January 10, 2012

Don't Judge a Book by its Publication Date

Is it just me or have you ever felt like you were being unfairly judged because of your age? I feel like I am constantly being told that I am too young to do something I want to do or too old to act a certain way (since when is public dancing so frowned upon?!). In my opinion, age is pretty irrelevant. With age does not necessarily come wisdom or maturity. Being young doesn't necessarily mean that you're ignorant or endlessly energetic. I'm pretty sure the only guarantee with age is that the older you are the more wrinkles you have on your face, and even that can be corrected with a good hit of Botox every now and again.

Truthfully, in our current society our age determines a lot. For example, a child normally goes to school when they are 4 or 5, not when they "seem ready or able to learn". This, along with other things of course, is probably responsible for the fact that many kids have a hard time keeping up in class. In the same manner, age determines when we can drive, when we can drink, when we can work, and even what kind of insurance we get. 

The premise is that the older we are, the better decisions we make. I'm not in any way advocating handing the keys to a 5 year old, but I am saying that I have seen a few people driving in a way that is not much better than what a pre-schooler could muster up from sitting on top of a stack of books on the driver's seat.

Having been recently initiated myself into the 21+ group, I thought that the seemingly endless wait for 21 would be the last time that age was an issue. If I can go into any bar I want, I can do anything I want... right? Wrong. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Now that no doors are closed to me by the law, it means that I have to close them myself. I have to choose if I want to "act 21" and go out all the time and celebrate legal debauchery or if I want to go to bed early and be rested for work tomorrow like most working-age people do.
I am too young to be married, too young to have kids (as you can see from this blog, that is something I think about a lot and really the time in my life I'm most excited about), and too young to know what life is meant to be about. I am too old, however, to be carefree and think about the future in a "whatever happens, happens" kinda way. In essence, I'm too young to be taken seriously but too old to not care about being taken seriously. It's true, and it's awkward.

Sometimes age can be an advantage, too - especially youth. I would be lying if I said that I never used the fact that I am young in order to get a favor or get out of an awkward situation by "playing arrogant" (that sounds better than playing dumb, right?). Sometimes I like that I have this tool, but often I am offended when I am treated this way. I'm pretty smart. I did my homework for 16 years and kept my eyes and ears open in between assignments. So, yes, I do know what you mean by "budgeting" or "strategizing".

Does everyone feel like this at 21? I don't know. I think that compared to many of my peers I'm a bit calm and pretty focused on the later rather than the now. I try really hard, I'm a fast learner, and, even though I have the spirit of a giddy 6 year old girl, I want to be known more for my brains and my ideas than my wrinkle-free skin and perky 21-year-old boobs. But you wouldn't know that by looking at my ID.

Have you ever felt unfairly judged because of your age? Do you use your age to your advantage in any way?


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