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eel like you're getting old?  Maybe what you're feeling is a lack of accomplishment, a dearth of satisfaction with life (or even malnutrition from an unwise diet!).  It's not how long you live, it's how you live it.  Daughter-in-law Andrea Metcalf answers so wisely another journal writer's complaint about getting old (at 27!).

What's your sad story of woe?

My dad used to say that to people, what's your sad story of woe?  I bring that up because someone yet again lamenting about feeling old at 27.  She is doing her all too frequent "oh woe is me, I'm old".  What's up with that?  She better get used to it, she ain't getting any younger.  This is someone on one of the Cirque forums and often mentions feeling old at 27 and now is wanting support in not feeling so old.

So old?  What is wrong with her for feeling old at 27?  She is so insecure.  A lot of teens post in the Cirque forums but Cirque appeals to all ages and all the forums have a wide range of ages.  Yet she feels since a lot of teens post, she must be old.  Give me a break! 

We live in a society were ageism is prevalent but not often discussed.  It is not just towards older people but young as well  - you may not get respect for being very young.  My teen friends are very intelligent and I don't see them just as teenagers but as people.  The media glorifies the young and when you start getting older, people feel you should stop caring or living.  You no longer love sex, or feel connected to popular music, you can't relate to people younger than you or you don't remember being young, if you act the least bit "fangirlish" or boyish you should stop, in other words that you should just wait to die.  What is so scary about getting older apart from it being a reminder that death is inevitable?   We can die at any time. It all gets on my nerves.

I am better in almost every way now than when I was at 21.  I don't have any complaints about my time in my 30's.  You still have energy and you are wiser and more cemented as a person.  At least for me, I know more about what it is I want and how to go about it, more certain of who I am and more pleased about myself in just about most things than when I was as a teen and younger 20's.  When you are a young adult, an official adult but no experience at being one, you are uncertain about a lot of things and the future.  Though I was always a mature person when I was young, I was not happy and now I am infinitely happier and less fearful.  I don't worry much about the future.  Things have a way of working themselves out and when they don't, you don't feel life is going to end and you keep on going, focusing on the next thing that interests you.

I enjoy my time now, at this moment and worry when it is warranted to get upset.  I have my bitchy moments as everyone does but I don't wallow in self pity.  Takes too much energy to be that self centered.  Things will pass you by if your eyes are too focused on yourself all the time.  You have to do your best in making things happen for yourself as no one cares enough to hand over all the things you desire.  Even if you try your best at getting what you want, you are still not going to get and achieve everything you hope for, as that is just how life is.  You can't have it all but if you tried, at least you have a good conscience and not get stuck over something you can't change.  I suspect the worst part of my life is over and now it is gravy by comparison.  I don't want to get in a rut about feeling less, or not up to others expectations.  I don't want to have to appeal to people on a forum that I am not old and shouldn't feel left out.  That poor girl has some issues and she is not going to find her answers in others opinions.

We really have to find what it is that makes us happy and be appreciative for what we have as others are much worse off.  I like a line from Shawshank Redemption, "get busy living or get busy dying."

I was never a big Erma Bombeck fan, not anything in particular, just never sought out her stuff. But there is a list of quotes from her that I like. I never want to be at a point in my life where I look back and cringe at the many things I wasted my time on, full of worry.  I want to be happy for the moment that is now.

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Erma Bombeck  (written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later.  Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you's."  More "I'm sorry's."

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it .. live it .and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff.

I'm hope someone gets something out of my ramblings.  I just turned 35 too and my husband is older. We feel a little achy in mornings sometimes but I think otherwise we are doing alright.  I too have no desire to go back, and there is always plenty to do.  It's fortunate when we have passions and loves.

It's a good thing to have goals as long as you remember to be flexible and that things may not go as planned.  As well as allowing yourself to change your mind.  There is a balance to be mindful of, have things to work towards and try to achieve but also realizing when things are just not going to happen and thinking of an alternative.  Changing ones mind is fine.  Whatever works out for the best. 

A friend of mine for all her teen years knew what she wanted to do as a career and worked hard towards it; later, she changed her mind, has a different goal to work towards.  Her family is taking it harder than she would have expected.  I think it's perfectly fine to change your mind from what you had as a teen, especially when during that time you are learning what the world is and could discover other things that would be more enjoyable.  Teen years are tough.  I would never want to go back. 

You still have all the time in the world.  You'll find that you will be continuing to be learning and discovering well into your 20's and beyond; actually you never stop.  Don't take on too much, it's hard when we get emotionally attached but I suspect you will eventually find the paths and goals that are right for you.  And if you don't, that's ok too.  Eventually the clear picture will hit you when you least expect it.

Copyright Andea Metcalf 2004

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