Why is “you look young for your age” a compliment?

A few days ago, a 30-something celeb Tweeted that she was tired of people telling her that she looked young for her age. (I know, I know…30-something…please hold your eye-rolls until the end…). Her Tweet went on to declare that she, after battling two life-threatening illnesses, was grateful for each day she—literally — got to live. She now proudly lives those days to her fullest capability and proudly sees her signs of ageing as a badge of honour, because, at one point, time — ageing — wasn’t promised to her.

In the response that followed, Twitter followers reached out to her in support; many were also tired of being told they look young for their age. They Tweeted that they were weary of having to smile politely, muster a “thank you” and (*shudder*) have to respond, in great detail, to requests about their miraculous, age-defying skincare regimes.

However well-meaning, we all know that telling someone they look young for their age is just a back-handed way of telling them that they look “good” for their age. Try it. Swap the two words out. Same results, but one word is just…more…honest.

Truthfully, most of us are probably/at least somewhat appreciative when we’re told we look young/good for our age. After all, Midlifers are not immune to beauty standards that include magazines filled with ads for moisture creams and articles that declare wrinkles can be kept at bay with exercise, leafy greens and water.

Until a few weeks ago, I never thought my response to being told that I looked younger than my 43 years was to do anything other than nod and smile politely, beauty product shout-outs at the ready. But for whatever reason, I finally recently hit my limit.

I have, however slowly, turned sour to comments about reality vs. how old people think I am. My response went from a slight smile to a simple, somewhat sarcastic statement:

Since I’m 43, I do indeed look my age.

People may be taken aback by my honest response, but I don’t care. Whether I choose to grow old gracefully or spend my time lingering about the skincare section at Sephora, I’ve come to agree with the celeb and her followers: every single day is a gift. No matter what you’ve been through, we can agree that each wrinkle is earned; they’re signs you’ve lived a life that required you to worry, laugh and occasionally furrow your brow.

Life causes wrinkles, and like life, you — and your hard-earned wrinkles — should be celebrated and honoured.

Let every hair flip be fabulous.


Le Snobbery

original photo by Dina Voicu|| manipulation by le snobbery