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looking young (warning: self-centerdness ahead!)

Four days after I turned thirty, a baby-boomer man I met at a friend's wedding said, "You're what, 22?" in the context of telling me he'd been married to his wife for 33 years. A few weeks earlier, I was carded in a bar -- I was ordering a virgin margarita -- and when I didn't have my ID, the bartender suggested that I go get it if I wanted to keep playing pool there -- not even because she didn't want to serve me alcohol, but just because she didn't think I was old enough to even be in the bar. On my reecnt trips to Microsoft, people I meet often ask if I'm a student, although at least they tend to think I'm a PhD student or post-doc, which would at least be age-appropriate. The last few days, I've been meeting new students, who assume I'm an undergrad. The moment when I say "I graduated in 1997" there's always a pause, and some disbelief, and then some embarassment; am I offended they thought I was ten years younger than I am?

I'm not offended, but I'm curious about it. I think there's a few factors that come together to make me come off as young. In everyday life around Providence, I dress very casually, and I prefer clothes so comfortable I could sleep in them. Not exactly a businesswoman's wardrobe, and in fact when I "dress up" -- or my equivalent thereof, which involves ironed button-down shirts, sometimes a blazer, and slacks -- I "pass" as more like mid-to-late-twenties. I'd like to think that my personal carriage is more of an adult than a college student, especially in the business sphere. The last factor, of course, is my face, and especially the skin on my face... which is as soft, lightly freckled, and pink as when I was eighteen. I also have dark circles under my eyes, just like my brother's. Odd, because I don't think either of our parents have that particular feature. (Do you?) I don't know how i got this skin; I certainly haven't worn sunscreen as much as I should, or moisturized as much as I should. The one thing I do that's theoretically good for skin is drink a lot of water. Relatives out there, do other Beckers look young? Did you look young when you were 30-ish?

I think this all brings me to an awareness that I will need to work extra-hard to come off as professional in professional settings.

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