Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. Kinda.

What is age?

This is an interesting question for me because I’m very much against age gaps in dating. I don’t even have age gaps in my friendships – all of my closest friends are within two to three years of me.

Flickr credit to: c a r a m e l

Part of the reason why I’m taking the question on is because I found two posts that discusses age and our expectations:

1. Power + Grace of: aging

2. A Burden of Expectations 

My addiction to the conversation around age is because I look really young. I’ve been getting the “you have a baby face” thing since I was sixteen. At least. When I was a sophomore in high school, people were telling me I looked twelve.

Self-Esteem: -1

Ouch is putting it mildly as I basically went through the rest of puberty being told how young I looked. I remember being at a relative’s house, standing next to my cousin who is four years younger than me (and significantly more attractive) and being told that she looks older, and I look younger.

Self-Esteem: -2 

It doesn’t help that I blamed my rail-thin figure as the leading cause for this nonsense. Many adult women – most well into their 40s – complimented me, telling me that I should be happy because when I’m older (re: their age) I’ll be happy. This comment seems to blatantly ignore how much of one’s self-esteem is tied up in how one looks – particularly to others. Having a high pitched voice and a face plastered with acne doesn’t help either.

Self-Esteem: -3 

Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve gotten the chance to meet a variety of people within the “Generation Y” sphere; from my age to those in their early 30s. And I’ve met the gamut: people my age who seem to be flourishing in their careers, relationships, blogs, or possessing such a wealth of information about a wide variety of topics I thought they were much older. I’ve met people older than me who seem to be in the same place as me emotionally, as we all struggle through this abyss called Life (or Hell – depending on who you asked). And there as just as many people in between.

The same thread seems to run through many of these people: We have no idea what we’re doing.

Currently, I only have three large focuses that take up a majority of my attention, and I’m trying to enjoy the process instead of longing for the finished product. And sometimes I think age is about that – longing for the finished product.

I recently found a post about the “perks” of dating older men, and the “reasons” they gave for it pertained to issues of being a finished product. A finished product is something (re: someone) that’s accomplished or experienced in certain things in life, so they “know” already.

This places an unseen burden on those of a specific age to have all the answers, to be at a specific point in our lives when this is simply not the case. Our life experiences can only pertain to our age when we discuss issues of pop culture: what movies we grew up on, the music we both loved and loathed, the latest fashion trends. And even then – it varies so wildly, as I’ve met many people my age who long for the 80s, 70s and 60s; eras we haven’t personally experienced.

To me, age is important, but it doesn’t pre-determine who we are, what we know or where we come from.

What do you think about age? 

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12 thoughts on “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. Kinda.

  1. Ah. Definitely heard the “you’ll be happy you look so young when you’re older” line a few too many times. It is what it is. I actually just (as in, yesterday) decided my lack of confidence in myself and my decisions is something I need to proactively work on. I’m not sure how…but I know I don’t want to keep feeling intimidated by people who look more polished, who act a little older, who seem more put together, etc. And with the acne thing, I often wish I could cut my face off, but I’m sure that would do little to alleviate the problem!
    In general, I think age really is just a number. Some 12-year-olds have more sense than some 22-year-olds, let’s be real, and that can be said for any age combination. I know couples where the woman is 10 years older, where the guy is 8 or 15 years older, and they all work. People are so unique. Expectations for a certain way people are supposed to be at a certain age can serve as a good starting point, but honestly…we’re all just too different!

    • Ah! That’s good – focusing on your confidence. Self-esteem is really important but it can be a hard thing to cultivate. It means always choosing yourself when it comes down to issues and problems. For the most part! LOL – at cutting off your face. I feel that way all the time! It would be cool to find some magic way to clear my skin up! It would be great if I could just wake up and VOILA!

      I find age expectations can be limiting and exhausting in some ways. It’s part of why I find conversations about “Gen Y” to be so frustrating because in many ways, it generalizes the experience of entire group of people. Even though we’re all the same age, we’re not a monolith! Argh.

  2. Hi Tatiana,

    It’s interesting to me that you wrote this because when I first started to read your blog, i was convinced that you were older than me, I am 28. Then somewhere in one of your posts you said something about your age and I was shocked. You write about mature issues in a very mature way, so my opinion on age stands as it always has – it is just a number.

    So many people think that they are old and I am guilty of it as well, but in reality, we are only as old as we let ourselves become. Someone wrote a post about suddenly being more afraid of flying as he gets older and I started to notice as well that I was afraid of certain things I used to have no fear of. We discussed that this new found fear comes with age and that we can ignore it and continue as we were.

    Age can do so many things we wish it not to, but one thing is for sure, with more age comes more wisdom, more experiences and more control over your future.

    This post gave me a lot to think about – thanks!!

    • Hey Julia!

      It’s good to see you here!! Oh wow, really? I haven’t heard that before? In real life, I tend to act much differently, especially around adults. So most people don’t say I’m “mature”. In fact, no one’s ever called my mature before, or suggested that I act older. But, there’s a stark disconnect between who I am and how I present myself. :-/

      I think that the fear associated with getting older might have something to do with the increasing fear of death. I have heard in a variety of places that young people and teens tend to feel invincible (though I’ve never felt that way before!) but as we get older, our mortality becomes more apparent to us. Especially when you think of how your body begins to break down through various means, illnesses and how your body isn’t a resilient as it was when you’re younger, etc. I suppose that’s why most people begin to feel “old” around 30 – perhaps this is when many of these things start to happen!? Or maybe because for a lot of people, youth is in your 20s and younger but once you’re older it’s like The End.

      Or something.

      Oh awesome I’m glad!! :D

  3. I think that looking young is a blessing. I hated it when I was younger but now I am grateful not because I think I get to hold on to my “beauty” longer but because I get a “pass” for not being a finished product for a bit longer. =) Actually, I really don’t think that if you are really trying to live your best life that you ever really do become a completely finished product.

    When I was in my early to late twenties I had my life way more together than I do now that I am approaching thirty-five. There are people in their fifties that have had “complete” lives then fall apart. There are people that spend all their youth enjoying then hit thirty and get it together. I hate that people think that experience or that certain experiences “go” with certain stAGES of life. Um. No. We all do it differently. Life changes and the best part of it is growing and learning from those changes.

    Yes, it is unfair to expect people of a certain age to be complete but I don’t think it is unfair to expect people of a certain age to know better. We all know better even when we aren’t doing better. That’s what this post left me thinking…

    ::hugs::

    • Oh hey Lidia-Anain! Thanks for stopping by! ^_^

      “Actually, I really don’t think that if you are really trying to live your best life that you ever really do become a completely finished product.”

      That’s true. I think that while we can gain loads of knowledge, we’ll never truly know everything. However, there’s definitely a premium placed on those who have a certain amount of life experience. I’m on the fence about this. I think that by being a certain age, you get a certain amount of life experience, I don’t think that certain thing are achieved at the same time – if at all. Like you said with the stages.

      I’m glad you stopped by! :D

      *hugs*

  4. This post makes me think of many things:

    1) Why are you so against relationships with people of different ages? I’ve been in many, and it’s been illuminating. At different life stages, people have different priorities, and that makes for fascinating conversation. As for your last link, I can attest to point #5.

    2) Some people think I’m older than I am, some think I’m younger. I think it depends quite a bit on what I’m wearing. I graduated from college when I was 22, which is younger than typical graduates in this country, so I have more work experience than locals of my age. And my experience is super random too, which throws people off a bit.

    3) My mother looks super young! She has great skin and lots of energy, and I hope that I got those genes. My grandma looks great too, and she writes me detailed, technical emails :)

    That’s all I can think of for now. Have a great day!

    • 1) My reasons are influenced by a complex array of low self-esteem and the idea that whatever I seek to find in a person, I can find in someone my age. Growing up, I was never the girl who hung out with people older or younger than her. I’ve always been closest with people my age (within a year or so). The only time the exception took place was when I was in 6th grade and had a group of female friends in the 7/8th grade. After that though, I wasn’t the girl mourning the lack of maturity in my age group. Since I’ve begun blogging, I’ve been able to meet loads of awesome people, most of them older than me. This might be part of my presentation – how I act in real life is somewhat different than how I am perceived online. I am plagued with insecurities and feel as if I can’t hold conversations with people. It’s difficult for me to talk about my ideas – so writing them down is TEN times easier for me.

      All that being said, as it stands I wouldn’t entertain the idea of being with someone older than me. If someone who was almost thirty wanted to be with me, I’d be taken aback because I couldn’t understand what they saw in me. In terms of sex, I’m not so sure. I’ve read how women, when they get to 40, have loads of great sex, but I don’t know why it’s 40. o.O

      2) What country are you from? In the States, 22 is about the age most people graduate at.

      3) Ironically, many women in my family look younger than they are and are very vibrant.

      Haha. Thanks for stopping by! :D

  5. My boyfriend is 5 years older than me, but sometimes he feels much older because he is really 9 years ahead of me professionally since he didn’t go to college, and then others he feels not so much older because he has almost 0 savings whereas my parents have helped me save and invest since I was a baby.

    And then, sometimes I feel totally, utterly lost, which makes me feel young. But I’ve heard so many people my mother’s age say things like, “in my head I’m still 23″ that I think, maybe everyone feels this way. At least any time we step out of our comfort zone, which if we’re really living should probably be fairly often.

    • Harriet – yay! :D

      “But I’ve heard so many people my mother’s age say things like, “in my head I’m still 23″ that I think, maybe everyone feels this way. At least any time we step out of our comfort zone, which if we’re really living should probably be fairly often.”

      I think that that makes sense to me. I think part of that might be about expectations – how our mentalities and life experiences are supposed to match up with our age. I definitely feel that I’m like a teenager. When adults speak to me, and make comments about my appearance and body type I feel younger, and powerless. It’s part of the reason why I don’t call myself an “adult” although many people my age too. I simply don’t FEEL like one, and feel as if I’m still a teenager in many ways. :/

      Thanks for stopping by! :D

  6. A person came to the door the other day selling lawn services. He was about my age (late 20s early 30s) and when I answered it, he asked me if my parents were home.

    I wanted to say, “I’m 28 years old!! What do you mean, where are my parents?” Instead I just told him we didn’t need his services and tried to keep my dog from barking.

    I guess it’s better to be mistaken for a teenager than it is to be mistaken for an old maid? ;-)

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