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.