01 July 2010


It's July! I'll be 27 in a couple weeks ... Not sure how I feel about that yet. 26 didn't seem that much different from 25, which was firmly in the mid-twenties, but 27 seems a step over into the territory of the late twenties, which is dangerously close to 30.
And though I resist as much as possible the age prejudices that our society expects of us (I generally feel insulted when people ask me if I'm 18, because I really think I'm more mature than that; and I guess it has something to do with the fact that I'm not so good at telling people's ages from how they look, and thus I generally go by how they act, and I expect other people to operate the same, which I recognize is folly), I am still somewhat daunted by 30.
Thirty seems to be some kind of magical age for women; the age when everything starts to slip from you. If you're not married by thirty, you never will be. If you're still single at thirty, god forbid, the dating pool thins out drastically, so we hear, and your prospects for happiness drop sharply. And, the worst crime of all, if you haven't had a child by age thirty, people will come out of the woodworks to remind you that you are in serious danger of passing your prime, and even at 26, I've heard of all the "dangers" of trying to bear children after, say, 35.
And though I am not yet convinced that having children is what I need to do with my life, I am a woman and a Cancer, and thus have both my biological clock and the stars nudging at me to have children, in addition to my society telling me that that is my role in life. And while I am currently in a relationship, I am not married (and not even certain that's what I need to do with my life right now), and thus I approach my late twenties with some amount of trepidation.

Back to age prejudice for a moment, because I want to relate something that happened to me at work. It was sometime in June, and one of my coworkers asked if "ya'll" had had your graduation yet (and I'm not entirely sure where she's from, nor am I too familiar with the various dialects that use the word 'ya'll', so I can't be sure if this was a usage of singular or plural 2nd person pronoun). I still have friends in college, so if she had asked me that a month earlier, I might not have been so confused, because I would have been thinking about college graduations. As it was, I was very confused, and didn't say anything, merely gave her a puzzled look. She said, "Oh, are you a junior?" I continued to look at her puzzledly, still completely blank, I guess because I didn't understand why she was asking about graduation in June. She said, "High school?"
Finally, I got it. And felt insulted, that she could think I had anything in the world in common with 17-year-olds. No offense to the 17-year-olds of the world (my little sister recently joined their ranks), but the difference between a basically adult maturity level and attitude and that of a teenager is huge, and no matter how young someone looks, you really ought to go with how they act.
I said, "I'm twenty-six."
And she didn't really apologize, but she did exclaim, Well, gosh, you look so young!, and I tried to get her to see my point of view, and she agreed that I was more mature than a 17-year-old. And she told me that her son/daughter (I don't remember which) felt the same way I did, but then dismissed both of our points of view to tell me (like I'd never heard it before), Oh you'll be grateful when you're older.
I can look at it now and say, Well, maybe at her age the maturity difference between a teenager and someone in their mid-twenties isn't really that great; maybe she looks at me the same way I look at the teenager, both of us saying, Really? That's what you're worrying about? Just you wait ...
And though I feel like my worries about health and money and insurance and jobs and housing are basically adult worries, maybe there is some difference that I will only know on the other side of, say, age thirty.
But I still think it's rude to completely dismiss someone's point of view and say, Oh, you'll feel differently later, as though that invalidates what you're feeling now.

Anyway, writing group is meeting tonight, which means I still have a couple little things I need to finish, so off I go. Love you all! Wish me happy birthday in a couple weeks! (It's July 18)

1 comment:

  1. Well, my mom didn't get married until after she was thirty, and she had me when she was thirty six, but then again, I don't think she (or any of us) have ever conformed to any societal norm. Hmm, I think I was trying to say don't stress it, just be the Rowan we all know and love? Something like that. Anyway. :)


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