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Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing, and she works full time in digital media with a large cable network. When she isn't at work, blogging, or washing someone's socks, Katie enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large and totally impractical, 113-year-old Victorian house.

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Would You Ever Lie About Your Age?

By Katie Allison Granju |

Me? The glasses are about right. And I do sometimes struggle with lipstick drift... PHOTO CREDIT: First Baptist Church of Barnesville

 

Certain birthdays seem especially momentous in one’s life, and this month, I have a biggie coming up: I will be turning….45 years old. 

(Ouch. It stings to type that out: I am turning FORTY FIVE  this month.)

I don’t know about y’all, but that seems really old to me. And frankly, I don’t want to be old. I don’t want to look old, or feel old, and I don’t want other people to perceive me as being old.

Is that so wrong?

And if it is wrong, why do I – and pretty much every other woman I know – feel that way??

 

I never want to be one of those women who are obviously trying too hard to cling to an age long past, but there are certain things I just find hard to accept about what aging is starting to do to me in the past five years. For example, I am getting quite a few gray hairs these days, and as I have already made clear, that just ain’t happenin’ – not anytime soon anyway.

And I am seeing my very first agey-looking areas of discoloration on my skin and hands and lower arms. I have always been somewhat obsessive about skin care – including sun protection – so I think I’ve held off some of the skin changes that other women my age may have already started experiencing, but I can’t completely beat back mother nature, no matter how many peptides and amino acids and special fruit oils I rub all over my face and body every day. Now that I am seeing these minor but noticeable-to-me changes in my skin tone, I am considering actually visiting a dermatologist for the first time in my life to find out whether I should consider something like Retin-A or a peel or some such similar thing. I am also on the hunt for a new line of skin care for “mature” skin to supplement my beloved, multiple-times-daily application of classic Olay SPF 15, which I use not just on my face, but elsewhere too. (If any of y’all have any product recommendations, please share. I’d love that.)

So yes, I have some control over my skin and my hair, and I continue to battle to take off the extra 20 pounds that remain from my last pregnancy two years ago. These things I can feel that I have some ability to impact, but I know that I really have none at all over other physical changes that aging is bringing to my body, more rapidly these days as the result of all the stress I’ve experienced in the past several years.

For example, my jawline is drooping ever so slightly these days. It may not be noticeable to anyone else, but I am embarrassed to admit that I notice it immediately every time I see a photo of myself lately. And when I turn my head, there are creases in my neck and chest that just don’t look…young, you know? And much like Hilary Clinton  (with whom I share a certain roundness of face), the sides of my mouth are starting to sort of take a turn south,  and I can tell that by the time I reach Secretary Clinton’s age and beyond, there will be little I can do to turn my frown upside down, if you know what I mean.

(Having said this, let me be clear that I think Secretary Clinton is an amazing, beautiful and dynamic woman for whom I hold huge respect. I am in no way being critical of her appearance. I think she looks better in her mid-60s than she did in her 30s, and has really become something of a style icon for grown up working women. I am only using her as a physical doppelganger in this single instance because seriously, my almost-45-year-old mouth is going to look exactly like hers in a few years – NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT.)

So you see, there are things about aging that I simply cannot change. They are beyond my ability to manipulate much or control. But there is one fundamental thing that I know I COULD change if I wanted to – something that has quite a lot of impact on how people perceive women in our culture – and that is my actual age.

Yes, I know I cannot actually cause some sort of rip in the time space continuum that would literally peel the years back, but I could lie about my age. I could tell people that I am turning 39 this year, instead of 45. They might be skeptical, but if I were confident in my claim and stuck with it, maybe people would buy it. Yep, I  could definitetely start lying about my age.

And don’t you think for one minute that the idea of attempting such an age scam hasn’t crossed my mind as growing older becomes more of a reality for me. I mean, other people do it, right?  I don’t know who they are, but I am sure there are women – and men too – all around me every day who are lying about their age. I happen to work in a very youth-focused industry – digital media – so in my profession, I have to think that there are at least some people who say they are 38 when they are actually 42, should the subject of age come up.

But…I just can’t do it. For starters, I have teenage children who would out me, after teasing me mercilessly for attempting such a thing. And speaking of teenagers, as much as I am trying to be honest about my struggles with accepting the physical changes that come with being a woman getting older in a youth-obsessed society, I also want to convey to my 17 year old daughter that women’s value does not diminish at the same rate that her head accumulates those gray hairs I so do not want to see. That balance of both accepting aging and also allowing myself to enjoy pushing it back to some degree is hard for us mothers who are trying to instill a sense of self worth in our daughters that isn’t based on physical appearance.

So this all leads me to my question for other mothers reading this – well, several questions, actually (and remember you can comment using a psuedonym): how old are you? Are you beginning to see any physical signs of getting older than are hard to accept? What do you do about them? Would you ever lie about your age? Why or why not? And last but not least: any good recommendations for skin care products I should try?

Let’s talk about aging in the comments below. Ready, set, GO.

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About Katie Allison Granju

katie-allison-granju

Katie Allison Granju

Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing. Katie also enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large Victorian house. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie Allison's latest posts →

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32 thoughts on “Would You Ever Lie About Your Age?

  1. s.e. says:

    I will be 53 at the end of this month. I really hated turning 50, it sounds old, 45 sounds young to me:) For me, it’s not my age that is really the issue but what my body looks like after giving birth to 5 children. However, I would never lie about my age, pretending I am younger than I am won’t actually change how old I am. I also won’t dye my hair. But I guess I am lucky to “look young for my age” or so people tell me and I don’t have that many gray hairs and I don’t feel “old” but I am definitely not young anymore either. I also don’t see how I can get around having grownup kids, all but 1 of my kids are now over 20. I know women (and men too by the way) who won’t say how old they are but I am not aware that anybody I know in RL is actually lying about their age.

  2. Melissa says:

    I have lied about my age in the past, but not in the direction of being younger. I was a younger mom and instantly felt judged for being such. Even though I held a very respectable position at work, was married and living in our own house, I still got the side eye when it was made known that I was only 23 with all of that. So… I definitely would make myself appear older to my coworkers. I was 23 saying I was 29. So Sad! I wish I had been more comfortable with myself. And even now, even online, I hesitate to say I’m 31 with 4 kids!

  3. JennG says:

    No way would I lie. I am biased: I work for More (Canada) and so I spend a lot of time interviewing and talking to women over 40. This is a great stage of life for a lot of women – we are experienced, have our priorities in order, and are often ready to find our own hopes and dreams aside from our roles as daughters/wives/mothers.

    Katie it saddens me that you are trying to find a way to lie about your age. Let’s hope our daughters never get the message that they need to even think about it.

  4. rebecca says:

    You can’t do it because you are too public and talked about your age too much. Those who can have always been vague about it. Like me. My kids aren’t even sure how old I am.

    But if I were going to lie, I’d go older not younger, like Melissa. You’ll get some nice compliments on how great you look for your age if you add a few years on there. You shave them off, you have some tough competition for anyone to say anything, cuz Katie, you don’t look young for you age in your pictures. Say you are fifty and you start looking really good.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I’m about to be 33, and my oldest is already ten. My mother turned 60 yesterday, my dad is 56. Both of my parents are completely gray, I’ve had silver hairs since I was a teen. I use to dye my hair, it’s taken me two years to completely grow it out. That said, my MIL is eighty-one, has never dyed her hair and doesn’t have a single gray hair. She has marks and wrinkles, yes, but I think she looks great for her age. As does her ninety-year old sister. My husband is close to 50, and has gray at the temples. Most people don’t believe he’s that old, or that I’m that young-given that we are married to each other and do have a ten year old.

    That said, I’m surprised that you are placing such importance on looks. You say you like Clinton-well she’s taken a lot of flak for accepting the aging process, wearing less (or none) make-up, no longer fixing her hair, etc. I don’t think 45 is a big birthday. I know you have teenagers, but you also have a toddler-not uncommon at your age in society nowadays. Protect your skin for your health, not your looks.

    I have acne, will probably always have acne, even when I have wrinkles. I do treat my skin, but I own up to it. I do wear make-up, but have refused to buy into those “preventative” anti-aging products aimed at women my age.

    Own your age, age gracefully. Accept the changes. If you do, then who else cares?

  6. Katie Granju says:

    @Rebecca,

    I definitely don’t look “young for my age,” you’re right. And I look a hell of a lot older than I did even 2.5 years ago. Lots of living since then.

    But I still don’t think I will start telling folks I am turning 55 instead of 45 ;-)

    Katie

  7. Lissa says:

    Until very recently, I looked very much younger than my age. I was carded on my 35th birthday while I was out celebrating with friends at a nightclub. No one else in my group was carded. Best. Birthday. Gift. Ever! Whenever I mentioned my children’s ages, I’d get comments along the line of “Wow, you started young!” Since the onset of some issues with my thyroid and adrenals, I’ve gained a LOT of weight and my skin has lost much of its youthful luster. I have a definite second chin, which I think is the ugliest thing EVER and poofy eyes that disappear, especially behind my glasses, giving me a Mr Magoo look. I also have some pretty well defined laugh lines around my eyes and mouth, and a strange new crease in my forehead that has appeared just in the last couple of years.

    Now I’m a grandma. Of seven. One by blood, the rest by marriage. It’s a strange new world as when I think of MY grandma I picture snow white hair and pull-on polyester slacks in a rainbow of pastel colors, reruns of the Lawrence Welk Show and dozens of craft projects in various stages of completion cluttering the house.

    But now that I think of it, I have discovered a line of stretch waist pants that are designed as kicky little twill crops that I love. I have a great stylist that keeps the gray under cover. And my knitting and quilting projects are taking over my office at home. OMG! I’ve become my grandmother!

    Anyway … the skin. Mine is definitely showing the ravages of time and an ill-spent youth, with added insult of the huge weight gain a few years ago and the general systemic ill health I have been battling. As part of the healing journey with my health, I have had to try to limit my exposure to harmful chemicals. Most commercial skin care products are LOADED with bad stuff. Even for those who are in the pink of health, those chemicals should be avoided. The worst are the sulfates, like sodium laureth sulfate, and parabens. I used to use philosophy skin care products, and I loved them, but they have these bad chemicals. Now I use the Bare Minerals/Bare Escentuals line exclusively for both skin care and make-up. Pricey, yes, but I feel it is very much worth it. I have seen some pretty dramatic improvements in my skin with this new, cleaner routine.

    While I am not thrilled with being older, much less looking older – I still act like a teenager much of the time, being silly and giggly, laughing at inappropriate humor and such forth – I know that fighting it is a losing battle. Wrinkles happen. Deal with it. I won’t lie about my age … who cares, really? Aging is a fact of life. My motto is, growing old is mandatory, growing UP is optional.

  8. Korinthia Klein says:

    I have never understood the point of lying about your age. I’m 43, and I probably look 43, so if I started saying I was younger wouldn’t people just think I looked bad for my age?
    /
    Besides, age doesn’t really mean anything, it’s who you are and what you’re doing that matters regardless of how many trips you’ve made around the sun.
    /
    http://the-quiet-corner.blogspot.com/

  9. Heather says:

    I will admit it if nobody else will. I have lied about my age in the past five years at least. I try to avoid discussing my age but if it comes up I shave off several years. I am an attorney in a very competitive office environment and I went to law school later than my professional peers so I am older and I believe that the five years matters in how I am recognized in my work. I suspect that others may lie too including males.

  10. Lissa says:

    Well, my comment apparently went off into a cyber black hole. It was probably too long anyway.

    Two main points (since I don’t have the time to try to recreate it)
    - Growing old is mandatory, growing UP is optional.
    - Skin care – try to avoid products with chemicals. Look for sulfates and parabens especially, and avoid them. I like the Bare Minerals/Bare Escentuals lines of skin care and make up. Pricey, yes. But that’s a benefit of getting older – more disposable income to spend on good quality personal care products.

  11. S says:

    My hope is to live authentically in every way I can. I don’t use credit cards because I believe they encourage us to live above our means. I continue to drive my ten-year-old Toyota because it runs just fine. When I bought a two-bedroom house instead of a three bedroom my friends were horrified… But I don’t NEED anything bigger. I’m not sure why our culture thinks we have to be more than we are. Anyway. I’m 48, don’t color my hair, have no plans for any anti-aging peels or injections or whatnot, although I may consider an upper eye lift if my vision is ever diminished as my mother’s was. Aging is not a big deal to me.

  12. Liz says:

    For the record, Sec Clinton will be turning _65_ in October, and yes, she looks awesome.

    1. Katie Granju says:

      Thanks for the correction! Fixing now…

      -Katie

  13. Clisby says:

    Thanks, Liz. I couldn’t believe HC was still in her 50s. She looks fine.

    I’m almost 59. I wouldn’t even consider lying about my age. I despise liars, unless the lying has some hugely important goal like saving someone’s life.

  14. renee says:

    I’m turning 47 next week and I’m thinking of just saying I’m 50 for the next 3 years. I wish my hair would turn gray–my mom looked awesome once she stopped dyeing her hair–but I don’t have single gray hair, so I’m also thinking of just dyeing it gray. I embrace aging, as long as I can age like Emmylou. Happy birthday!

  15. Amy says:

    I am 52 and have never lied about my age. Even though I do everything within my power to stay slim and strong and as presentable as possible (good haircut!), I do not dye my hair. I am graying mostly around my face, and the gray is whitish, not steel gray, so it looks almost like highlights. I wear reading glasses instead of contacts (maybe that’s why my gray looks becoming to me?!), my jowls are beginning to droop, and my midsection is softer than I would like. But I have a lot of work experience that translates into a better paycheck, and a lot of life experience that translates into being a better parent and just living a happier life. Why would I want to diminish any of that? The “big picture” perspective you get from aging is hard-won and priceless and if you value it in yourself, others will value it, too. And yes, you are a role model for your kids, so it is important to focus on the messages you want them to internalize.

  16. wendy says:

    As a ‘young’ therapist working with older adults (60+) I was often asked my age because somehow that references my capabilities. I always responded with a smile and “Why do you want to know.” No disclosure of my age so no awkwardness, and the added benefit of others feeling awkward because they committed the mother of social faux pas: asking a woman her age.

  17. donaleen says:

    I don’t lie about my age. In a month I will be 64. And I’ve got that Beatles song rattling around in my head. It’s the first birthday I’ve had any issue with. Not really issue. More like there’s before 64 and there is after 64.

  18. Jane Smithers says:

    I’m sure it’s just a mistake, but the image here seems to be missing a credit line. I believe this image belongs to the First Baptist Church of Barnesville, Ohio:
    http://www.firstbaptistbarnesville.com/PuppetPictures.htm

    1. Katie Granju says:

      Jane, I was unable to find a photo credit when I ran across the puppet photo. I’m going no to the link you’ve posted and will absolutely attribute if that’s the source. Thanks for cluing me in.
      - Katie

  19. marisa says:

    I have never lied about my age (52). It’s silly.

  20. kokopuff says:

    I’m turning 50 this month. And I’m in better shape than when I was 30 (or 20 for that matter). I wear a bikini and look pretty damn good in it. I dye my hair blond and wear fitted (but not age inappropriate) clothing. Weight and matronly clothing will age you faster than your skin or your hair, believe me! But I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, both personally and professionally and I intend to not only rock 50, but 60, 70 and hopefully 80 and 90 too!

  21. mbmom7 says:

    I just turned 45, and I don’t mind. I already have bifocals and some gray hair , so some of the worst is behind me! (Those both happened the week I turned 40.) I won’t lie about my age, but nor do I think about it much I’m just me!
    The only thing that makes me wish I was younger is the long nights when the kids won’t sleep ( I have one who’s a little younger than your G – 2 year olds are tough customers- and I have my last baby due in Dec) . I coped with those much better with my older children. 18 years of sleep deprivation is taxing!
    Just find what makes you happy about yourself and forget about the age. And wear sunscreen!

  22. Jodi Rives says:

    Katie, as you alluded to in an earlier comment, it’s not the years but the mileage. The last 2.5 years have been brutal for you and that can show up on our faces. And I think that’s one of the tough spots for me. When I look at pictures of me just a few years ago (and I just turned 45 as well), I see a much different person than I see in the mirror now after a vicious and protracted custody battle–and that is hard for me because it is literally a physical manifestation of the hell of the last few years. You can actually SEE my pain in my countenance–and I hate it. Trauma ages us faster and that seems abysmally unfair. I also teach at the college level and am thus surrounded by young women every moment of my working day–and that is no ego boost either. Aging is tough and I’m navigating it less gracefully than I would want.

  23. jzzy55 says:

    All i can say is, “Wait until menopause.” Because if you don’t like what you see now, you’re really not going to like what happens next. Choice time: love/accept who you are, or hate yourself? No!

    I think you sound a lot more negative than is necessary, especially since you are ONLY turning 45. If you get your exercise/eating/stress to a reasonable place, you are doing what you can from the inside. I’m not a big believer in expensive topical products. Some style magazines (maybe Real Simple) publish articles comparing fancy vs drugstore products from time to time — why not look for those cheaper products first? Also SPF 15 seems low considering you live in the South.

    As for hair coloring, that’s a personal choice but if you work with lots of people 10, 15, even 20 years younger (and in your industry I’ll bet you do), I’d be doing professional coloring and avoiding roots. Because you need your job, and looking “too old” is now the Great American route to unemployment.

  24. Sharon says:

    Embrace your milestones! I think it’s ridiculous to lie. Maybe if you’re in the entertainment industry or walk the runway. But other than that, it’s just a number.

  25. Forty-five-and-fabulous says:

    I’m the same age as you, Katie, and don’t lie about my age. Truthfully, I look young and attractive for my age. I hike and wear high heels, although not at the same time. I color my hair and haven’t “let myself go.”

    What has made me feel especially old over the past few years, is watching my older husband, experiencing his own midlife crisis of sorts, stare longingly at young women instead of me and chat them up like they are the most “fascinating” thing he’s ever encountered (real, nauseating quote there).

    Looking in the mirror and finding some room for improvement is nothing compared to seeing your partner no longer show much of an attraction toward you. Is this part of aging, in general, men liking their fantasy 20-year-old in a bikini better than their real 40-something wives, regardless of how often they work out, how fit they are, how well they hide the gray, or how well they care for themselves, or what great wives and mothers they are, or what accomplished people they’ve become? Food for thought.

    Many people here have mentioned Hillary Clinton. How did she feel when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke? I’m guessing she felt old and unhappy, despite her good looks and fabulous career. In any case, it’s worse for one’s self-esteem than finding a new wrinkle or gray hair.

  26. Alexicographer says:

    My mother will, to this day, say “She dyes her hair,” in the tone of voice most people reserve for the sentence, “He’s a convicted pedophile.” This reflects her upbringing and background, but I also understand it to be about accepting who we are and aging gracefully. I pretty much embrace the philosophy. My grandmother purportedly told everyone she was one year older than she was, so that by the time the next birthday rolled around, she was used to the idea.

  27. vedradijaus says:

    Thanks for sharing dear you are really doing a wonderful job.

  28. Geri says:

    But if people keep lying about their age, and trying to look and act younger than they are, aren’t we just perpetuating the youth-obsessed culture? It seems we are doing a great disservice to our children by not showing them that aging is a fact of life. It seems like a sort of denial of one of the major realities of being human, we age, we die. Well, if we’re lucky we get to die old, as we all know, some don’t get to live to old age. So no, wouldn’t consider lying about my age. I feel darned lucky to have made it to 55.

  29. Lacey Jane says:

    Ageing is a beautiful privilege :)

    45? Just rock it.

    (I may change my tune in 21 years, when I turn 45, but for now I stick with: Rock it.)

    All I know is, I look at my 53 year old mother, who gave birth to 4 babies, who is a great mom, who rocks her life and loves herself, and she is the most beautiful woman I have ever met.

  30. Kayt says:

    I just turned 26, and I’ve never lied about my age, to the young side, at least.. I’ve also never felt bad about getting older. I was a young mom and was always slightly embarassed to be be pregnant at 21 with my first. Also, I don’t like who I was at 21 very much, and I earned my grey hair and maturity. I was out with my sister a couple of weeks ago, and someone did this big ol’ “wink wink, you’re turning 21 again, right? No need to be older than you have to be!” and I just about freaked. No thank you! I’m happy to be 26, I’m happy to be pregnant with number two, and I’m happy to not be 21 anymore.

    My mom did the ‘decade count’ until she turned 50, so she was 40 until she turned 50. I always razzed her about it. She’s a vibrant, awesome woman who I feel like has a better handle on her life and sense of self now, at 55, than she did at 35 or 45. And while it sounds cheesy, age is a number. Getting older is mostly inevitable, getting old is optional. My parents, at 52 and 55, are cooler and happier than my in laws were at those ages. My mother in law is much more obsessed with covering up her age and her greys and crud like that. I just don’t understand it, but I’ve been told I’m still young or something ; )

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