We all have to face it if we live long enough. One day, some well-meaning 17-year-old will offer you the senior discount. “WHAT?! You must be talking to that senior citizen behind me because I know I don’t look that old!” Well, to a young person, you might, even though your friends and family may tell you that you could pass for thirty-something. This is when most people turn their faces to botox new jersey to get a young look on their faces.
I remember the first time it happened to me. I was appalled and a little embarrassed when a teenage cashier at a fast-food restaurant gave me the senior discount. Time moves on and, guess what, I now request the senior discount, if it’s available. An older lady I once knew didn’t think a thing about driving her Mercedes up to a drive-thru window and requesting her senior discount. I always thought that if she had the nerve to do it, I sure could.
Even if you’re too proud to request the senior discount, there are still some behaviors that identify you as out-of-touch, no matter how youthful you look. As a customer service employee for many years, I watched my customers age before my eyes and vice versa. My coworkers and I would notice when customers were exhibiting certain tell-tale signs of aging, like shaky hands and cognitive impairment.
During my career of well over twenty years working with the same customers, I watched them age from 20 to 40, or 40 to 60, or 60 to 80 years of age and beyond. The customers were also quick to point out my new reading glasses or my wrist brace for arthritis. I guess we’re all fair game.
Even though we can’t stop time and, as a friend recently put it, “I’ve rather be old than cold,” we can be aware of our behavior and make course corrections along the way. The following are examples of some classic, yet avoidable, signs of aging I noticed when working with my customers:
When in a check-out line, don’t fumble for pennies to even out your change. It is a common behavior of older people. They rummage around in their pockets or purse saying, “I know I’ve got a couple of pennies in here somewhere,” while other customers are rolling their eyes behind them.
Don’t wait until the cashier gives you the total to start hunting for your checkbook, finding a pen, opening the checkbook and then asking, “How much was that again?” If you must use checks, have them check-in your hand, already made out to the store. Better yet, let the store clerk electronically fill in the check.
Also, when you’re in a checkout line, don’t harangue the clerk about the exorbitant prices of the items you’re purchasing. Many people like to vent about prices and the cashier is a sitting duck. We all know prices are high and you may be on a fixed income but the cashier cannot do a thing about it. And, it makes you seem old and crusty to pick on a helpless store employee.
When you’re around younger people and the talk turns to technology or social media, like cell phones, computers, Facebook or Twitter, don’t immediately declare yourself technologically impaired, even if you are. It’s fine not to be interested in certain technologies but you’re just publicly declaring yourself “old” when you announce it every chance you get.
As we age, we most likely will encounter more health problems; it’s a sad fact of life. A common age-related behavior is constantly referring to our illnesses. If you have a serious illness and you need to share that information with certain people, that’s understandable. But, if you feel you must share every detail of your health issues, even on Facebook, you’re making yourself seem old. Nobody wants to read about your bladder infection or sinus drainage, really.
If you need reading glasses, wear them gracefully. If you perch them on the end of your nose and you’re constantly peering over the top of them, and then glancing down again at whatever you’re reading, it makes you look old. Actually, you might look less old if you go ahead and get some prescription glasses that have stylish frames.
As for stylish frames, if you think a super trendy eyeglass frame will make you look younger, you might be mistaken. Sometimes it will have the exact opposite effect. Less can be more. Take a trusted and truthful friend with you when shopping for eyeglass frames. You might consider taking someone a few years younger, just for their viewpoint. We all need a little perspective sometimes. I took a friend with me to pick out my last glasses and it really helped. I get compliments from all age groups on them, even younger people.
If you’re able, try to keep a little bounce in your step. We all slow down a bit as the decades’ pass but if you hold yourself proudly, shoulders back and head up, and walk with purpose, you will appear much younger. Adding a smile to your face can erase the years, as well. Don’t be afraid to wear a few bright colors. Aging skin can be a bit sallow and colors can make you appear more vibrant. One older friend always wore pastels like pinks and lavenders which made her look “gone” before her time.
Even though all your friends might wear similar hairstyles, that’s no reason you have to do so. If you’ve had the same hairstyle for more than a few years, you might want to try a fresher look. Check out what stylish and successful people your age are wearing on TV programs and in magazines. Be careful your hairstylist is not pigeonholing you into what they think is appropriate for your age. Take cues from the compliments you get on your hairstyle from all age groups.