Remember when you were little, and listening to what the grown-ups were talking about after dinner was soooo boring?
Or remember in college when you would be around older siblings/cousins/TAs/whatever, and you were like “I’m so glad I’m still young and can have fun and don’t need to worry about things like IRAs and mortgages and babies?”
Last night we went out for a friend’s birthday, and while there was talk of upcoming concerts, and TV, and football (both American and soccer), there was definitely a lot of grown-up talk as well. People buying houses, changing jobs, looking for a good crèche.
And actually, I didn’t mind so much or find it boring. I must be a grown-up! When did that happen??
I gave lessons to a woman my first few years in France, and she was about 6-8 years older than me I think. I never asked her exact age, but she made reference to her 30th birthday when I was 23. I don’t remember if we were reading an article or discussing an expression like “mutton dressed as lamb” (still looking for a good French translation for that one) but she said she never felt the need to act or dress younger. She was totally fine with her age and was happy being an adult, being taken seriously at work, being able to do and have the things she wanted.
I, in my early twenties, smiled on the outside, and rolled my eyes on the inside thinking “yeah right, you’re just telling yourself that because it actually sucks getting older and you’re trying to reassure yourself.” (Well, I was thinking something similar to that, but less mean that it seems to have come out here.)
But now that I have reached my late twenties, I kind of understand what she meant. I wouldn’t say my “youth” is entirely over yet, but I don’t feel
any much fear or regret about getting older. I enjoyed a certain kind of fun a few years ago, now I enjoy a different kind. One that involves sleeping a lot more, but also staying in actual hotels when we travel and ordering drinks without worrying if we’ll have enough for dinner as well. Our conversation topics have changed a bit, but our friends have changed right along with us, so it’s not like we’re alone in this. And I think that’s what scares you when you’re younger, is that you see older people individually, and you think of your individual life compared to theirs. But by the time you’re that age, everyone you know is the same age too, and it’s not so scary. Everyone’s life is kind of the same. Yes, there is a moment of panic when that first friend buys a house/gets married/has a baby (which is an even bigger moment if you are the first!) but it all evens out after a few years.
It’s not comparing our lives to our friends’ lives really, more like, finding ourselves in similar situations. Just like in middle school, everyone had pimples and braces at some point. If you were the first, everyone noticed more, but then it was over sooner for you, and you could pass on your sage advice to your friends.
So as “boring” as a younger me would have found it, last night was a perfectly nice evening out with friends, talking about the things that interest us and what’s going on in our lives, just like we’ve always done.