Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's Just a Number

After that last post, I got to thinking about age and how life affects it.

I've never really felt my age, whatever it may be at the time. I've always mentally, subconsciously drifted towards a 'centerpoint' of life, sort of a grounding point, that seems to have a range but not really a number attached to it.

For example, when I was 13, mentally, I was older...more like 17. My friends were older, boyfriends were always older....I just always seemed to function in an age and maturity level that was greater than mine.

Then, when I got older and into my twenties and early thirties, mentally, I felt like I was 22. Always 22. It's like my mind's eye never went beyond that, even when I was much older. It's not that I hung out with people that age or that I liked the things that appealed to that age, it's just that my energy level never seemed to leave that age, and despite the outward trappings changing around me, mentally, I felt like I was still very young and spry.

Then when I hit 40, my grounding point seemed to move to age 27. 27 forever. I could see where I'd mentally aged up and beyond the forever 22 phase, but it stopped and stayed at 27 for a very, very long time. I just never felt older than that, despite what my birth certificate said.

Now, a bit over 40, I suddenly feel at least 35. I credit the recent trauma of the miscarriage with catapulting me mentally into another life phase. Mentally and emotionally, I just feel a bit zapped and fatigued in the aftermath of all that. It feels a bit like a life-defining moment. The sort of thing you start to refer to as 'before' the event vs. 'after' the event. It seems to mark something, and somehow I am forever changed.

I'm not sure how it's changed me yet. The fallout is still happening. I have days where I feel very normal with a returned energy level. And then there are days where I feel down, with a sort of sadness deep inside of me that I cannot explain, even to myself.

I've decided that it's not time that ages us, it's life's trauma that does it. I've been fortunate enough in my life to have suffered very little trauma (compared to a lot of people), and that has kept me from being robbed of my mental youth, energy and optimism. But the recent traumatic event certainly took some of it from me. And I understand how people who have been through a lot in their lives probably feel really, really old...despite their real age.

So how old do you feel? And why?


Miss Forthright said...

I can't quite believe I will be 28 this year- I don't feel nearly 30. So, I'll say I feel about 25. Old enough but not as old as I really am.

northern monkey said...

I think that's very true, our life experiences not only shape us but age us too.

I'm almost 35 (in a couple of weeks) but don't feel that old - it seems too mature for me so I guess I still feel 25

Girl With The Golden Touch said...

I'm 21 in a few months but all the people (bar about 2) that I hang around with are older, in their thirties. So while I don't feel 30+, I dont feel my ages either, I dont like hanging around with people my age and doing the things they do, I prefer it with the older ones!

SandDancer said...

I'm 32 (as I may have mentioned frequently as the date neared!). I feel younger though - probably about 25. I think it is mainly because I don't have children which allows me to led a (relatively) responsibility-free life and thus stay immature. Buying a flat made me a feel a bit more of a grown-up, but I still don't feel like a 'proper adult'.

M said...

I hope I never totally feel like a "proper" adult. That seems way too boring. :)