I honestly don’t consider myself to be old.
I make comments on my age, but in truth, I’m probably a pretty progressive/ open-minded thinker. I still cling to geeky, kid stuff like Transformers, candies, and cartoons.
Maybe my Mom said it best when she thought of herself still as that 20-something girl in an older body.
Her point is that inside, how we think and feel, doesn’t change much as we get older. Sure life experiences pile up, alter how and what we think. But deep down, our tastes and attitudes don’t change as much as some of us would like to think. So maybe that’s why it isn’t so much of a stretch for me to get along with and hang around people who are in their 20’s today, while I’m nearly 40.
With going back to college for my Pharmacy Technician course, I’ve met a bunch of new, fun, and cool people, most of which are in their early to mid 20’s. A couple of them are pretty hilarious, very geeky, and a lot of fun to be around. I can honestly say that some of the times we’ve hung out, outside of school, have been a blast.
But every so often, I’m reminded that there is a difference.
What I sometimes wonder is if it has more to do with me than actual age.
Maybe I was always older. I never was a party animal. I’ve never had a drink of booze in my life. I smoked for about a month when I was a kid, thanks to my siblings, but haven’t smoked since. At parties and get-togethers, I’m usually quiet, sitting and listening, interjecting into the conversation once in a while. Which usually draws the question “You ok?” or “Why so quiet?”. I guess I was, and am, considered a huge lame square by some.
Things is, I never had a desire to do those things. Maybe it was because I saw how people acted when they got drunk, or how they smelled after they smoked, or how disruptive and stupid they were just for the sake of getting attention. Maybe I didn’t want that kind of attention. Maybe I wanted or expected something better for those around me, for those I cared for. Maybe seeing them act the way they did disappointed me, angered me. I know people make mistakes, that’s understandable and forgivable. But self-induced stupidity isn’t a mistake, it’s, well, self-induced.
I guess that is part of being a teen and young adult. You whoop it up, do stupid things, and learn from one’s mistakes.
But I’m not a teen or young adult anymore.
Oh I still make mistakes. I definitely don’t have all the answers. But I try to hold myself up to a certain standard as best as anyone can. I expect my contemporaries and peers to do the same. Most are older than I, and know of responsibility. They have standards and live up to them. No one is perfect, of course, but at least they continue to try. Especially those who have kids, or teens, who see how their actions reflect on them.
But people in the 20’s probably aren’t there yet.
One thing I got as a teenager and young adult that was like everyone else was self-involvement. Everything was about me. If someone asked me to do something, I made it the biggest deal. It was interfering with my oh-so important life! How dare they ask me for something! During my first year of college, I forgot who I was. I ignored my friends in favor of shiny, brand new ones, who knew nothing of me from my past. I was quite self-involved. It was all about me, my college life, my new friends, and so on. The friends who stood by me, I barely saw them, if at all.
Towards the end of my first year of college, I learned the hard way who my true friends were, from the time before college, and those at college. I learned that despite being out of high school, and not being teenagers, there was still peer drama. The kind of drama I had blissfully avoided all through high school, and life in general. There was people who disliked others for no real reason. There were loud-mouthed morons. There were people whose friendship turned off and on depending on the time of day, their mood, or even saying something they misinterpreted. It turned out that college was no different from high school.
Skip ahead 20 years. I’m almost 40 years old, back in college, hanging around some very similar people as I knew in college.
Thankfully, I’m not who I was back then. Sadly, the allure of social group acceptance blinded me for a while. But thankfully, I recently realized what was going on and have snapped out of that. Age has given me one of the greatest things anyone can have, experience. As much as I enjoy my new friends, I won’t let them dictate who I talk to, despite their temper tantrums. If they think they should be the center of everyone’s universe, I’ll have to politely decline. And whatever drama or jealously they want to cause, I want no part of it. In a year, we may never see each other again. If we are true friends, like the ones I still remain in touch with from my previous college experience, then I will continue to enjoy and cherish their friendship.
But at my age, there’s only so much bullshit and immature, petty drama I’ll tolerate.
My policy for friends has been, and always will be, quality over quantity.
So maybe it isn’t an age thing. Maybe it’s just a quality-of-life thing. Life is so short. We take the important things for granted. We tolerate things and people we don’t always like or agree with because we want to seem a productive, sociable member of society. But if your honest with yourself, and civil with those that deserve civility, then you shouldn’t have to put up with anything you dislike.
Everyone deserves to have a good life, with no filler.