It’s one thing to feel like an old lady in your twenties, it’s another to act on it so many times others start to notice.
Don’t get me wrong, I love older people, very deeply. In fact, many of my closest friends are at least 20 or 30 years older than I (not to call them old). I’ve been close to my grandparents my whole life, and I love joking with the older people I encounter. I simply connect more easily with people who are older than people my own age.
Full disclosure, I am currently 26, so to many of my younger friends (my husband in particular), I am already an old lady. A coworker of mine, who is in his mid-forties, recently asked me a question to get my “youthful perspective.” I can’t remember what his question was, but I do know I responded in an opposite and much less enthusiastic way than many people my age would have, given the topic. His response was, “You wouldn’t be the best person to ask, you’re kind of an old soul.”
I hadn’t worked too long with this coworker, so I was slightly confused as to why he thought of me this way. We hadn’t had any really deep conversations or discussed a lot of things outside of work. I found his comment slightly puzzling, but we have a mutual respect, so I knew this wasn’t a derogatory comment about my “uncoolness,” just an observation about my personality.
Older people have so much to offer. Wisdom, experience, bullheadedness at times, kindness, love, gentleness, uninhibited humor, and stories. Nothing’s wrong with someone classifying me as an old lady.
After this comment, and the dozens from my husband since, I’ve thought about the statement more, coming to realize the truthfulness of it. Here are some stories, with supporting evidence, proving I am much older than my years imply.
#1 Using Earplugs
My husband and I went to Dunkirk this past weekend. We debated about seeing it in IMAX, but I reasoned it would be too loud. “You can bring your ear plugs,” he said. “That will just sound annoying, plus it’s more expensive,” I said. Fast forward to watching the movie, not in IMAX. I lean over to him with my fingers jammed into my ears, “I still should have brought my ear plugs.”
- I have specific memories in which I remember mocking someone, who was older than I am now, for using ear protection. One was an older woman I used to do housework for who suggested I put noise-canceling headphones on every time I used the mower. Another was a pastor who came with our youth group on a week-long retreat. The stadium we used hosted several epically-loud concerts (I think it might have been Lecrae or Skillet, or some other equally-awesome talent) and he wore earplugs at the concert! I made so much fun of this pastor (real Christian-like I know). Who wears ear plugs at a concert? I laughed off the older woman, knowing she overthinks everything.
- But now? Yes, I own ear plugs, and yes I use them on a regular basis. When I dry my hair I put in ear plugs. I’ve used the same hair dryer for at least six years, but I really believe it’s getting louder in its old age.
#2 Staying Home is an Ideal Night
Yesterday we drove with a few friends to a cliff jumping spot about an hour away. I know what you’re thinking, old ladies wouldn’t cliff jump, and you’re right, so at least I have that going for me.
But, on the drive home, at about six o’clock, the group was talking about everyone’s plans for the evening. “We’re thinking of finding a bar to watch the fights, Kelsey if you want to come you should,” the driver said to my back-seat neighbor. “Yeah, let me know where you’re going, I’ll probably join,” she responded.
- No one even looked at myself or my husband or uttered a word after this encounter. The whole time this conversation was happening I was silently hoping it wouldn’t turn to inviting us, while simultaneously trying to craft believable excuses about why we needed to stay home. When in fact, the sole reason we “needed” to stay home was; I’m becoming a home-body old lady a little too quickly. I think our reputations had preceded us to this conversation. I rarely drink, bars are loud, I dislike crowds, and I desperately want to avoid becoming my 60-year-old co-worker who still brings drunken weekend stories into the office. No. Thank. You.
- In college, I suffered quite severely from FOMO disorder, or the Fear Of Missing Out. If someone was doing something with two people or twenty, I was going to be there. I would stay out as late as everyone else because I wasn’t going to miss a thing. I distinctly remember a conversation during my Sophomore year in which I asked a roommate, “Why would anyone ever “stay in” on a weekend?” The thought figuratively blew my mind. Stay home? And do what? Be by yourself? Watch a movie? Sleep? Not get dressed up and go out to interact with other people? To all of that, I now say, yes and AMEN!
In reflecting on my co-worker’s comment, I realized I had not only accepted it, but I took it as a compliment.
The way I’ve changed the last 6 or 7 years has been for the better, and while I may be “getting old” to some, I find I’m actually becoming more content, thoughtful, and successful in my aspirations. I value deep conversations over shouting casualties in a crowded space, I value time around the kitchen table more than expensive entrees at a restaurant. And over vain and shallow pursuits of happiness, I value God’s true and infinitely-deep joy.
This joy is something everyone can have, regardless of your actual or perceived age.