I feel particularly conscious of looking old lately. I'm only 27 but I still appear at least a decade older than that. I've accepted it to some degree because this is not a new thing, but lately, I don't know, I feel like I need to find the fountain of youth yesterday.
It started a few months ago while I was walking the dog in High Street with James, the person I am romantically involved with. A guy with his own dog came up to us and asked if we were siblings. "No, we're not," I said with a smile. "She's my girlfriend," James said. And then the guy said something unbelievably rude.
"Oh, I thought she was your mother! Haha!" he said like it's the funniest joke in the whole world. I frowned at him and then walked away. I felt really terrible throughout dinner that night. I know I looked haggard because I had just come from the province; I spent that day at my grandfather's wake. My makeup has already run off to China with all her worldly possessions in tow by that evening and I was just wearing a plain 3/4 sleeve shirt and shorts. My hair was in a messy frizz. I looked far from my best. But to look like the mother of a 33-year old man when I'm a good six years younger?
Since then the fear that I look old way before my time has been nagging at the back of my mind. It's probably just in my head, I'd argue with myself, because my facial expression is naturally always at rest (i.e. jaded and bored and maybe a tiny bit annoyed, which is how a lot of old people look) and the structure of my face isn't exactly youthful-looking either. I don't look ruffled because of my ~ehem~ impeccable makeup and polished clothes. So yes, I look mature in my natural state, but old? That's different.
This doesn't bother me enough to start using all the anti-aging stuff I have been saving up in my dresser, nor obsessively researching about slowing down aging, but it's there, lurking and waiting. On a normal day I don't give it any thought. I mean, I feel good about my appearance and my achievements so far. I'm happy about my life.
But then I see a random recent picture and I sigh.