Growing up, I was a daydreamer who enjoyed reading books, climbing trees, and having interesting conversations with anyone. It didn’t matter if you were a toddler, a peer, or an awesome person rockin’ the age of 105. I didn’t care about anyone’s age… until they cared about mine.
“You’re so young!”
“You’re so mature for your age!”
That was the theme of most conversations I had with adults as I progressed from middle school to high school. When a well-meaning adult would ask my age, their demeanor immediately shifted. The assumption was, I couldn’t share their experiences. I didn’t fit into their ‘adult’ box. The conversations became static.
“What year are you in high school?”
“What do you want do with your life?”
Does any high school student honestly know the answer to this question? Sure, I dreamed about becoming a veterinarian with a blue convertible, but life has a way of changing our dreams so… let’s talk about anything else.
I quickly identified the adults I could really talk to. They would talk with me, not down to me. We chatted about our favorite movies, jobs, and our different life experiences. Our conversations sparkled.
Then I grew up. I worked an internship, achieved a full-time job, got married, and bought a house. I finally stepped into the ‘adult’ box. Little did I know, I still didn’t fit.
“You’re already married? You guys are babies!”
“You’re still in your twenties?! You’re so young! Well, you are too young to remember this reference…”
These statements sorted me into the ‘just-barely-an-adult’ box. Which was hilarious, considering my love of history, antiques, and jazz. I even watched every single episode of I Love Lucy. If there was an older pop-culture reference I didn’t understand, I could learn. But alas, I had been sorted out of the ‘adult’ box.
Currently, I have been rolled up and tossed into the millennial category where I am dismissed as a disrespectful, entitled brat. Woah! Wait a minute. Like everyone else in the millennial box… the baby boomer box…. and every box humans like to create…
I am not my age. Age doesn’t have to define us, because…
We are ourselves. An awesome mish-mash of messy experiences, embarrassing mistakes, and fantastic triumphs. And we are better because we are all different.
So excuse me, I am going to step out of my box. Can I offer you some of my idealism for a bit of your experience? Let’s have a conversation that sparkles.