and I apply lotion at least 5 times a day. I’m definately not opposed to injectables that are done in moderation. But too much of anything is probably a bad idea and will give you the opposite look you’re going for! 

I may, or may not, have what they call “Peter Pan Syndrome”. My personality is one that still can’t stop herself from doing cartwheels in an open grassy field, hula hooping any chance I get, or rolling down a big hill like I’m a log. No really, it happened during the great quarantine of 2020. Then comes my casual wardrobe. I was rocking “athleisure” before it was even officially a thing. I own 3 months worth of fun leggings, and then like 2 pairs of jeans. My makeup and jewelry is simple and understated, a few brightly colored beaded bracelets, my apple watch, and possibly my wedding rings, if I’m feeling fancy! 

So if you combine my petite genes, self-care anti-aging practices, high energy personality, and casual appearance, you can see why strangers might think that I’m literally half my age.

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