Young and Aspiring.

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.

Tell tale sign I am not as youthful as one may think: I can no longer drink vodka straight.

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.

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One thought on “Young and Aspiring.

  1. This will be something that stays with everyone for the rest of their life – there is always someone older/younger, worse/better off in your midst to mistake a comment or conversation topic as an invitation to share their memories or experience…

    I suppose in a way (if we remember in time – that is, before we get carried away with wistful recollections of our similar experiences), we can only hope that as the older person we don’t have the same effect on someone else on a different day.

    Self confidence and a certain appreciation of other peoples mistakes and experience is useful in some circumstances, we as humans learn instinctively by watching others before us. We judge if their decisions were sound and choose to replicate or amend – it is a style of social learning that is well documented (Albert Bandura) and so, for all it’s annoying and at times painful polite smiles and silent grimaces, I have personally concluded that people do not always realise the effect of their shared memories, helpful advice or comments. Some people are patronising on purpose but most of the time they are innocent of intent, rather falling into a spiral that is at times difficult to pull yourself out of. We do it by mistake, unwittingly stumbling upon a slightly red if not raw nerve, alternatively the conversation although apparently two way is actually two separate conversations – one side reminiscing the other trying in vain to politely ‘not take offence’.

    I forgive them, so that one day when I return from an innocent chat with a person that is younger or less experienced I don’t have a nagging thought in the back of your mind that maybe you just made the mistake you hated others for. Instead I hope that my chitter chatter is taken as just that random chatter.

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