Looking Young

I have a confession to make: I am tired of people telling me that I look so young. I know, I know, some people spend thousands of dollars to get face lifts to look younger. But every time someone says “oh, you look so much younger,” I crinch. People don’t believe me that I have a teenage son. People treat me like a 20-something. Oh, you say, you’d love to look this young! Believe me, please, there’s a dark side to that: if you look young, you’re treated as if you’re young. I often feel like people don’t take me serious. People at work seem to discount that I have 10 years of work experience because to them, I look like I’ve just finished college. It is very frustrating! I blamed myself for this for a long time. After all, I sometimes don’t act my age either because I refuse to take life too serious.

And then I read about studies that showed that “adults who have baby-faced features [...] tend to be seen as warm, kind, naive, weak, honest, and submissive” (Social Psychology, p. 97-8). I realized that there might be something going on here – maybe this wasn’t just my imagination. There might be some genetic programming going on. Or maybe, I just don’t act my age… Clearly, though, there is some stereotyping going on. Of course, most of the stereotyping goes the other way since our culture adores youth. Yet, when it comes to wisdom, age still counts for something. I don’t claim to be exceptionally wise but I do think I know a bit more about life than I did in my 20s.

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