I don’t think about getting older. I never do. I don’t ever picture myself with wrinkles, nor do I linger over thoughts of me advancing past the age of thirty. In my mind, the topic of aging remains in the depths of my cerebral. So I say this with a grain of salt as I circle the sun for the twenty-third time this year.
I feel old.
It’s silly, it’s a tremendous statement to make for someone who has yet to graze past the mid-twenties mark. What did I even know about growing older? Have twenty-three years on this blue dot given me the expertise to educate anyone on the matter of aging?
No, it hasn’t. I’d like to believe that it has, but this past summer has proven me wrong.
After spending a couple of weeks with my older cousin and her friends this summer, I found myself surrounded with remarks like, “You’re soooo young!” “You’re still in university? That was such a great time in my life!” or my very favourite, “You have to cherish your time while you’re still young!”
Suddenly, I felt lucky to be the age that I was. It came out of nowhere. Months of me dreading my twenty-third birthday vanished. My senior year left me branded with the feeling of being ‘old-er’. But through the eyes of my cousin and her friends, I was full of life and adventure. I was young. To them, everything was just beginning for me.
This rush of feeling young again came at me with a surprise. Was I really that young to them? Why was the weight of my age bringing me down? Why was I so fucking obsessed to not be labeled as ‘old’?
For crying out loud, why was our culture consumed with the everlasting fountain of youth? It’s like we don’t believe in the numbers past forty or fifty. We discriminate against anyone growing older while we blow out our birthday candles. We seek out surgery to diminish any presence of age.
Days before leaving the warm embrace of my cousin. I asked her, “Don’t you miss being in your twenties?”
She laughed, “No.”
“It’s silly that everyone is so desperate to cling on to their youth. Like it’s wrong to be old. I was so insecure during my twenties. I never want that again. I questioned everything and everyone around me. But, I don’t feel that way anymore. I’ve grown up. You’re wasting no one’s time but your own when you worry about growing older.”