Yesterday was my 37th birthday. 37th. And that while I’m always being estimated younger than my true age. Is it my behaviour? My looks? My posture?
When I was young it was a major disadvantage. Being young, you want to be older, bigger, grown up. If only to be admitted to the cool clubs. To be able to buy yourself alcohol. To flirt with older guys without any problems. Because old was cool then. Even mid twenties I still looked like a girl to people. Fortunately, I had my ID to show for my true age: look! I’m over 21!
The prejudices only got worse when I entered motherhood. When my eldest was still a toddler and I was being introduced at my new job I told my fresh colleagues that I was mother. At each introduction blank stares were given and the akward question “Wow… How old is he? And….where is his father” served. After I lost count of the same reply introduction after introduction, I seriously thought about answering it wasn’t that much of a problem as he went to high school anyway.
You wouldn’t believe it, but my days being categorized as a minor still aren’t over. When we visited the Victoria Bug Zoo in Vancouver Canada we had to pay less than I calculated. I checked the receipt and found out I was given the reduced teens for students. And when I dressed up as the Easter bunny for Easter party at my son’s kindergarten, people guessed I was a 6th grader. Even not to long a go the bus driver conspired with my son as I nudged him along with a “Your sister is strict.”
I’ve come to terms to it, knowing that my mom is being estimated ten years younger by default. And that my dad in his sixties even recently was mistaken for an exchange student. It’s probably a Asian genome thing. Asian people are being estimated younger than their age in general, compared to their Causasian age peers. Because of our round faces, the lack of a nose bridge and our small and slender build, Asian adult share more resemblance with a Caucasian child than with an adult.
Too often I’m considered a girl, while all I ever wanted is to be taken seriously. As a woman. As a mother. I’m more than ‘just a girl’, as Gwen Stefani would sing. But I’ve learned to shrug and chuckle at the surprise when people learn my true age. Because I came to realize there are advantages to my Forever Girl status.
Woman or girl? What’s your favorite status?
xoxo – Irene
Note to reader: This is a translation and adaption from an earlier post in Dutch