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If you are feeling too old or too young, this is for you

As long as I remember, there always seemed to be something wrong with my age.

Too old or too young?

When I was 14, I wasn’t allowed to wear the clothes that I found cool and I felt too young to be taken serious. But I thought that when I turned 18, my life would suddenly start for real. At the age of 18, I did feel some sense of freedom, because I had moved out. However, I still seemed to be too young to get a real job or to travel alone. In my 20s, my image of myself started blurring. I realized more and more that growing up didn’t mean that I would magically figure out what I wanted in life. 

This realization caused me some confusion: Had my life already begun? Or did I even miss it?

So many people told me that teenage time was the best time in life and that I should enjoy it. Were they right and I had been waiting for life to start, while the best part of ist was already ending?

too old? no, enjoy life now

Copyright @Daniel Lindner

The magical number of 25

I comforted myself with the though that 25 ist the peak of physical development. Until then life would only become better. But I dreaded turning 26, because I saw it as the onset of decay.

Today I am 26 and I am starting to realize that my life has always been real. Every age feels different and brings its own advantages, I know that now. So, I stopped to compare myself to people younger or older than me. I feel that I don’t have to hang around in clubs every weekend in order to feel young. It seemes to me that I have found my ground and developed a feeling of who I really am and at the same time lost the urge to please everyone.

never too old

Enjoy the way you see life at every moment

Growing up doesn’t mean that you can’t hang on to activities and things you used to love.  But you start perceiving them differently. It’s quite impossible to unsee the emptiness of rituals like going out and getting drunk or sleeping in and playing video games all day long, while munching on some fruit loops.

 Yes, you can still do the things you used to love as a kid or as a teen, but you will not experience them in the way you used to. When I pick up my Gameboy nowadays, I don’t feel the excitement I felt as a kid. Just the memory of it like a bittersweet taste of nostalgia. On the other hand, I have started to enjoy things that I used to hate when I was younger. Like hiking, good food and sarcasm. 

When they start calling you “Miss”

Since I live in a German speaking country, other people let me know when they thought that I am an adult by referring to me in the polite form of  “You”. A distinction which doesn’t exist in modern English. However, every time I hear someone talk to me in such a polite way, I shiver and wonder: Do I really look like a grown up woman, who needs to be addressed like that? Sometimes I feel that I could as well be the kid rolling around in the sandbox, eating grass and dirt. The beauty of this is, that I can be both, if I chose it. We are never too old to play. 

Never too old

Numbers don’t matter, decisions do

 I guess, we are trying to give structure to our life by separating it into different ages. For that reason some numbers, like 18, 25, 30 and 40, gain a special meaning because they are considered the ending of a period and the starting point of another. Even though I feel very emotional about age, I know that those numbers don’t tell me much about my life. What matters to me is that I feel confident enough today to take decisions for my life. If I could give one advice to my younger self it would be: Don’t wait for the future to bring you more possibilities. Don’t miss out on living the life you want because you are feeling too old or too young. You are right now at the prefect age to discover a million things, which are meant to be discovered right now. Today is just as exciting as tomorrow

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Jurek Molnar
    May 11 at 9:43

    I am 45 and my personal experience is that the turning point in one’s life is the moment you have a family and have to take care for children. Everything you thought to know about life before is at best misleading if not utterly wrong. That’s not a question of age nor influenced by intellectual considerations, but the simple fact that it is not longer you and your needs which are important.
    The definitive line is the distinction between the point where you have children and the time before you had not. The reason is that today’s society allows people to extend their time to grow and to explore their potential. You can be 35 or even 40 and still living in the process to find out who you are. And this is one of the major advantages our societies provide. The constraints that regulated people’s lives and structured their decisions to have a job, to found a family and to pay into pension funds has considerably weakened. But the enormous amount of liberty and choice has at the same time the effect that more and more people are afraid of losing when they have to take responsibility.
    They are anxious that their life will be effectively over when it is not longer their search for personal completion that counts. And it is fortunately a choice. You can decide to go on like if you are 21 forever. It is possible. Society supports you to be like that.
    I have two children, a twelve year old son and a 9 year old daughter, and I can definitely say, there was a different life before they were born and there is a complete different now. Those who are afraid of it are right to be afraid, because it is not longer you and your needs that count. So, for all of you who do not have children or are sure that they don’t want to go into this: it is your choice. Enjoy.
    We, who took that responsibility know exactly what you have, but it is not the other way round. You will never find out what we have.

    • Reply
      Effi Lind
      May 11 at 17:30

      Thank you for your very deep and interesting comment! I totally agree with you, there is this point in life, where you either take responsibility for other people or you don’t. I can relate to how you described the fear of this change, I feel it myself. It’s a terrifying thought, having to take care of children and put their needs first most of the time.I am not sure, if I ever want to do this, but I guess that those questions and thoughts become pretty unimportant once you have a family. However, I appreciate your open mind, even though you have chosen to have a family, you don’t condemn people might chose a different path.

      • Reply
        Jurek Molnar
        May 12 at 10:26

        Thank you Effi.
        I have friends and colleagues who say: i don’t want to have children, because all my freedom and independence I struggled so hard for will be gone. And they are right. Freedom to travel, to meet people, to have intensive and satisfying relationships whenever you want to, is effectively over, and without proper support by parents, grand parents, other relatives, friends and neighbors you are stuck in this for years. So, I support people who are aware of the things they want to do or not. It is much better to make a conscious decision than trying to ignore it.
        And furthermore: what will it do to kids if their parents are angry and depressed about their lost opportunities? Some people are not made to become parents, they would only damage their offspring and that’s not the point.

        On the other hand: there is a lot of time to do party and hedonism and to deicide in your thirties about that topic. But it is important to know that family and children do not wait for you to be “ready”, because you are never ready and never prepared for an experience you make the first time. It is all about doing it, and when you do it, you are never ready. That’s what life is.

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