On the Delicate Art of Aging

Somehow, I have become old.

Personally, I do not feel old. In fact, I would certainly not consider myself old, regardless of how I feel. I’m 23. This is the “prime” time here. And that’s how I feel – like I’m in the prime of my life!

Unfortunately, Provo has struck with deadly stealth and cunning. I’m not the oldest of my roommates, but most of them are 19. I’m not the oldest in my ward, but I’m definitely one of the oldest. And a few days ago, I had a conversation with a roommate who was complaining about how awkward a party was. She described meeting her uncle’s brother there, and being royally creeped out being at a party with him. She felt he had no right to be there in the first place, because he was definitely too old to be at a college party. “How old is he?” I asked.

“27,” she said (with a slight shudder).

I looked at her for a second, then said, “Most of my friends are about that age. On average. Quite a few are older.”

The look of horror on her face was actually quite entertaining. It got better when she tried to salve my aging heart with the comment, “Well, everyone else there was about 19 or 20, so you know, he shouldn’t have been hanging around.”

The horror increased when I told her I had those friends back when I was 19 and 20 – in fact, that’s when I met most of them. Many of them are now buying homes and other such responsible, adult-like things. I got a similar reaction when I told another roommate (also 19) that I was going on a date Saturday with one of said friends. For some reason, anyone over 24 seems ancient to these girls. It seems quite odd to me; I’ve never really considered anybody “old” until they’re 40 – and even then, it’s just “too old for me to date,” not “genuinely old in a respect-the-elderly type of way.” Which might explain why I actually tend to hide my age to look older, not younger: I’ve found that sometimes even the “elderly” 27-year-old still holds weird paradigms for age boundaries, and doesn’t want to look creepy hanging out with “youngsters.”

Now I feel like I shouldn’t reveal my age lest my neighbors take pity on me and buy me a walker, or ask to see me pop out my dentures. If I start baking cookies, I may be tagged with a “granny” stigma. But there’s not much I can do at this point; the rent is cheap, and so is my paycheck. This is where I am, and this is where I will stay. With any luck, I can impart of my sage wisdom on the next generation before I fling down the curtain and join the choir invisible. ♣

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