Wow. So I’m turning forty in a few days. 40. 40!
But you know, I don’t FEEL forty. And I don’t think I LOOK forty.
Except a few things that have happened over the past few days have really made me question how I am perceived by others.
There is this: A dermatologist gave me a prescription for Retin A to try and combat the oily skin I’ve had my.entire.life. I read in a magazine that there are things you can actually do now to try and reduce the oily shine besides wiping it off your face every half an hour, your carefully applied makeup being wiped away along with it. So I decided to see a dermatologist. And he said Retin A is the best thing out there for this, my shiny face.
But when I dropped my prescription off at the pharmacy, the person behind the counter asked how old I was and then said with a half smile-half sneer on her face, “Well you know, your insurance won’t pay for this. They don’t pay for Retin A for anyone over 35 because it was developed as an acne medication for TEENAGERS but older women started using it when they discovered it helps diminish their wrinkles…” And she nearly harrumphed as she smiled at me in her pharmacy coat with her gray hair up in a bun. I just stood there, nearly dumbfounded, until I finally managed to say, “Well, my doctor prescribed it for me, so I’d like to fill the prescription anyway.”
And then there is this: I was telling some co-workers about my son, and how he had taken our calendar off the refrigerator and written “START” in the box for June 1, and “END” in the box for November 30th. And then he drew a line through all the days in between to show that hurricane season will be occurring during that time. One of the co-workers, whom I don’t know very well, turned to me and said, “What does your son do?”
“What does he DO?” I asked, perplexed. “Well, he goes to Kindergarten.”
“Oh!” the co-worker said. “I thought he was working or studying something in college…”
And then, possibly realizing he might have just insulted me, he backpedaled and said, “Or high school. Do they learn about hurricane season in high school? But, oh, I didn’t know he was in kindergarten. Hmmm…” he trailed off.
And so I wonder, do I LOOK old enough to have a child in high school? Or worse, college?
Technically, yes, I admit it’s possible that I am old enough to have a child in high school or college. I recently connected with some former high school classmates and many of them have children who are teenagers, juniors and seniors in high school, a few with children in college.
That could have been me. If I had had my son when I was 25, well, he’d be 15 now, and studying hurricanes in high school. Maybe. If they study hurricanes in high school. Or, if I had had him when I was 20, he’d be 20 now himself, and studying hurricanes in college in between all the drinking at frat parties and chasing girls around campus. Ahem…
But I didn’t. I was 33 when my son was born. He’ll be seven this fall. He’ll be in first grade, studying hurricanes.
And me? I’ll be trying to cure this oily skin, skin that seems more fitting for a teenager, with Retin A. And I’ll still be 40. Whether I like it, or feel it, or look it or not.