“How Old Are You?” “Why Does It Matter?”

QOTD: How old are you? Do you personally think that age really matters? 

Sometimes I wish I could forget my age. Why are our lives measured so heavily upon how old we are, and not instead by the experiences we have been through and the amount of knowledge we have absorbed? I have conflicting feelings about my age…..I am 19 years old, but have always looked at least five years younger, which I tend to feel defensive about. (Bring on the kids’ menus!)

But then again, I wish I could I could forget that I am 19, because I don’t want to grow up. What does it mean to be grown up? Have a job, a family and independence? That certainly seems to be the norm definition. Yet, I have met quite a few young people and also children who were much more mature, more mentally independent and more self-aware than many grownups I have encountered. 

I’m not bashing adulthood, of course. I am merely approaching the question as to why age is such an influential factor in how we are perceived by others and how we see them. If someone knows your age, they automatically begin to judge you–either consciously or unconsciously–based on that. Oh, you’re 19? You must be in college because that’s where a lot of 19-year-olds are at your age. You’re 14? You don’t know understand what it means to be in love….you’re not “at that stage” yet. 

I am a naturally easygoing and positive person. I act very lighthearted and silly all the time, but that makes people further believe I am very young. I get told that I act very childish. Why? Is it because I am always cheerful and jocular, and don’t act like I have a care or worry in the world? Do they think I live a life through rose-colored glasses? No, I act those ways because I learned that even if things are going terribly for me, I won’t nearly feel half as bad if I keep a smile on my face. I have worries just like any other human being, but why is it that just because I don’t actively show or share my burdens with the people I interact with, I am perceived as a child? 

Today, I saw a man in his late 40’s in my history class. He is a college student.


6 responses to ““How Old Are You?” “Why Does It Matter?””

  1. Will Clayton says:

    Red Angel,

    Great post. I can’t help but think back to historic times when people often did not know their age. There were not the mechanisms to track things so thoroughly, nor a linear academic system to confine one by his or her age.

    Now, I think it is a convenient way for people to identify with or relate to another person quickly. Comparison is easily drawn between an acquaintance and your former self at that age or the experiences of others at that age. In that sense, age operates much like a stereotype, carrying all the frustrations inherently associated with it.

  2. Ndabe says:

    Hey Wendy, I think your blog raises some interesting questions. I totally agree that when you reach a certain age, it’s your experience that counts. I guess the idea is that age is accompanied by experience and so the general belief is that you can’t possibly comprehend things such as love if you’re 14. There’s truth to this, we tend to be more impulsive as youngsters, acting on our emotions without thinking things through. What is maturity? I wonder, it seems that it has this directly proportional relationship to rationality. Or maybe it is not being controlled by your emotions. But ignoring your heart’s desires is one of the most unwise things you can ever do. Sorry, I know I went on a bit of a tangent. But yeah, your blog has really evoked a lot of thought in my mind about this growing up thing. This is great stuff. I just think that no matter how old we get, we shouldn’t give up childish habits such as dreaming irrationally and being carefree to an extent. I think this can lead to amazing things.

  3. i think anyone who says you act very childish should consider reading your blog some time. :) i think you’re pretty mature.

    i’m 25 and people are always asking to see my i.d. saying “sorry, but you look really young.” they think i’m 17 i think.

  4. Saumya says:

    Argh, I know exactly how you feel and agree with you. Many people will think I’m “innocent” and “childlike” because I get happy from all these little things. I was so surprised to see how old you are! You’re way more mature than I was at your age and it must be frustrating to always have to explain your age. With the way you’re living, I’m sure you will be proving a lot of people wrong!!

  5. You have a great attitude. I agree that things don’t look half as bad if we try and keep a smile in place and think positive thoughts. I guess we’re programmed to judge people, which is maybe way the age thing matters so much.

  6. Kenon says:

    First off, I love your positive attitude! It is very hard to see people now and days of any age who will rather find something to smile bout every day instead of wasting time and energy being mad about something.

    I think the whole “assuming because of someone’s age” is usually unnecessary in today’s world. Young kids who are more mature then older adults, and older adults less independent than young adults. Everyone is literally different in their own way. There are few 21+- year olds around me (including myself) who own their own business, go to college full time, and work full time because we’re focused , instead of partying like “normal” college students.

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