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?
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.
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.
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