What’s My Age Again?

23. I am 23 years old, soon to be 24 come April. Just by saying my age, I'm sure you already have preconceptions about where I am in my life. Some may be true, but some may be way off. This excellent product will last longer in the fridge, but doesn’t require refrigeration so can easily be taken traveling.

I'm a “”mature”” 23-year-old I've been told. I went to a good college, got a job shortly after graduating, and independently moved to the big city. I'm over the party scene and I much prefer a margarita while catching up with a friend and waking up well before noon on weekends as opposed to taking shots, staying out until 3am, and sleeping half the weekend away.

Does that make me mature? Perhaps. But that still doesn't change the number attached to my identity. My age doesn't bother me so much as how others respond to it. Even though I may be more on the same page as a woman in her late 20's/early 30's, someone who is older doesn't want to consider a 23-year-old at the same place in life. Therefore, I find myself at an interesting stage in my life in which I have trouble relating to people my own age, yet older girls don't want to accept me into their circle of friends.

What I also think is interesting about age is how it is used in recognition as well as being used as a defense. Career-wise, one may be considered bright, talented and ambitious as a young professional starting a career and working hard to perform well. “”She's doing so well for her age”” might be said. On the other hand, one's age is often the go-to excuse whenever a mistake occurs. “”She's young. She still has a lot to learn.”” We manipulate age to fit our own conceptions about how one that age should be.

What also baffles me is when someone older than myself makes a big deal out of 6, 4, even a 2-year age difference.

Fact: My boyfriend is si

x years older than me. Was I drawn to him because he looks 29? No, his age wasn't a factor so much as his level of maturity. What frustrates me is how many people judge our relationship based on our age difference. What most people don't realize, or they say they agree but still judge, is that guys and girls mature at different times, and a man 6+ years older might be perfectly compatible with a younger woman.

I shared my frustration with age with someone recently and she was quick to say, “”l prefer older men too. Six years is nothing.”” (My age complex has clearly left me feeling I need to defend why I'm dating an older guy, which is ridiculous in itself.) But then, in our next conversation topic when I started relaying a story about another friend who is our age she looked at me puzzled and clarified, “”Well, I'm 25.”” Really? You're going to pacify me that a six year gap between my bf and I is not big but then quickly point out that we're two years apart in age. That is the exact thing I'd like to confront with people. Why do we have so many double standards, rules and expectations when it comes to age?

Age is a number. After the laid out structure of high school, we all go through life at our own pace and on our own paths we carve out for ourselves. I might have the same work experience as a 27-year-old who simply started college and started working later. Is it right to automatically assume that that person is more wise and mature because they've been on this earth longer? Age doesn't get you a job, set your priorities straight, give you work ethics, or help you find a partner. It's all about experiences and speed of growth.

So, enough about age. You don't ask me mine, and I won't ask you yours.

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