Oh the joys of being mistaken for a teenage high school student! If you’re reading this and indeed are a teenage high school student, no offense. But as a soon to be 27 year old, married, college educated and career focused woman, it’s not that fun. It’s actually really annoying and yes, I do get defensive about it. I’ll leave out the rather condescending (and rude) comments I’ve received over the years but for the most part, strangers think I barely graduated high school. People I meet on the plane next to me, servers who check my ID – one time they checked my ID at the movie theater to see the Hangover 2! That was a new low, ha!
Yes, I will look absolutely fantastic (??) when I’m 50 years old. But when you look younger than your age, it doesn’t really help until you’re ACTUALLY 50. If you look your age and wondering why this may be frustrating to me and others who look younger than their age, here’s a couple of pointers:
There’s always a need to prove yourself in the work place. This is a BIG one for me. I take my work very seriously and hate when people question my commitment to it. In past jobs when I’d meet with clients to discuss a project, even though I was qualified, I could tell they were shocked by how “young” their representative was. Some were more subtle than others but some flat out asked me what my experience was and if I’ve done this before. I’d happily – and confidently – list all of my accomplishments and past projects that I’ve done or been a part of. They’d eventually realize that I’m reliable and professional after having worked on the project with them. But the first initial meeting was – and still can be – an “oh boy, I hope they don’t think I’m the intern” moment.
People have some real opinions about your body. And have no filter in explaining why they think you couldn’t possibly be past high school age based on that (…). Their look of when I tell them my actual age is priceless. Oh and when they find out I’m “already” married – that gets them too.
You intentionally don’t wear things that make you look even younger. Recently I’ve shifted my mindset on that (in some respects) but I still try not to wear super girly or super pink stuff. I try to be more edgy with it when I do so I don’t look like a little blonde girl. I’m all about blush right now (hence this), so for this post I paired these Nike sneakers with Madewell ripped jeans, a white Uniqlo top and my Hermes Silk scarf (similar and more affordable here ).
When I was in high school (like for real this time), I used to wear scarves a lot. They lifted any outfit and would make me look more put together. My mom got me this scarf before I moved to America and I fell in love with the design. I loved the pink color (a very controversial choice for a young looking person) and it spoke to me because it had Columbus’ ship on it, sailing towards America. It couldn’t have been a more perfect print for me and it’s one of my prized possessions.
My mom had the same “problem” when she was my age. She’d already had two kids by then and strangers always thought she was the nanny and would wonder were the kids mother was. It’s safe to say that I’ll have those same joyous experiences when it’s my time.
Moral of the story? It’s not a big deal when you look younger than your age. But it also kind of is. I don’t think I’d feel this strongly if I didn’t have strangers be so forward about it. No, I’m not in school anymore. Yes, I am married and thought about it first. No, I’m not an unexperienced, clueless girl walking the streets of the world. Thank you very much. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Have you experienced the same frustrations as I have? Can you relate in other ways?
Photos by SLODAK Photography