I celebrated my 23rd birthday last week. I’ve always enjoyed birthdays and this one was no exception.
It was my first birthday since college, and the first birthday in a few years that I didn’t have spring break. My mom came to visit on Friday and we were talking about age and the perception of being old. I commented that on Brad’s birthday several people said things like, “Happy birthday old man!” but no one called me old (and I’m not complaining). After age 21, there aren’t very many “milestone” birthdays until you hit 50. So I’m in the phase where I’m definitely not a kid anymore, but I also don’t feel like a “real grown up” most of the time and I often suppress the habit of addressing my elders as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” (It may be respectful, but there are many work situations where it’s inappropriate to do so).
Numbers are often considered to be solid. They quantify something, in the case of age, the number quantifies your years on earth and that’s pretty solid. But in the science of aging, your actual age is irrelevant. Somehow in the course of this conversation, my mom decided that 35 had been a very good age. “Anywhere between 35 and 40 were good years,” she told us.
I think I’m still in my early twenties, so this sentiment is interesting. I can’t imagine being 30, no less being 35. When my mom was 35, she had three tween/teen children and I can’t imagine that either. Now, she has three grown, married children and grandchildren… even considering those facts, my mom is not old. There isn’t a specific age that I think was a very good age, but I’m also not complaining about any of the ones I’ve had yet.
All in all, the 23rd birthday was good. Between the internet wishes, cupcakes at work, ice cream with friends, birthday dinners (I had 3!) and great conversations, it looks like being a grown up isn’t bad at all.