In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m Asian. This means people automatically assume I’m good at math, bad at driving, and eat dog. It also means I’ll always look younger than I actually am.
While I have colleagues older than me, I work with a good amount of people who are fresh out of college. Most of who think I am still in my twenties. My favorite was “Holy shit I thought you were 22” (God bless you my child). Obviously, I’m flattered. Unfortunately, it’s also a tiny bit disconcerting because as soon as I’m told I look 27 I have to tell them I’m actually 34.
Then, I get self-conscious. Then, I’m embarrassed. Then, the anxiety kicks in. Then, I think of how much I haven’t accomplished in life. Then, I think of wrinkles. Then, I think of how I’m going to die sooner than later. Then, it’s pretty much a downward spiral from there. BUT WHY? Why can’t I just take a compliment for what it is – a compliment?
A big reason is because I grew up believing that I should be a certain way by the time I turned a certain age. According to my 21-year old self, by now I should be married with kids, a house, 2 dogs, and several house plants. If not, I should be living in some expensive sky rise apartment in the city ballin out of control thanks to a dream job that only allows me to date casually. Either way, I shouldn’t be getting drunk, going to clubs, or spending my money on frivolous things. That’s not what people my age do.
The truth is, age doesn’t change you (at least not mentally) – being in a relationship and having kids does. If you liked going out to the club and drinking when you were 25, chances are you’d still enjoy it when you’re 30. However, having a significant other makes certain aspects of clubbing pointless and having a kid means being responsible for someone else. And the only reason why the things you enjoyed when you were younger aren’t as appealing now, is because there are less people your age doing it. Chances are, a good amount of these people are either married, have kids, or both.
This post isn’t a way for me to justify my hangovers, nor is it saying that being married or a parent defines who you are. It’s actually a reminder for myself to stop feeling bad just because I’m not married like my one friend or have kids like my co-worker. Growing older doesn’t mean you turn into someone else, it means you may share a responsibility with someone else. And I’m pretty sure that future someone else of mine wouldn’t appreciate me throwing up into a potted plant.