How old am I?!

Earlier this week I went to the cinema to see Perks of being a Wallflower, with my sister. She’s 18, and I’m 23. We both got charged for Teen tickets…meaning that the ticket seller girl thought I was between the ages of 13 and 18.

Ouch.

Yes, it meant that the ticket was £1.65 cheaper (I bought popcorn with the saving) but really?? I am twenty-three.

This is not the first of my mistaken-age situations.

When I went to the States earlier in the year, the check-in attendant at Heathrow asked me if I was “an unaccompanied minor”. I checked out the airline, and they class these as under-16. At the time I was 22, so he thought I was at least eight years younger than that. Of course, I just smiled sweetly and said “no, I’m 22”, at which point he looked mortified and apologised profusely. [My mum said I should have said yes, and then I might have got crayons and a colouring book on the plane]

But seriously, almost everyone I introduce myself to thinks that I am way younger than I actually am, which can get quite annoying. I also think that I lose some professional credibility – when I went to a training conference last week and introduced myself to some people in one of my groups, all of them thought I must be a Youth Club Worker or something similar; when I said my actual job title there was a lot of “oh really? But you’re so young!” to the point where I actually felt like just calling myself a Youth Worker because it seemed more acceptable, and less like hassle.

I know, it’s dumb.

On the flip side of this, people that know me often think I’m older than I am. I sometimes joke that I’ve been middle-aged since I was 13…but I think in some way it’s true; my life has been so full of chaos and drama that I feel sometimes like I’ve already lived a whole life. I definitely think I’ve had more than my ‘fair share’ of angst growing up, which makes me hopeful for the rest of my life because surely it’s all easy from here?!?!

I don’t know what point I’m trying to make.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I’m only 23…and to emphasize the “only” in that sentence, but for now I am trying hard to remember it, and be ok with it too…for example:

  • Even though I’ve had a crazy decade,  I’m only 23
  • Even though my job role is usually reserved for people with 10+ years’ post-qualifying experience, I’m only 23
  • Even though it feels like all my friends are in relationships/married/have kids, I’m still only 23
  • Even though I like “middle-aged” thinks like sewing, baking and gardening, I’m only 23 (and those things are definitely cool right now, so neh to the kids who made fun of me in school for liking to sew)

I still don’t really know if this post has a point, but it’s late and my face is all itchy from an allergy I seem to have developed, and I’m achey from sleeping on a rickety sofa bed…so I’m going to post this anyway and hope it makes some sense!

-x-

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