I don't get get carded anymore. Even though I'm told I have a baby-face (mostly by my biased parents) I haven't gotten carded in a long time. It used to bother me, the same way it used to bother me when someone called me "Ma'am" instead of "Miss".
I work on a college campus and it's been about 5 years since anyone has confused me for a student or intern and, even then, it didn't happen often.
I used to wish it did. I don't anymore, just like I don't hope to get carded anymore. At age 40.75, I think I've finally figured something out.
The reason I don't get carded or mistaken for a student, isn't because I look old. At least, I don't think I look old. Not as though 40 is old, anyway. I look good for my age.
I dress my age. By that, I don't mean I wear elastic waist pants, matching twinsets and penny loafers. I consider myself extremely stylish, but not trendy. I take pride in my appearance, because I want to, not because I'm trying to be something I'm not. Today, as I rock my blue color block dress and t-strap heels, I know that "stylishness" isn't just for the twenty-somethings.
I know how to wear makeup. Just the right amount. I've had decades of practice by now.
I don't have "mom" hair. As a matter of fact, I love color and change my color often. Currently, my hair is auburn and purple. It's not purple in a way that says "I'm trying to find myself." It's purple in a way that says "I know exactly who I am and who I am likes having purple hair."
So with my purple hair and stylish clothes, why don't I get carded?
About six-years ago on the college campus where I work, I was talking with two female students and a male colleague, a few years my junior. He had frequently been mistaken for a student where I was rarely, even at the tender age of 34. He argued that I could easily be confused with a student. Flattery will get you everywhere! During this conversation, the two female students mistook him for a classmate. I eyed him wryly and said "You see." and he asked the girls if they thought I was a student as well. They promptly replied "No." then added, because she doesn't seem like a student. She just seems more mature." Well said, ladies.
This is why I don't get carded.
Because I order a drink with confidence no twenty-something can fake.
Because I make myself known in the workplace in a way that took me a decade to be able to do.
Because I don't know everything. When I was in my twenties I thought I did. Now, I know I don't but WHAT I DO KNOW, I know well.
Because I know what I'm good at and what I'm not.
Because I'm mature enough to know that I need to learn and grow.
Because I know growth is a good thing.
Because I know what I want and I'm not afraid to go for it.
So, don't card me. Call me ma'am. I don't care anymore! Because 40-something is a state of mind. A state of being. A unique confidence that was elusive to me in my twenties.
My forties. I'm finally starting to see what all the fuss is about.