because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Coming Clean About My Age

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My birthday is coming up, y’all.

Yup, this summer girl was born in November.

You know what that means.

My parents got busy around Valentine’s Day.

It means this year I turn 50.

Whaaat?

Well, kind of.

Lucy watches Little Ricky's birthday party fro...
Lucy watches Little Ricky’s birthday party from the window ledge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lucille Ball once said:

“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”

How much do I Love Lucy?

Here’s the 411.

When I first started teaching, I was 23, just a few years older than some of my 12th grade students!

When I introduced myself, I made a point of tacking on a few extra years. I said I was 25. Seven extra years seemed like the right amount of padding.

When I moved to New Orleans, I continued to add years. I felt I needed the cushion, so parents would nod and smile instead of raise disapproving eyebrows. And so my students would believe I was seasoned and complete my assignments without giving me grief.

I never lied to my employers. The Headmaster and English Department Chair at Metairie Park Country day School knew precisely how green old I was when I was hired.

A few years ago, I realized I’ve been in my 40’s for nearly fifteen years.

And that made me remember my grandmother who told people she was 29.

For decades.

After she stopped wearing wigs and wore her thinning hair in loose ponytails wrapped in twine, she was 29. After her eyes dulled and her skin wrinkled, she was 29. After her toenails yellowed and her remaining teeth fell out of her mouth, she was 29.

It was preposterous.

No-one bought it. It was silly and a little pitiful.

I vowed to go the other way.

So I padded.

This year, I could have told my students that I was 50.

Because if you tack on five extra years…well, I look pretty freaking good for 50, right?

Feeling groovy.

And yet.

I’ve kind of caught up with myself.

These days, I am grateful for this body that continues to get me where it needs to go – even if I sometimes have headaches and get dizzy and fall down. I am grateful for my eyes, which still appreciate all the beauty around me – even if the view is a little blurry. I just have to remember to find put on my glasses. I will never have pretty model’s hands, but I have four fingers that help me to tap out what I want to say. Fingers that help me punch buttons on the phone to speak to old friends and new. Fingers that are attached to hands that reach out to offer assistance, to squeeze shoulders. Hands that are attached to arms which can swallow people up in hugs. And even if my vocal cords are toasted, I realized I have these things called ears that work really well, too.

So the jig is up.

Lucy, we’re back to living honestly.

On Sunday, I’ll be 45.

Right where I’m supposed to be.

A wife.

A mother.

A daughter.

A contestant on Survivor.

Just kidding.

But a girl can hold onto her dreams, right?

Have you ever lied about your age? How are you doing with the growing older thing? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

188 thoughts on “Coming Clean About My Age

  1. I really like your blog and would love you to feature on mine, http://www.5thingstodotoday.com. All you have to do is write five suggestions along with a link back to your site. Please check out the blog and see the sort of things people have written about.

  2. I think we all have the capacity to be 20-something inside. The trick is revel in our lives. Happy Birthday, Renee. You ARE amazing!!

  3. What you wrote caught my eye as I too will be turning 50 in a couple of years. You looked fantastic.

  4. Congratulations! On everything.

    xo

    1. You know how you inspire me to be better. Well, you do. So they FP this thing. I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with a lot of cool people. I’m trying to get to everyone. It is a great opportunity to meet new bloggers.

  5. I love the way you described your body — clearly you are a super attractive woman, probably would be described by a teenage boy as a “MILF,” and yet you say you’re grateful that your body has carried you, that your eyes can see, etc.

    That was so inspiring 🙂

  6. Hi Renee, you know I’m a little slow on the uptake so I thought I had lots of time to wish you a great birthday–hey! I just got up and checked the calendar–it’s today! Sounds like it has been spectacular so far, and I’m guessing today there was lots of celebrating–Happy Birthday to You!
    And what a nice bonus to be FP’d–well-deserved, you do a great job of offering an entertaining, enlightening place–Congrats!!

  7. First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    Second, You know the feeling when you’re in on a trend before everyone else, and then it makes it to the big time and you are now left feeling super awesome and “with it”, I’m feeling that now, ergo: congrats on being freshly pressed.
    And third, I also sorta lie about my age too – by omission. I started teaching high school when I was 19 (Hence the TooYoungToTeach moniker, I started my blog then too), I always looked older though, so I just skated by the age question. Approaching 25 (in a month!!!) I finally starting to look my age, and now I’m ready to own it. Gimme a few years, and I’ll start lying again.

    1. That is exactly it! I remember being so young and thinking: “They will totally not think I’m credible. No one will trust me.” So I padded. Because my high school students asked a lot. (And so did their parents.) Twenty zillion years later, I think I’m done with that. This semester marks the end of my teaching career. I think it’s safe to come clean. Ya think? 😉

  8. Hope you had a good birthday, Renée, and glad to see you were Freshly Pressed. The post was a good twist on old ruse. Although I can’t say I ever took my teacher’s age as a factor in deciding whether to walk into class prepared or not. Old teacher, young teacher, big teacher, small teacher – homework was always a chore to be put off until the last possible moment.

  9. Happy Birthday! I turned 40 two weeks ago and I felt like I had been working up to it for years! Actually, now I’m there, I kind of like it – bit of angst in the month before (prompted me to start blogging!). No point harking after those younger years any more, just enjoy all we have got (lots) and try to ignore the less appealing signs of ageing!

    1. Nice to know a fellow Scorpio. Off to check out your place! 😉

  10. Have a happy birthday, and I love your blog, totally inspiring. ^^

  11. I’m with you..sista

  12. I never lied about my age. I want people to know I was around for punk rock.

    1. Please. That’s why I added 5 years! I made myself born in 1962. You know, so I was able to go to Woodstock as a kid. LOL!

  13. You look young and stunning! Cheers for your 50th birthday!

  14. Happy birthday! Was there a party that I missed, too? I am proud to be 65 in January but, truth be told, I saw only the cookie. Had to go back to your photo to notice the cleavage.

  15. As always, this aging thing is a blessing and a curse. There’s fun to be had though, and blogging is definitely part of it!

  16. Hope you had a great birthday…and with that attitude, even at 80, you’ll be stunning and as radiant!!!

    1. Thanks for finding me! This year is shaping up to be one of the best, so far. So while I’m not wild about the wrinkles creeping across my forehead, I am so grateful for continued good health, a wonderful marriage, a son who is on the right path, and friends who continue to shower me with love. What more could a girl ask for? 😉

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