Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Reflections on Age

I'm always edging myself older than I am. Not to appear older or because I want to be older. Not quite that.

It's more probably that it used to be the usual thing for me to be the youngest person in a group. Those September birthdays mean that you either start kindergarten a little early or kind of late; I started early. So I was usually one of about three youngest people in my grade. I started college when I was seventeen--and in college, sure, there are other seventeen year olds but there are also people in their mid and late twenties and up. So I was always the younger person--and also the seemingly even younger person given that I am small and apparently do look up to ten years younger than I am depending on context.

So I guess I was accustomed for a while to being at a certain stage past what people my age were at. I graduated college at twenty-one. Sure, plenty of people do that and some are even younger, but still that's generally a little young.

Nowadays I find myself in so many different contexts and around so many different age groups. I used to have just one setting; now I have four or five. In some, I'm the older person. In others, I'm the younger person. In others, I think that I'm about the same age as the people around me--until I sit and think about it and remember that they're probably in their thirties and I'm still in my twenties. And then that makes me realize that in my head I'm nearly thirty but in actuality I'll only be twenty-seven this year and so I'm really only in my mid-twenties. And yet there I am so quick to consider myself already in my late twenties that I already think I'm just around the corner from thirty.

But I feel like I'm at that age where I do mentally align myself more with people in their early thirties than people in their early twenties. (Not, of course, to say that everyone is a certain way at a certain age. Of course there is variation among individuals; I just mean that in general certain things are more the case at certain ages than others.) People in their early twenties are still in that absorption stage: they're still looking bright-eyed at the world and taking it all in and feeling like there is so much in it for them. People in their early thirties have more of an idea of daily living.

I'm not, in saying that, trying to say that I'm all "responsible adult." (That is a completely separate concept.) I'm saying that I carry with me more of the mindset of the constant positives and negatives that are in life. Nothing will ever appear perfect and nothing will ever be all bad. Each day, you have your tasks to complete (literally and mentally) and your decisions to make. And I think it's that as you live more days, you become more aware of all of those days as a fabric. They all thread together to make one piece, so even if one seems to go over a bit rough it won't ruin the whole thing because there are all of those other pieces, too. It's what it all comes together to express that makes for the important part.

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