Last Week #23 | Act Your Age

 Since I didn’t write a blog post last week, I am going to write a little about both two weeks ago, and this past week. Between last week and this week, a weekend existed. A glorious, perfect, amazing three day weekend. (For the first time in my life, I understand why Labor Day exists.) Eli and I went to my family’s lake house in the finger lakes, because I had only been there once all summer and decided this was probably my last chance, before school and work and creative business overtook me and my precious schedule. So we went, and spent time with my cousins, who were also there. 

During the first evening’s dinner, talking to my cousin who is precisely my age and also still in college, I was telling her everything I do with my time. (I’m a talker.) 

At the end of it, she looked astounded. 

"You're doing so much!" She said.

"What do you mean?" I replied.

"You're doing so many things that you're passionate about!"

I was confused. Wasn't that the point? Sure, you probably have to get a 9-5 to survive, preferably in something that you don't hate, but that doesn’t mean you should then spend the rest of your precious time bemoaning the fact that you don't have any time to do what you love. Use that precious little time to DO WHAT YOU LOVE. I get up early and do those things, or use that time to do things that are good for me. Then I go to work, and try to put myself into it. And then I come home, and I try to love others. My boyfriend, my friends, myself. I do some fun things, but mainly deliberately unproductive things. And that's it. That's all I do. That's all we can do. 

Since my birthday is nigh, I’ve been thinking a lot about age. And for some reason, that old adage keeps fluttering back into my head. “Act your age.” And I hate that adage. What even is age? As one of the books that always sat on my mother’s kitchen shelf read, “Age is just a number.” So I don’t get how I can act it. When you’re a young person, people tell you to do this a lot. And it confuses me. Because, how the hell do I act 21? Do I drink? And therefore perpetuate stereotypes about my generation? Or do I work really hard, just so they’ll say that I’m the exception? Is there a way to act your age without stereotyping yourself? I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. Right now I’m nearly 21, I have a full time job and I’m a part-time student. I’m a full time girlfriend and best friend and creator. And I’m also a full-time Fran. I might be young, I feel really old. I hate that just because I haven’t lived 47 years, I’m considered less. I wish that when people said “act your age” they didn’t mean, “Act the age I wish you still were.” It seems that many people are confused by young people if they don’t fit in to a box they can understand. So they say "act your age" but they mean, “Act a different way so I can make sense of you.” I’m 21, I have a full time job, I’m a student, I’m in love, and I’m creative and logical and practical and impractical and stupid and senseless and naive and wise beyond my years. 

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't want to be known for, and judged by, my age. I want to be known for my personality, or writing, or purple hair, or art, or how hard I work, or my heart. And maybe I am. This weekend, I babysat for a family I've been watching for years. (About 6, to be exact.) 

I was telling them about my job, and the mom said, "You're working full time and still doing school?!" She seemed taken aback, like she couldn't believe it. I sighed and moaned about how yes, I was crazy enough to be doing that (because to be honest it was almost 1 am and I was half asleep and freaking moody), but in the back of my head I was thinking, "Dude. Come on. I have a very delicate balance going on here. Don't make me question how in the hell I'm doing this. If I think about it too hard, it'll all come crumbling down."  But the next day, in talking to one of my good friends, she said, "It's because you're an organizational queen. That's how." Essentially telling me to never question or doubt myself. And that's what I mean. I want to be known for who I am, not for my age, not for how much I do. As one of my favorite astrologers once said, "You're a human being, not a human doing." I'm trying to remember that in this stressful time, this age of the rat race, this season of my life.