Another Year Older

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today is my birthday.

And I'm 27.

At least I think I am. Okay, I did that math again. Yep. I'm 27.

The thing is, I've been lying about my age for the last several years. I've been 27 since I was probably 24 or 25.

And you might ask yourself, why would any woman lie about her age and make herself older?!

Well, for a couple reasons.

I work in a field where age is definitely an asset. People want their doctor to be older than they are. They don't want someone 10, 20, 30 years younger than they are telling them to quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more, prescribe them medication.

Isn't that the image we all have of physicians? That they are the "older and wiser" one? Not the "wow, you look like you are in high school" person that looks like they might have wandered into the exam room by accident? I had lots of patients ask me throughout medical school how old I was. I used to tell my real age. And I got a lot of "wow, you're so young." Or "you're just a baby."

So, pretty early on, I added a couple years. Just to build rapport with my patients.

But the real reason I did it was, well, more cowardly than that.

See, I got married when I was young. Nineteen years old to be exact. I took a lot of flack for it at the time, and occasionally I still do. And looking back, maybe we should have waited. But we didn't.

And we had our first child a year and a half later. When I was 20.

When people would ask about kids, a question would always follow, "So how old are your kids?" After that, they would look at me strange and say, "And how old are you? How long have you been married?"

I could always seeing them doing the math in their head, just a little too quickly. "So you were only 19 when you got married?" Yep, there it is.

I got tired of seeing people doing that math in their head. I got tired of feeling that the person I was talking to was judgmental about my getting married young.

And so I got around it by adding a couple years to my age.

And after a while, I had a hard time remembering my real age.

But I'm done with lying about my age.

So I got married when I was 19. I have the most amazing marriage. More successful than most of my friends. We are one of the happiest couples we know. We don't fight. Even approaching 8 years of marriage, we still love to be together, are supportive, and have not run out of things to talk about.

So I had kids when I was 20. My children are happy, healthy, well adjusted boys. We do things as a family. They love being home.

So I did these things younger than most. I have an amazing profession. I finished both undergraduate and medical school married and with children.

I don't think I have anything to be embarrassed about.

So, everyone out there...I'm 27.


Lori Watson said...

I love this post, Katherine! I can completely relate to the "math in their heads" thing. I get that ALL the time! I'm turning 35 this year. Sometimes I am thankful that I look younger than I am, and sometimes I wish I looked more my age so that I would get more credit for all of the things I have accomplished in my life. It's a blessing and a curse. Congratulations on "coming around." :)

Old Ladies Driving said...

Happy Birthday from the Old Ladies! Enjoy your youth while you can still fake it!


Rachel Ann said...


you'll never be 27 feeling like you're nineteen wondering what you're doing with your life and if the man you love will ever love you back and what it would feel like to be married and have kids.

Yeah, I'm jealous.

Wear it proudly.

Sabrina said...

Girl...I can sympathize. We got pregnant BEFORE we got married young (22 and 24), so we have the double math-in-their-heads syndrome.
Congrats. Anyone who gets weird about your age is just struggling with their own insecurities about when they accomplished things.
This is unrelated, but I always take pictures of my feet too. I notice people's feet and hands right off the bat. I really like feet. :)

Karen said...

I'm two days late, but Happy Birthday!

And I think it's great that you have accomplished so much while being so young. Shows that you are very driven and will be successful at anything you want to do.

I need to be more like that.

Bonnie said...

How was Life of Pi and The Kite Runner?

Somewhere inside of you you will always feel the age you were when you got married. That was the year you "grew up." You now have the opportunity to be nineteen for another twenty something years! It's magic. It is part of the reason you can always play tickle tag, and love to fly kites. Happy Birthday!!