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27 February 2010

I just recently turned 38. But I feel like I'm in, I dunno, my late twenties.[More:] This is disconcerting. Why do I feel like I'm what I'd consider a "young person" when I'm really not?

Anyone else feel this way?
Yes. I turned 50 last year but still feel late-30s.
posted by essexjan 27 February | 04:22
I'm turning 38 this year but (emotionally, anyways) I feel about 15. Except when I get up in the mornings to go to work. Then I feel about 80.

Most people guess my age somewhere in my mid to late 20's. I guess that's the bonus of being overweight - the fat pushes out all the wrinkles and the hair dye takes care of the rest.
posted by ninazer0 27 February | 04:29
I'm 41 and I still feel like I'm in my 20s. I got married young (at 19) and had my kids young, and I never really felt like I "aged"... I don't know why, but it's very disconcerting.
posted by amyms 27 February | 05:33
I just assumed that feeling doesn't stop.
posted by gomichild 27 February | 06:21
I'm with you amyms, but I'm only disconcerted when in company with other women of the same age who's conversation is limited to house prices, kids and expensive moisturisers. So while I've never given my age that much thought (I sometime have to count from my birthyear when someone asks me how old I am) I am genuinely disconcerted when faced with other's evidence that they somehow expect me to behave or drss in a certain way.

I'm 44 had had my kids early. I recently mentored a new starter to out team, a young very gay guy (he'll fit right in, its an all female team of older women). After six weeks, during a team meeting my manager asked if my daughter had gone back to University and I said yes. His face was priceless. He'd thought I was early thirties.

I think as much as appearence helps here, it's far more to do with attitude and how you dress. I hate seeing people of either age who try to dress 20 years their junior, it smacks of desperation and often doesn't suit. But no-one in their 40's should dress in twinsets and pearls unless that's the social circumstance you're imprisoned in.

Depending on the event I can still put on really high heels and mini-skirts. Or a long evening dress and black velvet opera coat. Or severe black business suit. Sometimes I'll look stunning and sometimes I'll get it wrong. I'm interested in an extremely wide range of things and will chat about them to anyone at the drop of a hat.

I see all that in Jan (except I've never seen her get it wrong) so maybe it's part of it. She dresses to suit herself rather than a social construct of a "woman her age" you would never be bored in her company and she always looks really positive, she's one of those people you immediately get a positive vibe from.

Part of it for me too is that my kids do keep me young. From music to TV, new technologies, software, social networking, they're my guides and I've adapted some of their things to my life. (Feck it, I even got my company to Twitter!)

At the same time my friend of 40 years who decided not to have kids grows more and more "old" each time I see her. She's snappy about noise (especially from kids), she will only go to the same types of restaurants, holiday destinations, social events, she's always gone to. She says it's her tastes have matured now that they have enough money for the good things in life, and she looks pityingly at me as I try to get the College fees together, but I can see what it is although I would never hurt her and say. She's gotten so set in her ways she can't learn anymore, and that's tragic.

Forgive the long answer, I've had the first Sat morning lie-in I can remember, it's bliss to have some time for a change!
posted by Wilder 27 February | 06:29
Oh, Oh and my secret theory about our Essexjan is she pickled herself so thoroughly in her 20s and 30s at some stage all ageing processes simply stopped, overwhelmed at the magnitude of the task and froze her in her 30's! Chan-chan-CHAN!!

Some genetic gerontologist is going to make megabucks once they secquence her genome. (Calling grouse!)
posted by Wilder 27 February | 06:35
That feeling has stopped for me -- I'm 45 and feel older.
posted by JanetLand 27 February | 07:38
I felt much younger than my actual age for year until very recently when I suddenly started feeling my age (45) or even older. I've been wearing a beard this winter and it's almost totally gray now so I'm looking pretty venerable too.
posted by octothorpe 27 February | 08:12
LOL, thanks Wilder. It's my 11th sober anniversary today. Once a pickle, never a cucumber again.
posted by essexjan 27 February | 08:29
I'm what I'd consider a "young person" when I'm really not?
Because you haven't changed all that much since you were in your twenties. How different do you suppose you should really feel, anyway?
posted by Wolfdog 27 February | 10:34
It has felt weird to be my age since I was about 18. I think I have matured a huge amount since then, so that's not why. I just feel like there's always this teenager inside me saying, "Oh my God, how the hell did I get to be 34?"
posted by amro 27 February | 10:34
(That's the reason you feel that way. The reason you're not is because a lot of stuff changed around you.)
posted by Wolfdog 27 February | 10:40
I decided some time ago that age is just a number. It doesn't obligate you to feel any certain way. When I hit my 30s I finally felt "grown up" but nothing has really changed since then, and I just turned 45.
posted by BoringPostcards 27 February | 11:33
Very early this morning in the grocery store, I saw a cool looking man in black boots, jeans, tee-shirt and knit cap with wire glasses and a black beard, and I thought it was you for a second, BoringPostcards. He turned out to be much younger, but you both look cool. I think it is all about the vibe.

From the age of about three, I've had the world view of a 17 year old man. Now that I'm 41, he's about 25.

It can be jarring when it is pointed out that my physical being contrasts with this, like when someone offers to lift something for me that I am perfectly capable of lifting myself (or think I am). When I was getting my lip stitched in the hospital a few weeks ago,the surgeon numbed my face by injecting an agent in the inside of my cheek, and was explaining to the students how it would lift my frown line. "Dooothuuthersiiide" I tried to say.

posted by rainbaby 27 February | 12:12
I married not-early, and had my kid much later than many. I still feel like a kid too. When I hang out with moms whose kids are the same age as my son (which is pretty much all the time) they generously assume I am similar in age to they.

My resolution is to stop correcting them :-)

posted by pinky.p 27 February | 12:32
Happy anniversary, essexjan!
posted by Ardiril 27 February | 14:03
Since I've never been married, and haven't even spent that much time in relationships, I still feel like my adult life hasn't really started.

I'm 46. My beard is about 50% gray.

Anyway, I scored closer to "Millennial" than to "Gen X" or god forbid "Boomer", even though technically by birth I'm a member of either of the latter. I guess you could say I think young. Or by hanging around people who are younger or think younger I keep myself young.
posted by dhartung 27 February | 14:38
I think my knees are about 109, and I've been educated beyond the old guy that can fix everything skill set and then does the college regime level. I've been told I'll never grow up or mature mentally until I have kids.

I guess I have a random age between 15 and 109 depending on the moment or situation.
posted by buzzman 27 February | 14:52
This guy doesn't look a day under 45, good thing he's married to such a cute wife.
posted by octothorpe 27 February | 14:55
That's fun test dhartung -- I scored right about where I thought I would, between Boomer and Gen X but closer to Gen X. Good thing they didn't ask about my musical tastes, I think that might have shoved me over to "Silent."
posted by JanetLand 27 February | 14:56
I just took that quiz and scored 17 out of 100, pretty solidly baby-boomer even though I'm only marginally a member of that generation. I seem to read too many newspapers and not play enough video games.
posted by octothorpe 27 February | 15:14
goodness, I scored 97/100 on that test and I don't (and am not, technically) feel "millenial" at all. i am solidly in Gen-X.
posted by gaspode 27 February | 15:19
Nor can I spell millennial.
posted by gaspode 27 February | 15:20
My score was 36, and I am 59 irl. . .
posted by danf 27 February | 15:54
I'm 36 and I scored an 83 on that quiz. I feel like I'm in my late twenties, except for some creaky feet and a propensity for weight gain.
posted by Specklet 27 February | 15:56
I swear I only read the paper today because the TeeVee guide comes out on Saturday. 54.
posted by rainbaby 27 February | 16:36
This has been an issue for me lately too. The way I figure, there's a twenty-ish kind of thirty-ish and then there' s a forty-ish kind of thirty-ish. I, like you, am the former.

It's a good way to be, actually. You get the benefits of experience and maturity. You're chock-full of wisdom about life and people and relationships that would have completely eluded you as a younger man or woman and yet, you're not boring and uptight like a lot of your contemporaries have chosen to be.

Recently, I went to my twentieth high school reunion and was feeling a little bummed because I hadn't achieved the white-picket-fence, two-point-three children kind of prosperity and stability that many of my peers had achieved.

I was sharing these concerns with my Mom and she said:

"Jason, they're not maturing. They're succumbing."

posted by jason's_planet 27 February | 17:43
Good grief, I got an 85 on that quiz. I think of myself as pretty solidly Gen X though.
posted by BoringPostcards 27 February | 17:45
I got a 4. A 4! 4!!!! F-O-U-R. 4.

I hate these tests....

This puts me pre-WWII. Sheesh.

posted by warbaby 27 February | 18:02
After taking that quiz I decided to re-hookup the Wii which has been gathering dust for about a year.
posted by octothorpe 27 February | 18:31
I'm not sure what else I could do to up my score, I guess that I could text someone but I don't know anyone else who texts. I'd get something pierced or tattooed but I'm too scared of needles.
posted by octothorpe 27 February | 18:54
I got 53 on the quiz. I'm 48 but I still feel like I'm in my early thirties. I think it's partly having kids at an older-than-average age, partly because I hang out with people I work with who are mostly younger than me, but mostly because I decided many years ago never to grow up. I look at other people my age and they seem so old.

Some people tell me I should act my age more, such as giving up racing boats (aren't you a bit old for that sort of thing? etc). As far as I'm concerned, you don't give up the things you love because you get old; you get old because you give up the things you love.
posted by dg 27 February | 19:20
I got a 74 but only because by a freak of timing and tired eyes I haven't played any video games in the last 24 hours. I think more in terms of how soon till I die than how long since I was born. I don't really feel old, but I figure if I do things right and the world cooperates, I have 31 years left to live.
posted by Hugh Janus 27 February | 19:38
Weird thing is, I've been trying to reply to this thread all day, but something keeps interrupting me each time. So let me say this, while I still have the chance:


I thought I was the only one who felt this way. BTW, got a 95 on the Millennial score.
posted by treepour 27 February | 21:48
jason's_planet, you have a fabulous mom!
posted by treepour 27 February | 21:50
Yes. I turned 50 last year but still feel late-30s.

I have felt essexjan, and I can verify that yes, she does feel thirtysomething.
posted by Eideteker 28 February | 09:09
I scored a 57 on that test, and I am 43 years old. With the exception of being tired after working on my feet all day, I feel much younger than my actual age. I look at my oldest son, who will be 17 in May, and wonder just how in the world that happened?! I still feel like I'm in my 20's for the most part.

Of course, it helps to be in a new relationship...makes me feel REALLY young!
posted by redvixen 28 February | 19:39
I'm 43 and got 89 on the test. I was fairly sure I'd get a high score, but not quite that high. My mind age and my body age are, well, years apart.

Not too long ago I was going to Subway for lunch and there was a large herd of teenagers (high school is nearby) milling about. It took me right back into how I felt in high school. I can laugh now, but it was rather disconcerting at the time.
posted by deborah 04 March | 22:15
Rawr! Algebra is hard! || Insomnia brigade