Age is such a concrete number yet so ambiguous. I mean, have you ever really felt your age? I'm not talking about when you've worked out hard, painted the house or did yard work and you're feeling the creak in your bones. I'm talking about going through life and feeling you're as old as you are.
When I was a teen, adults marveled at how mature I was, but I think I stopped maturing somewhere between 18 and 24. Because I really have never felt any older than that and still don't. Not in my head, heart and soul. I certainly don't feel like I celebrated my, er, um, 40th birthday last July.
Lots of people like to remind me, though. Especially my kids. They often ask me if I'm Amadis or drank angel blood and stopped aging at 30 because they think I look so young, but they also don't let the opportunity to call me old slip by.
I went to the eye doctor this week, he sat me down and gave me "the talk" - the bifocal talk. Kind of like this:
"I'm not saying you're old or you need bifocals or anything," he said.
You better not be if you value your life! I said with a chuckle, "That's good."
"I just need to be prudent and bring it up because you did turn 40 this year." (Yes, he whispered it.) "The time's going to come when you'll be doing this --" he lifted his glasses off his nose to peer at the paper in his hand "-- or this --" he held the paper out at arm's length.
"I've been fine reading so far," I said. "And trust me - I read a lot."
"I'm just warning you. It's natural. It's going to happen."
"Um. Okay." Not to me! Not for another 10 or 20 years! "I'll watch for it."
And then there's my aunt who, every time I say I'm warm (because it was 83 degrees on Christmas day and the oven was on and the A/C off), thinks I'm in peri-menopause.
But what's really making me feel ... well, not old, but more mature for sure ... is social networking. Not the technology or "what's the point in telling the world what you're doing every hour" kind of thing. I'm down with all that. It's what people in their twenties choose to post about that has me shaking my head. And again, it's not the language or the risque pictures or anything of the sort.
It's the posts about career decisions that change every month and because writing is a public career, these young peeps are sharing their bad and wishy-washy choices with the world. Or it's why a certain retailer, website or service provider is doing a really crappy job of whatever they're doing when that company could make or break their career. Or it's complaining about the very people who support their chosen career - readers and bloggers! Or support their hobby (for bloggers) - publishers and authors who provide free books.
And I find myself thinking, "Oh, girlfriend, you really shouldn't have said that." There's no hard and fast rule for why not, just experience speaking. Which makes me realize I've gained that experience over the years - years that add up and make me my age.
So, yeah, I suppose every once in a while I do feel my age. But that's in a good way. I guess one of those reasons my "older" friends (who have been in their 40s for a year or more) say this is the best decade. You've already made most of those mistakes and learned from them.
As for the doctor and my aunt ... they can bite me. (*I say as I'm frequently checking to see if I can read better without my glasses or peeking at articles about peri-menopause.)
Do you feel your age? What really makes you realize you're not as young as you used to be? I mean, even if you're in your 20s, you can look at people younger than you and shake your head. What makes you do so?