At twenty-one, I am criticised for being too young, yet I am too old to be down with the kids. They say your teenage years is about identifying yourself and evolving into a well-rounded grown up, but evidently this continues long into your twenties and thirties. For some, they may never reach that stage of maturity.
It is almost impossible to use expressions such as ‘when I was younger’ or ‘I feel like I am aging’, without an elder reminiscing their youth, dismissing your reasons for feeling like this, in an almost superior fashion. Similarly, when one frets over something, be it money, renting, jobs etc, an elder once again chirps in with some unhelpful remark of how they have ‘been there, done that’ and how we ‘have it all to come’. This line of conversation seems acceptable for most, but if I were to reverse the situation and make a comment about the other being ‘over the hill’, this would be outrageous.
Whilst I should also be dismissive and use this opportunity to embrace my youth, I am simply not that youthful anymore. I can no longer attend Taking Back Sunday gigs, barging my way to the front in hope of catching a used towel or some sort of memorabilia, only to be pressed against a barrier and kicked in the head by a crowd surfer. It is just not viable.
I have a baby, husband, a full-time job and bills to pay, such responsibilities should equate to some kind of respect. Marriage is usually held in high regard amongst elders, so I often refer to myself as ‘Mrs’ over the phone or in emails as I receive such a welcoming response, in contrast to when I was ‘Miss’ or when someone meets me in person and immediately judges me because of my age. Despite this, I do not believe that it is wholly these stages in life which makes one mature. It is the ability release yourself from your past; whether it be, what went wrong in your childhood or the idolisation of your parents/role models, from one extremity to another.
I cannot say I have matured in entirety, but I do believe my focus and drive has ameliorated from my early years. I will continue battling with myself, torn between reminiscing my youth and careering my family and I into a life full of riches.