Am I too mature for my own good? One of my college friends wrote that in the guestbook at the wedding, and I guess guestbooks are vague like emails (you know how people always say you have to be very careful what you write in an email because it's very easy to misinterpret someone's meaning? This is like that) because I couldn't tell if it was antagonistic or meant in a friendly way, or maybe a bit of both. Don't you just love the blurriness of old friendships?
Anyway, no matter how she meant it, I've been thinking about it. Everyone has always, always thought that I was older than I was, even when I was in elementary school. Part of that is that I've always been big for my age--in height and weight--but that's not all of it. I've always been that composed person. I've always been the diplomat. I've always been the rational one, the one other people come to for advice and perspective.
And I like giving it. I like that people view me as the stable, grounded one. I AM, for the most part, truly stable and grounded. I don't feel that I've been unfairly labeled, or misconstrued, or that I'm a square peg in a round hole or whatever else. I think that my friends' impression of me as grown up and reasonably objective and more or less organized is accurate.
At work people see me as composed. I don't make a habit of telling people my age, although I would certainly answer honestly if asked, and anyone who's seen my resume can pretty much figure it out from my college graduation date. But recently I was talking to one of my older coworkers about having to get a new passport in my married name (did you know that in the past when you changed your name, you could get a little notice of change of name added to your passport for free? But now, if you've had your passport for over a year, you have to get a brand new passport? And pay for it?). And I was saying how at least I'd had my passport for eight years out of the ten it was good for, and that at least I'd get a picture better than the terrible one of me at 16 that I currently have.
And I could SEE him doing the math. Seriously, I could almost watch the wheels turning in his head: Photo at 16 + 8 years of the passport = "Wait, you're only 24? REALLY?"
Yes, really. And it was meant as a compliment, and followed by a comment about how I have so much presence for someone so young, and I took it as a compliment. I was flattered. I am still flattered.
I do wonder how it looks from the outside. I was never a stereotypical college student. I was never out partying until dawn. I've never been drunk enough to puke. I was never terribly promiscuous. I can't look back and say "Oh, I'm so old--I just can't do it like I used to." Because I didn't used to. And I don't regret it.
I had fun in college. I cared more about my friends than about class, and I had a great time. When I graduated, I seriously enjoyed the year post-college that I spent living by myself. When I met Torsten, I told all my friends, and him, that I was going to take it slowly because I wasn't necessarily looking for a serious, long-term relationship. We all saw how that worked out. Two-plus years later and here I am, married at 24.
But I love it. I don't feel any regrets or longing for the wild youth I never had. I know that those of us who grew up stodgy and boring and always getting good grades and never doing anything that would horrify their parents--apparently we're supposed to turn rebellious late in the game, go back and live through the angsty youth long after most of our friends have grown up and moved on. But I'm just not feeling it.
I'm settling down. I have an amazing husband and a job that I very much enjoy. And I want to keep heading in that domestic direction. I want to have a house and a dog and, eventually, babies. (Speaking of which, Nilsa, yes please let's have our babies on the same timeline. I just can't remember what it's like to go through a major life milestone without you.)
So yes, I'm domestic, and unlike a lot of 24-year-olds that I know. Maybe that means that I'm too mature for my own good. But the flip side of that is that I know myself, and I know what I want, and I'm well on my way to getting it.
What about you? Do you think you're about on track for what's expected of people your age?