Saturday, 21 August 2010

On Reaching Old Age

My perception of nineteen years is perhaps a little out of place. I see a young lady old enough to be invited into the intricate scramble of real life, but without the experience to see what's going on, never mind to participate meaningfully. It seems to me that it is an age of being watched and evaluated. If nineteen years is sweet, idealistic and thoughtful, she'll be accepted into the core of the 'social web'. If she's childish, foolish and thoughtless, she'll be condemned to run around the outside until she can make up for it. (I think his is part of the way I tend to see life as a mosaic of stories.)

Of course, I can see that it's largely nonsense. Nobody's evaluating me any harder than they were a week ago. I think there's a grain of truth in the realisation that we're not children any more--each birthday in the last few years has been a realisation of that, really. And because that scares us, we exaggerate to the point of silliness and call it 'old age'. It's easier than admitting that 'Mommy, I want to go home' isn't an option any more. Easier than saying 'going to live away from home for university will be hard, but maybe exciting too'. Easier than trying to be serious about it.

Maybe that's a good thing. I don't think birthdays are meant to be about solemn reflection and introspection. They're about fun. About discovering awesome friends who pass birthday cards around the class collecting messages. About classmates who put
∫ex2dx Hope your day is integrated by parts!
on said birthday cards. (Um, weak nerd jokes for the win?) About wearing a knee length dress even though the weather seems to have forgotten that deal we had--the one about Spring.

A few days later is the time to think that the last nineteen years have been pretty good, on the whole. That I'm blessed with a bunch of friends who can make my birthday something special. And perhaps that somewhere along the line I have actually made the transition from seeing myself as a gangling girl to being a very young lady. It appears that I am, after all, growing up. (Although apparently this doesn't prevent me from writing entirely self-centred blog posts and foisting them upon the world. ;P)

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