I remember a time when I was twenty-two years old. I had just begun dating my very attractive and charming brain surgeon boyfriend (who I eventually dated for almost four years). It was the first time he had taken me to dinner with a group of his friends- some of which had girlfriends.
One of the friends was a guy named Robert. He had a girlfriend… I can’t remember her name exactly… Mary Beth or Mary Anne or something. It was very nun-like. She was an intense, serious personality, and she was in lurve with Robert. Really in love. Like more than he was with her. I remember going to a bar in Seattle. The guys headed off to get drinks, and I was stuck with the last ladies of the night… a wild, party-girl whose name I cannot remember, and Mary Catherine.
When the two gals had me cornered, Mary Jane opened her mouth and began to speak at me, “So, you’re Dave’s flavor of the week,” she smirked. WetNWild smiled too, wondering how I would respond.
“Hmmm,” I said carefully, as I was caught off guard and suddenly felt very on the spot. “We’ve been dating for three weeks, so I guess I’m almost the flavor of the month.”
Never mess with the wit of moi.
She didn’t seem to expect me to respond. So she followed it up with, “what are you, like twenty-two?”
She was looking down at me at this point, even though we were nearly the same height. Fortunately, Dave had told me earlier that Mary Claire was in her thirties, a full four or five years older than Robert.
“Actually yes. What are you, thirty-two?” I retorted. The look on her face was priceless. JAB!!!
Recently, a thirty-something friend of mine went through a similar ordeal, and although it was not one that she provoked (as Mary Margaret did)- she got hit with the Age Jab on the other side of the equation. A twenty-something told her she was an ‘aging creature’.
Now, granted, I did actually do that as a twenty-two year old. But why? Why do twenty-something girls always try to throw the age card at thirty-somethings?
Well, I’ll tell you why. It’s because it’s the only card they’ve got. Literally.
Now, Mary Theresa was a little shocked by what I had said to her, but if she were smart… she would have know better. She also tried to throw the reverse Age Jab at me. Now that I’ve (obviously) been a twenty-something AND a thirtysomething, I have sufficiently lived both sides of this tale. And I’ll tell you what… if a twenty-something called me ‘aged’ or anything of the like- I would laugh, because I know exactly what she doesn’t know… yet.
So twenty-something ladies….
When you are twenty-one through twenty six- or seven- or maybe an immature twenty-eight or nine… think before you mention age as an insult. It’s a pop shot. A quick jab. It says, I don’t know anything about you at all, but this I know, I’m younger than you, so there. Here’s the problem with that:
1) A jab like that comes from an insecure girl (which I certainly was back then).
2) Telling a 30 something they are aged is a JOKE. Ask anyone over thirty if they think a thirty-two or thirty-five or thirty-seven year-old is old. No. Your thirties are young. Period. Even your forties are pretty damn young. Fifties and up… I can’t defend you as well there, but I think by then, none of y’all care much what we think anyway anymore.
3) If all you have against me is age, then I just feel sorry for you. I would never trade a day to go back to being twenty-two. I loved it, I lived it- then I knew better. I learned more- about life, myself, others. I was just a stupid head when I was in my twenties. I wanted all the wrong things and didn’t know what the f I was talking about. Just wait until you are in your thirties, or forties, you’ll see.
4) If I’m older than you, you can probably assume the following: I am more tenured in my job. I am more comfortable in my own skin. It’s possible I make more than you. I probably have had a decade’s worth of life experience over you. I’ve probably lived through things you can’t even imagine- and felt things you won’t feel for another five-ten years. There’s a chance you have experienced these things… and if you have, you probably won’t be tossing out age insults because you would know better.
And if you’re in your thirties and beyond and have to encounter such cheap shots…
Just smile, they have no idea what they are talking about.
You see, life gets better out of your twenties. Don’t believe me? Ask ANYBODY. If someone says their twenties were better, then those people are still living in their glory days, and are probably a bit depressing to be around, are still wearing clothes from that time, and can’t get over a hump in life. Maybe our asses and bodies change some… but the junk in the trunk I have now isn’t that far off from my twenty-something junk I had before.
Find some happy over-thirties people not living out their glory days, and I promise they will tell you: sweating the small stuff goes away, finding true love, friendship and happiness is there, being financially stable is easier, and knowing yourself well, happens. It all comes with age. And time. And experience.
But here’s the thing… life should get better and better. There should be new chapters, new experiences, new directions. New growth, new families, new views. That’s what it’s about.
So, Age Jabber, keep your twenties -I’ll never go back there. And the next time you want to tell me I’m ‘aged’ I’m going to say, “Thank you, that is a compliment,” because not only is it a compliment… but most of the time, I’m gonna look younger than you anyway. 😉 Wear your sunscreen, kids.