When I Was Older and Wiser

Q: How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

A:  Age has always been something that has kind of confused me.  In a culture where youth itself is idolized but young people are encouraged by the media to dress, think & act as adults I'm often a bit dizzy. 

It's next to impossible for me to look at an individual and accurately guess their age.  This I blame on my own family's seemingly non-existent or at the very least slllllllllooooooow moving aging process.  It's true.  Maybe it's our oily skin, but we're constantly getting the, "No way you're (insert age here)," comment.  Or perhaps it's that we all act like a bunch of children that throws people off... that's probably a whole other post.  Or perhaps it's a discussion to be had with my analyst.

All that physical aging stuff aside, I always felt much older than I was.  Maybe it's because I'm an only child and my parents talked to me like I was an adult from a pretty early age.  Maybe it's because I had a false sense of just how much I knew and just how mature I really was.  But, I really didn't ever feel like I was a "little kid".  I've felt old mentally ever since I was young physically.  I spent a LOT of time trying to convince others exactly how old I really was in spite of my appearance.

(me when I was older and wiser)

There was a distinct moment however when I realized that my physical aging had caught up to where I felt like my mental age had always been.  I used to volunteer at a High School.  I did the choreography for their annual musicals and occasionally forged (appropriate) friendships with the students.  One of the dancers had gotten tickets to an InSync concert and knew that I was a fan.  STOP JUDGING, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IS IMMENSELY TALENTED.  She came to me and said, "Will you go to the concert with me? My Mom will only let me go if I bring an adult."  I was so ecstatic, and I wondered what "adult" we could talk into taking us.  Then it hit me.  I was the chaperon.  I was the adult.  Finally!

Now, to answer the question...  That cliché, "age is just a number" is a cliché for a reason.  Age IS just a number.  I feel much younger now than I ever felt when I really was young.  Now I look in the mirror at my 30 something self and wonder, 'How it is that I'm considered a responsible adult?"  I've been given a mortgage.  They let me drive a car.  I'm encouraged to vote and make decisions with lasting effect on myself and others.  I can stay out as late as I want, eat whatever I want and choose who I want to associate with and when.  Now that I've been given all the responsibility (that I thought I was mature enough to handle 20 something years ago) there are days that I think to myself, "How did this happen? Am I really prepared for all of this?"

Most days I feel like what I imagine an 18 year old would feel like.  I've got all this freedom and I'm considered an "adult", but I'm just making things up as I go along.  And regardless of number, I feel years younger than I did when I was a child.  I guess it takes a lot of living and learning to understand how little you actually know. 

Your turn, how old do you feel?

As part of my Day Zero Challenge, I've pledged to answer 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. Today I began my mind opening journey by tackling question number one.  For more information or to answer the questions yourself visit Marc & Angel Hack Life.