Everybody tells me…

…that when I get older I’ll appreciate the fact that apparently I look young for my age. As in, I’m in my early-to-mid thirties, and I still get carded sometimes. Just two years ago someone asked me if I was 18 yet. Right now it’s mostly bizarre and amusing.

Today it was my husband’s turn. The salesman at the door was probably thinking he was screwed as soon as he asked, “is your mom or dad home?” and my husband just said, “what?” and looked at him like he was a loon.

Age is such a wacky thing. You never know whether you’re likely to insult someone by thinking they’re younger than they are or older than they are. When you say that someone’s acting like a kid when they misbehave in Warcraft, you aren’t saying that all the folks who act like jerks are kids (far from it)–you’re just referring to concepts of maturity. I know some kids who are incredibly mature and “with it”–the two children of a friend of ours come to mind. They’re in their early teens, but I’d trust them to be more well-behaved than most of the adults I’ve met online. I’d still refer to them as “mature” though–not because kids are inherently ill-mannered, but simply because you learn more and more social context and manners as you grow up, generally speaking. Whether you choose to use them is another matter, but it does mean that adults are at least usually more capable of acting mature, even if they (all too often) choose not to.

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But, back to the positive and negative concepts of age. “Childish” and “childlike” seem so similar, yet have such different connotations. There are positive qualities associated with youth (spontaneity, flexibility of thought, a sense of wonder) just as there are positive qualities associated with age (wisdom, experience, education). There are also negative qualities associated with both: foolishness and immaturity vs. closed-mindedness and a jaded attitude, for example. And one’s age rarely directly correlates to a particular combination of these attributes–each person possesses his or her own unique blend.

Maybe that’s why I’m rarely bothered by it when people think I’m so young. It’s also why I’m rarely bothered by the thought that I’m actually nearing some of those age milestones that I’m told tend to freak people out. They might surprise me sometimes just because it’s always hard to imagine coming up on them, but they don’t make me feel as though my life is slipping away or any such thing. Maybe because inside, I’ve never really felt held down to a specific age. When asked how old I am, I usually have to stop and think about it because frankly, I’m never quite sure.

Anyway. Just a random musing for the day.

Oh, and since I noticed someone’s announcement of it on FARK earlier today–happy birthday Wil Wheaton.


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