People often say to me, "You don’t look your age." I don't quite know how to react—smile or smirk. I am sure they mean well and want to make me feel good, but somehow, there's a disconnect somewhere.
I feel my age. Every single year of it. I feel it in my bones, in my muscles, in my eyes, in my ears, in my gums, on my scalp and on my skin—in every place of me.
Does that mean my body parts have aged before my looks?
Sheila Nevins (aged 78), an American television producer and the President of HBO Documentary Films, calls this "compliment" to women of a certain age as fairy tale. In fact, she wrote a satirical and hilarious book about women in this late life stage. She titled it: "You Don't Look Your Age and Other Fairy Tales."
When (or if) I get to be her age and still writing or training young writers in workshops and seminars, I will probably be hearing more "You don't look your age."
Our late househelp Manang Vi, whose oral bluntness was unrivaled, had doused my delight, "When people say that to you, they're wrong."
I replied, "You mean, they're lying?"
She said, "No. They just don't know what they're saying."
God bless her soul.
There's a statement that I wish people would say instead, "You're aging with grace." But there’s a stigma attached to the word "aging." You don't dare speak it to other people's lined face, unless you are a physician specializing in geriatrics.
The word grace does not come naturally in conversations, either—unless you are in Sunday school or a prayer meeting.
But since “You don’t look your age” seems to be the “in” thing to say to people whose looks have obviously transformed from a fresh plum to a dried prune through the years, I should be grateful.
Whatever changes my body (or mind) has gone and will go through, the only One that matters remains unchanged.
"I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you." I Isaiah 46:4 (NLT)