This was one of those weeks.
I’m working a temp job now, one I think I’d like to last awhile. It’s an interesting group I work with, primarily young…and poor. I’m doing admin work, but my desk is smack dab in the middle of a warehouse.
There are a handful of people my age, a few older, but for the most part, of the 120 or so employees there, more than 100 are probably under 35, if not under 30. We get along fine. I’m grateful the man who hired me looked at my skill set and not my wrinkles.
Anyway, the facility manager jokingly told me he thought I was about 33. I don’t kid myself; I know he was joking. But later that day while in line to pay a bill, I was asked for my birthdate, and after giving it, the young man in line behind me said, “Ma’am, I would’ve guessed you to be about 35.”
So I was feeling pretty good.
At church today, I was sitting in back with a woman, her daughter and 4-month-old grandson. I’d never met them before, and this adorable little baby was smiling and flirting with me. Of course I smiled back, and the baby’s grandma asked me, “do your grandchildren live in the area?”
I was so startled, I just said no. I don’t have any grandchildren. I don’t have any children. And yes, friends my age all pretty much have a passel of grandbabies, but no one has ever assumed I was a grandma before.
Where does the truth lie? How old do I look?
Several years ago, when I was working as a reporter, I covered the local community theater group’s most recent production, and got a wonderful photo during rehearsal of the lead actress. It turned out she’d had some Top 40 hits years ago (don’t ask me what), so I ended up doing a story just about her.
When I interviewed her, I mentioned the photo I’d taken earlier. She frowned.
I asked if she had been unhappy with it, and she said no, it was a good photo. She paused, and added, “I just didn’t think I looked that old.”
I look in the mirror and I trust I see an honest reflection of what I look like, but I know I don’t see myself as others do. That carries over to other aspects of my life as well. I don’t know how people perceive me. I have a pretty good self-image, and I believe I understand my strengths and weaknesses. But I have no idea how I’m viewed by my co-workers, for example.
I’m not talking age here. I’m talking how they see me as a person. Serious or flighty? I can pretty much guarantee they’ll say nice, but how does that translate?
Right before I sat down to write this, I had stopped in the grocery store and ran into a former boss, someone who would have heard lies and rumors about me from a few years back. I was immediately on guard.
No worries. He spun around so quickly it was like a blur. I passed him in the parking lot a few minutes later, and he ignored me.
How does he view me, in light of the falsehoods I know he’s heard?
It isn’t something I worry about or feel any great concern over. I have people who know me and love me, and what anyone thinks of me is their business. How they see me is colored by how they see themselves.
I just wonder about it sometimes.
What is important to me is honesty with myself, accepting myself, forgiving myself, improving myself. I want to be better when I turn 60 than I am today.
That’s not too far away…better get on it.
Image credits: © maiko62 – stock.adobe.com