How Old Am I Again?

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!

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  1. Funny you post about this. My birthday is this Sunday! YIKES! I’ll be 32 and yes I feel like I’m still 22, although there are moments that help me remember I’m not that young. Okay, so maybe I’ll settle on 25.
    .-= Sara´s last post ..Speaking of Love =-.

  2. Amber, really, you have fabulous ideas for blog posts.

    You know, I really try to live in the moment. I try to be present & be in the NOW, but every now & then I catch myself feeling like I did when I was 20-something. Feeling almost like I still WAS (am?) 20-something. Then, I look in the mirror and say, wow, yeah, I’m nearly 35. Okay.

    I don’t yearn for that time back, because, as you said, we look back at our past through a really fuzzy lens. Usually one that’s rose tinted as well.
    But there are pieces of me I feel sometimes that I’ve left behind that I really didn’t intend to – that I’d like to get to know again & reincorporate into my present. It’s food for thought; thank you.


    PS: Love the photos.
    .-= kblogger´s last post ..Figuring Out Co-Sleeping and the Family Bed =-.

  3. It’s always such a stunner when someone else shares a feeling I have!!
    In my mind, I’m in my 30’s, and life is filled with possibilities. Chronologically, I’m 58.
    I can remember asking my beloved grandma the same question. She was in her late 60’s at the time, I think. She said she felt about 45. That was my first cllue that we don’t age all of a piece; parts of us age at different rates.
    .-= Trece´s last post ..Will this count for Eternity? =-.

  4. I really couldn’t tell you how old I feel in my mind. But that time-speed thing? Wow, it spins me out. Like, yesterday, I was at the dentist’s getting my twice-yearly cleaning and I was telling her that it felt like just last week that I’d been in!

  5. (somehow my post shows yesterday’s date… how can that be?)
    .-= Sara´s last post ..Speaking of Love =-.

  6. It’s funny you should mention this as it was a topic of conversation between and friend and I yesterday. I think time sped up for me when I had kids because I became so darn busy that I lost track of days, months, years…
    I recently posted about needing “living in the moment” more as it seems I’m so busy I move from task to task without stopping to smell the flowers along the way. But how old do I feel you ask….I’d have to say 25. That was the year everything came together for me, it was the year I became a responsible adult with a mortgage, a car and a full-time job. I was 28 when I had Madelyn and when I think about it – that was old! So yes, I’m also in denial about my age 🙂
    .-= Tanya´s last post ..Expectations of a new mom =-.

  7. Right there with ya. I’m about to turn forty — forty! I thought I’d feel like a grown-up by now. But I don’t. Last week I was mad at my Mommy.

    I do appreciate the fact that I’m not nearly as anxious and high-strung and easy to embarrass as I was in my twenties. Humiliating incidents turn into funny stories much faster at this age :).
    .-= allison´s last post ..****************March Broken =-.

  8. I’m 37 and I really don’t know how I got here so fast. I think I still feel 25 going on 26 because that is how old I was when I had my first child. It is only when I see myself in a mirror that I’m reminded that I too had to grow up.

  9. Cara Purita says:

    I have been thinking about this exact thing lately! For me it depends on the circumstances, when talking to my mother I most often feel about 12-15. That's a problem I need to correct! Generally though, I guess mid-twenties as well. And so often I even find myself thinking that people my age (34) look older than I do! (Not true, just older than I think of myself). It's not like my mid-twenties were some golden age either, so I wonder why I think of myself there? Somebody recently brought it to my attention that I graduated high school almost 20 years ago (well 17 actually) and that really brought it home for me. Also, I will have been with my husband for 19 years this July. How is that possible?? Am I really old enough for that? When I have a chance to stop and think about it, it even surprises me that I am a mother of 2! Wow– yes, you are not the only one out there who feels this way. I'm pretty sure we all do!

  10. eeep! right now i feel 102 but i have a nasty cold/chesty cough
    but usually my mental image of myself physically is at 21, the age i feel like i got everything together ie. confidence, career plan, finances, etc. was around 30 ….. then of course i had to muss it all up by having my first (and last) child at almost 40 which is well and truly screwing up an uncomplicated mid-life crisis for me! time is well and truly a mystery to me (and yes, my last blog post was on ageing too!)
    .-= pomomama aka ebbandflo´s last post ..signs of ageing =-.

  11. Some days I think I can’t possibly be 33, and some days I feel way older. And then I think about what my life was like when I was 23 and realize how much I’ve changed, so I guess I like to think I feel younger than I am, but maybe I don’t. Cuz that’s clear 😉

  12. Some days I feel like I’m barely 22, other days I feel my proper age of 37 — oops make that 38! Time does seem to be slipping by so much faster without noticible changes than it used to…. maybe that’s why? All in all I am happier than I was at 22, my life is more defined and together, I know what my life is about (kids, home, graphic design). BUT I forget those things very often and feel like a teen about to get into trouble when confronted with things like negotiating contracts or asking for help with something… why is that?
    .-= *pol´s last post ..Friendship =-.

  13. I think I feel 25 or 26, not 29. I would say younger, but there’s nothing like working with 17 and 18 year olds every day to give me a reality check about how old I really am. And truth be told I wouldn’t want to go back to an age under 20!
    .-= abbie´s last post ..Animals and Tractors! =-.

  14. I feel younger than I am too, but maybe because it’s in comparison to my own parents at the same age. I’m still much more active which may be a generational thing. I also apparently look much younger than I am, and the shock reaction when people hear that I’ll be 40 very soon is slowly but surely getting on my nerves – while my best year was when I was 23, I’ve always struggled with feeling that people didn’t take me seriously enough (I’ve always looked younger, at 30 I still sometimes had to proof I was 18) and while I want to stay young in spirit and activity level, I also long to be respected as someone who has a degree of experience due to her age if that makes sense.
    .-= cartside´s last post ..Hip hip hurray! =-.

  15. Every time I read your blog, I find we have more and more in common. I also graduated from university with my first degree at 24. I was engaged and married the same year. I was also the skinniest I have ever been in my life and I will never even come close to fitting my wedding dress again 🙂 Too much happened the year I turned 24 and I’m actually glad all that is over with.

    When I work or mommy around, I feel my age. When I go out shopping or to a movie, I feel like I’m in my late 20s. Weird? I of course don’t look my age and even though I’m in my 30s, I always get nervous about going to the liquor store to buy wine. But if most people don’t feel like their age, maybe their conception of their age is not realistic. Let’s face it people in their 40s are still quite immature and goofy. And look at the celebrities, they don’t dress their age at all! I know, that is a terrible example.
    .-= mommyingaround´s last post ..Fancy iPhone photo effects =-.

  16. I’m going to be 37 in a few months. Statistically, that puts me at the mid-point for the average life expectancy of a man. Yep, I’m charging to the grave…and I feel like I’m not just walking, I’m running.

    I still feel young but I can’t really attach a number to the feeling. I just know that even with a house, kids and everything else, I don’t feel like an “adult”.

  17. I feel my age most days. Especially when the kids are screaming and it’s hard to keep up. I’m only 30, so I’m mostly ok with that. What gets me is when I start thinking about things in the past. “Do you remember when ___? That was… 15 years ago?! Really?!” That’s weird.
    .-= C @ Kid Things´s last post ..Much Ado About Pudding =-.

  18. Great blog post with much food for thought. I hit the big 4-0 last year in chronological age but I know in my heart I am a happy 30-something. I still feel like much of my chance to grow up and get responsible is ahead of me, despite being a mom to a 6 & 9 yr old. Iève officially known my husband half my life now, which is strange. There are many days I feel physically 45 or something and I know gaining weight is much easier now than it used to be in my carefree 20s.

    Being your happy 24 is wonderful. There is no reason we have to be defined by the year that we are.
    .-= Pam´s last post ..Wordless Wednesday – Signs of Spring =-.

  19. First – those are some super cute pictures.

    Second – I struggle with this all the time. Sometimes I feel 100, and other days I feel like a child that nobody will ever take seriously. I’ll be 32 in May, and part of the time I cannot believe I’m only 32, but most of the time I think “THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING!!!!”

    I often long for the age of 24, but honestly, life sucked pretty hard for me back then. I was poor as hell, had no real job prospects, was dating an alcoholic loser who emotionally abused me nonstop all day every day, and I was tied to a “career” that cost me my whole livelihood without giving me a penny in return. Of course, I miss the freedom that I remember having, but I wasn’t really as free as I like to think I was. First of all, I had no money to be “free.”

    I just wish I could mix a bit of my current life with my past life. We didn’t really start getting our lives together until we found ourselves pregnant. I wish I’d had time to have my career, my money, my “stuff”, and my true freedom (which HH) before we saddled ourselves with kids. But, there’s no undoing that (not that I’d want to) so it just is what it is. Each day I’m trying to find a way to be accepting of the lightning speed my life is moving at, and stop trying to dig my heels into the past.
    .-= TheFeministBreeder´s last post ..Wordless Wednesday — VBAC Conference Style =-.

  20. Wow, we are almost exactly the same age. I also am staring down 34 (no no no I’m 33 still! 33!!!). I’m having a little bit of a problem accepting that I am in my 30s and that they’re racing by, even though I do feel 30-ish. I don’t really relate the same way to 20-somethings anymore.

    Part of my problem with acceptance is that I am surrounded by people all younger than I am. I keep getting comments like, “I really look up to you because you’re so wise,” and I want to scream. I’m 6 years older — come on!

    We were discussing in a group where people were when the Berlin Wall fell (I was there), and one member was quiet and then finally chimed in, “I wasn’t born yet.” Ugh. How am I friends with someone who wasn’t born yet in 1989?

    You know what I find really reassuring? Going on Facebook and visiting the profiles of all my H.S. and college friends. Because they’re EXACTLY where I am. They look like me. Their families look like mine. They’re doing what I’m doing. I feel relieved to know I’m part of a group moving through time at the same pace, that I’m not perpetually behind or ahead.
    .-= Lauren @ Hobo Mama´s last post ..Wordless Wednesday: Toddler collage =-.

  21. This makes me laugh. I do “feel” my age but I believe that I LOOK about 15 years younger. When I meet people I always think they are WAY older than me and that they look old. Only to find out time and time again that I’m actually way older than they are. But I really look 20, to everyone else, right? LOL A distorted age image? Like ageorexia?
    .-= AmberDusick´s last post ..Making a Deal =-.

  22. I feel about 24 too. What is it about that age? I think that was the age I really fell into who I am now. But of course I can’t really relate too much to many of the 24 year olds I meet now, but I do look back fondly on that year. Funny you writing this and reading some comments – I’m feeling really old because I’m actually 36! When my mom was 36 I was 16 so when I look at it this way I really feel my age.
    .-= Melodie´s last post ..Poems About The Joys of Breastfeeding =-.

  23. I don’t think about my age that often. The only time I really think about it is when I fill out a survey and have to tick-mark the 35+ box or when it’s my birthday. I think I feel 30-ish. Definitely not 20-ish. I’ve always felt older than my 20s – even when I was in them. I used to say that if reincarnation is true I’m on my fifth or sixth life. I’ve always felt just a little older than the rest. Not ancient mind you. Just older.

    PS. If you’re wondering I’m positive that my husband is on his first life. 😀
    .-= Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves´s last post ..Backyard Fun: Wednesday of Few Words =-.

  24. You and Jon are so adorable together, especially in that picture.

    I’m 39, and feeling stronger and smarter than I was in my 20’s. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know – but I’ll take it. 😉
    .-= Lady M´s last post ..Hostage to the Knock Knock Joke =-.

  25. 38. I certainly don’t “feel” 38, or maybe I do. What is 38 supposed to feel like? I don’t look my age. I never have. People actually ask to see some identification when I tell them my age. it gets old. Yes, I know. I look young. so I guess it sort of rubs on how i feel. talk to me in a years time when i will be a few months from 40. we’ll see what sort of crisis i am going through.
    .-= smothermother´s last post ..Not of the happy variety =-.

  26. I am 33 but think of myself as about 25.
    I am a teacher, and everyday I ask myself if I really know what I’m doing. 😉 It seems like I have just started teaching, but it’s been 10 years! I am no longer a “new” teacher by any stretch of the imagination, and am heading towards being a “seasoned” one.
    I don’t have any children. Maybe that makes a difference? It helps me stay in denial.

  27. Nice photos Amber. Personally, I’m glad not to be 24 anymore, and I think I feel as old as I am. But I’m not sure I can see myself older than this and aging.
    .-= Francesca´s last post ..Lovely junk =-.

  28. cypress sun says:

    the good thing about turning 40 (soon!) is that i now notice many women who have become more comfortable in their own skins (and do not need a mid-life crisis!) i didn’t notice them, Really notice them, until i got here.

    it’s simply frustrating how some factions of culture expect the “older woman” to dress older, act more mature…etc. those expectations are really just comparison milestones that we use to feel better or worse about themselves….and they are also, at best, ambiguous.

    i’m the odd one who actually felt incredibly old at 24. i thought life was over, i felt tired, and was unhealthy. life has actually become better w/every year!

    remind me to read this when i turn 40!

  29. cypress sun says:

    ourselves…not themselves. 🙂

    enjoy your 30s!

  30. Lol I feel like a baby now- I really am 24! Reading your blog I thought you were about the same age 🙂 I graduated from college and got married both during the summer I was 21. I have a hot pink coat I love but rarely wear because I’m afraid people won’t take me seriously-I always dress up to go to the pediatrician! I am also short (5’2″) so that also makes me look younger I think. But so far I love being 24 and a wife and a mom! I’m sure the years ahead will be fantastic too 🙂

  31. Hmmm… well I definitely don’t “feel” 36. Even typing it looks “weird” to me. lol! My mom was 36.. surely I can’t be 36. LOL!! I think most days I feel young.. early 20’s.. but there are some days when I feel like i’m 120. 😉

  32. I’m still 19. But, you know, I am a much better, happier person now than I was at 19.
    .-= Capital Mom´s last post ..Maple syrup =-.

  33. And … er … I’m 29 … yea .

    Now that I’m quite over 40, I wish I was 33. It seems like the perfect age to make a big life change.

    BTW, that photo of you and your husband – seriously, you look like a couple of teenagers at your high school prom!
    .-= harriet Fancott´s last post ..Are you worried about the future? =-.

  34. I can so relate to this. I’m 37, but really feel about 26 or 27. At most.

    Le sigh.
    .-= Dou-la-la´s last post ..Week (or so) in Review: Cesareans – and the MMR – on the rise, breastfeeding rates going down. =-.

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