I feel very young. I like to think I still look young, especially when I get off the Metro and people stop to ask me (usually on casual Fridays) where stuff is on the GW campus. I get carded a lot, and while it doesn't bother me, I am not yet old enough to be all gushily appreciative of suspicion.
Maybe it's because in my head, it's still somewhere around 2000. I have owned my eleven-year-old car for nine years, but it still seems new and exciting to me, and in my head, a 1995 car isn't that old. At a recent staff meeting, our new Chairman asked us where we saw the company in 2011, and I got corrected for discussing our 10-year plan. Or when my mom asked me if the sweater I was wearing was new, it too me a moment to realize "I've had it since Junior year" means I got it nearly 12 years ago.
And yet, at 28, I'm resentful of being lumped in with the 23 and 24-year-olds at work. Year-wise, that's not much of an age difference, but this is their first post-college job, whereas I've been in the corporate work force for six years now. I feel like I should have reaped the benefits of these experiences, and while I have gained a certain wisdom the other "young people" don't have, I am not really doing anything at work they couldn't do. Maybe it's the culture of my specific place of employment, but people around me, some younger, others with less experience, and others with less ability, are being promoted left and right for reasons I can't justify. It seems as though since I work hard and take on lots of tasks, I am perceived as labor rather than management (even though four people reading this now can vouch firsthand for my management skills).
Sparky suggested a lot of this, particularly the job aspect, comes from not having yet found my "career shoe". Maybe. Even in my non-work life, I feel the confliction of feeling young but getting old. Not that I’m stressing the marriage/children/picket fence issue; regardless of how many people around me have entered that phase of their lives, I am at least confident that I am not ready for that, nor do I feel any sort of pressure to be (Chicken? Egg?). Sometimes I get self-conscious about the youthfulness of my apartment--that I’ve fashioned my place more after a Lichtenstein print than a Pottery Barn catalog—but as crisp and serene a minimalistic sage-and-cream motif may be, primary colors and interesting clutter is more me. Perhaps I just need to find the same confidence in the other aspects of my lingering immaturity as I do in The Nesting Issue.
I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I constantly catch myself feeling, though not fully articulated as such when I do feel it, that this is all a dry run. That I can screw up, learn from my mistakes, maybe miss a chance here and there, and that there’s always time to make it right, or that I can just do it better next time. I worry that I’ve spent my whole life learning lessons for next time, or reassuring myself with the thought that I can fix it later. I’m either worrying about the last time or planning for next time. I guess very few people are good at living in the moment, but I have to remember the availability of time to plan for the future is getting swallowed by time to worry about the past every day.
I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up one day and realize I blew it and that next time I’ve been waiting for isn’t going to happen. But for some reason, that fear isn’t enough to motivate me to act now. I should be looking for a new job, but I watch TV instead. I should be working now to be more ready for the future chances, but when I envision those future chances, I see them with the present challenges, leaving me to think I will be as unprepared for them as I am now.
I don’t want zits or wrinkles, but I want both. I want wrinkles at work and zits at home. I should take the lesson of my face wash to heart: treat the acne; prepare for the wrinkles. If I only focus on one, the other’s going to get out of control, and if I ignore both, I’m going to be a wrinkly zitface. And that’s not cute at all.