Tuesday, January 02, 2007

On Age

There are several cassette tapes of me recorded when I was young. This was my graduate student family's answer to most people's home movies. One of them records me, on or near my 5th birthday, being interviewed by my father. I discuss in a very serious voice my concerns about my readiness to take on the new age. I think this was the first year I'd noticed the correlation between age and maturity. I felt unfit to advance--no older than I'd felt as a four-year-old last week. I evaluated my actions and feelings and came up short.

Nearly ever since, however, I have felt older than my age. Sometimes only a year or two, sometimes many years. People generally assume I'm older than I am. Most of my friends are older than me, some a decade older. Now rather than coming up short in my behavior, I come up short in age. I desire a validity of years that continually eludes me.

I thought being in my 20s would provide my needed fix. I was a grown-up, a wife and a mother. But then I was thrilled to turn 30. I no longer had to be embarrassed that I was just in my 20s--practically a kid still. Now I'm pinning for my late 30s or even my 40s to be taken seriously as an established adult with experience and maybe even some wisdom. I can't say I'm excited about straggling grey hairs or the beginnings of crepe-y skin around my eyes and neck, but there is certainly a way in which it is something to be proud of, something to perhaps mention in conversation if the topic arises.

I suppose that for me the grass is always greener a few years older than my current age, odd as that sounds. But maybe that's a better vice than being continually in search of prolonged or returned youth. After all, I will get older. I need no fountain or elixir, only patience and time.

2 fishy comments:

Jenn said...

I have such mixed feelings about age. I know what you mean about wanting to be taken seriously, and how it seems like people would be more apt to do that if I proclaimed myself 38 or 43 or something. On the other hand, I can't help but being a little flattered when middle aged women at church are astounded that I have 5 children, since they'd assumed I was maybe 23 or 24 years old. However, I never hesitate to tell them that they're off by nearly a decade - since there's something shocking about a 24-yr-old with 5 children, LOL. Maybe what I'd really like is to BE older and LOOK younger than I am? LOL!!

Angie said...

Mina what a great perspective. I think I'm trapped in a weird state between wanting to be taken seriously as an "older wiser" person and wanting to regain the carefree, all-about-fun days of my younger years.

I'm not sure you remember me but I remember you :) I'm Angie, from Merrill 3200 hall from (oh. my. gosh.) 15 years ago! Found you on Jenn's page and she linked me up. Hope you don't mind!