It's always time for tea

Age Is But A Number

I turned 22 yesterday. I can’t believe how time flies. So, what is it like? Am I feeling 22 yet? Nope. I feel younger and I feel older but never my age.

I haven’t really been excited about my birthday since I turned 15. Sure, I like the attention, gifts and throwing parties, but I really don’t like aging. For some reason as a kid I used to think 14 was the ultimate age, the age you’d say you were when someone asked you online. Cool people age. So, needless to say, I was over the moon when I finally turned 14. But then I turned 15. And 16. By the time I turned 17, I thought: “whoa, hold it right there”. 17 was scary people age. 17 year olds  went out, drank, smoked, rode scooters… The “bad boys” my friends went out with were 17.  I didn’t feel like doing any of that so I didn’t feel like turning 17, at all.

This feeling never left me. “I’m turning … now, that’s the age of people that do this and that”. I feel like there are all kinds of expectations that come with certain ages. Like you’re supposed to have achieved, done, or acquired certain things by that age. It makes me feel nervous and pressured to achieve, do and acquire all those things. When people ask me around my birthday “do you feel (my age) yet?” I hear: “are you ready to achieve, do and acquire all the things you should now?”.

Turning 22 brings me dangerously close to an age where I feel like I should have the foundations of my life in order. Rent a nice apartment (the age for buying is 30, IMO), get married, have a steady income, start thinking about children… Not that I think people should have all of that by 22, but I worry about whether I’m doing everything right in order to get there quickly enough. And these are pretty big things, too.

A few conversations with friends recently made me realise that all of this is bogus. The only one setting these expectations for myself is me. I’m the one that thinks I should have my life well in order by the time I’m 25, in fact nobody else has ever suggested something like that to me. And since I’m the one making these rules, it’s up to me to disregard them. Let go of the self-induced pressure and just go with the flow of life. Realise I’m doing well and if things don’t go as fast as I generally envisioned, it’s no problem. Look around me and see how other people of my age in my social circle are actually doing. Know that it’s all going to be ok, and what am I even worried about.

I feel younger than 22, and it shocks me a little that I’ve made it to that age already. On the other hand, I’m a granny at heart and have always felt more mature than many people of my age and acted on that. This makes a funny mix and I honestly don’t know what age I feel and that’s ok, because age is but a number. So I’m going to put my kettle on the stove, heat up the oven and bake lots of treats for my friends to celebrate that I was born. Who cares how many years ago.


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11 thoughts on “Age Is But A Number”

  1. I really needed this. I'm currently 19 turning 20 in a few months and as my birthday grows closer I find myself being stressed out over all the things that I have to accomplish in the upcoming years. Thank you though. Now I feel a lot better about just following the flow of my own river. 🙂

  2. I totally get it! I've felt exactly that way since I was 18, but now I'm 23 and it's okay to not have a boyfriend or a job or my own apartment right now, but it would feel good to know that I would have all of that by the time I'm 30. I know I shouldn't worry about it, but sometimes I do ^^

  3. 20 was the scary age for me too (22 now). I guess it is just because it doesn't start with a '1' anymore… you are not a teenager anymore… you have to be more responsible for your decisions, etc.. 🙂
    Lucy, don't be afraid, things never turn out the way we expect. I believe that in the end everything will go to it's place and everything is just going to be fine! 🙂

  4. I turned 31 on the 21st, I'm married, have a child and still don't have everything in order 🙂 I'm learning that it's ok! Goals and plans are wonderful things to have, but sometimes if we focus too much on what we feel we should be doing by certain ages, those self imposed deadlines can make us miss out on so many amazing detours that may appear in our paths through life. It's wonderful that you are figuring that out now instead of later while looking back with regret. Enjoy 22!

  5. You know, we have a LOT in common there. Although I am waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy older than you, I *still* occasionally catch myself thinking that way. I guess it's the kind of people some of us are. I NEVER wanted to get married, yet got hitched when I was 24 (nope, not preggers, and yep, still married ;)! Saved up and bought our first place when we were about 30. I never wanted to own a house. But now, I prefer it to renting. I think some decisions are made for you, by fate, and you just roll with the punches. While I never really feared age (except 20, that was my "17" where I just had an odd feeling all the way around, not sure why), I always feel like I am not acting as I always thought you would at that certain age, or like what you should like etc. Always thought those people who tried sooo hard to act/look younger were pathetic, hence I am always worried somehow I end up like that, just inadvertently. Then I remind myself that I am me, and whatever it is that I would try to force would be against my nature.

  6. Happy birthday yesterday! I sort of agree, I don't know if I really ever feel my age either (I'm 28 today). And I definitely agree with you about the socially constructed milestones that people have to reach by certain ages – it's bogus! But I also think of a saying 'age is a privilege denied to many,' I'm grateful for each birthday, and I welcome each of them!

  7. I'm 29. I love growing older even through I used to hate it because I was afraid. I finally realized that I don't have to change if I don't want to and also…that I'm growing as a person and learning about life. Age no longer scares me. Soon I will be 30 and I am excited!

  8. Once again, a very good article. I have met during my studies people around twenty who have planned their life like a time table : finish study at twenty three, married the next year, with a job and a brand new house and then have children at twenty five. I personnaly found it creepy. Life is not a time table. It's inpredictible, that the scary AND the funny part of it. I'm now twenty six, my studies aren't finish ( I'm doignt a PhD thesis) , I still rent my place, and in the contrary, I have a very good friend who is married, got a house, a job and she's going to be a mother in a few months. It's ok for both of us. Ironically, when we were teenager, she didn't imagine that path for her at all, but life is full of surprises ^^

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