I am currently 33 years old, and I will turn 34 in around 6 weeks or so. But in my mind I don’t feel like a woman who is about to be 34 years old. In my mind, I am about 10 years younger, perpetually 24 years old.
Many of us feel this way, I think. The lovely PoMo Mama said that she is still 21 in her mind. I remember Shelagh Rogers saying that she thinks of herself as being around 19 during one of her radio shows. It can be hard to accept that you are actually an adult, and not even a young one.
There were a few things I liked about being 24. That was the year that I was engaged, the year that I graduated from university, the year that I started working in a real full-time job. I bought my first car, which I am still driving today. I adopted my first pet, my lovely little guinea pig Tilly. I lived on my own in a one-bedroom apartment in a neighbourhood that I loved. There was an independence and a hopefulness to that time that I didn’t appreciate then, but I do now, in retrospect.
Many decades from now, as I survey my life, I’m not sure what I will consider the best time. If it will be that year that I was 24, or the years when my children were small, or the year that the last of them finally moved out at the tender age of 32. I think there’s a little bit of danger in waxing poetic about your own past, to be perfectly honest. We often remember the good and don’t remember the not-so-good. We soften the edges and blur the lines and start saying things like, “Back in my day, we never forgot to floss because we valued oral hygiene!” While reflecting can be lovely, we need to keep in mind that our memories have a tendency to be selective and are not always completely accurate.
My happy memories of being 24 are not the only reason that I think of myself as still being that age. I suspect I really feel that way because with every passing year time just seems to speed up. It races by at ever faster rates, months and years and decades adding up at an alarming pace. I realize that the last time that I visited a local landmark was 15 years ago, but it feels like yesterday. I realize that it was 20 years ago that a certain photo of me was taken, and I can’t believe it. And so I can’t entirely fathom that I am staring down my mid-30s, and before I know it I will be staring down a number that is much bigger, still. Where has the time gone, and why is it speeding up? I really wish I knew the answer.
As I said, I don’t think that I’m the only one who feels this way. So, tell me, how old do you feel in your mind? Is it younger than you currently are, or older, or exactly the same age? I would love to know!