I’m 32. I’m not ashamed to admit that now. Maybe it was because I recently worked with teenagers, but turning 30 felt really OLD. However, I think that uprooting my life a couple of months ago has helped me come to grips with my age.. and not just coming to grips, but accepting it… and possibly even celebrating it. Ok, maybe not yet…
I’ve always had a hang up about age. I think it’s because I’m the youngest of four. Though they didn’t realize it, my older siblings provided me with age benchmarks… as I reached certain ages, I would compare myself to where they were at that particular age. And I always felt behind somehow. My brother is 11 years older than me…. when he was 18, he seemed ANCIENT to me… like he was a grown-up or something. When I reached 18, I still felt like a child.
So that’s how I spent my 20s… comparing myself to others… and questioning myself. Is this what 23 should be? (Because it sucks). Is this how I should look at 26? How much should I be dating? Do I dress like an adult? Am I an adult?? I looked around a peers who were married and having kids. And even though I didn’t necessarily want those things, I wondered why I didn’t have them (yes, I’m aware of the crazy there). I lived on my own, took care of myself, paid my bills… but I couldn’t help but feel that I was behind somehow.
As I prepared to move to a new city and start over with a new career (that has yet to be determined), the comparisons began again. Generally, other people my age are well-established in careers and have moved up the proverbial ladder… and though I have been employed since the age of 21, I’m still looking at jobs that require a few years of industry specific experience. It’s like I’m back at the starting line when I should be a few hurdles ahead.
However… I’m feeling less and less like I’ve gotten a late start on things. I’ve been able to visit NYC twice since my OC exit and I’ve had this overwhelming and relieving feeling that I’m on the right path. I think the magic of NYC is opportunity… potential… possibility. I have the chance to make my life the way I always imagined it… who cares how old I am? (Incidentally, on my last visit to the city, a waiter thought I looked no older than 24… so suck it, 32).
SO I’m jobless, homeless (at least in NYC), single… and 32. And that’s ok. I’ll probably still compare myself to others… but I’ll make a conscious effort not to. What’s the point? I’m doing all of this for me… not my peers, or anyone else for that matter. This is my reinvention.
At least I don’t look 32… whatever that means.
Blog title song: “Oedipus” by Regina Spektor