Before I turned 20, all the heroes in my stories were between the ages 20 and 24. I don’t know about others, but when I hear an age, I get these bars in my head that looked like this when I was 17:
0 mths – 2 yrs | 3 yrs – 7 yrs | 8 – 13 | 14 – 19 | 20 – 27 | 28 – 35 | etc…
I loved the 20-27 group which to me was the prime time of life. Everyone else was either too young or too old. Sure, everyone too old was wiser, but definitely lacking in vitality. 40 was middle-age and that never had a positive connotation for me. Mid life crisis anyone?
Silly, I now think, although what I find silly isn’t the grouping idea.
I think my perceptions were based on the ages of the people I interacted with. At 23, in some ways I still saw myself as a kid, so I was understandably surprised when someone asked for ‘Azuka’ and a 10-year-old kid pointed at me. “It’s that man.”
At some point I had crossed over from boyhood to manhood, and along the line, the “old” guys don’t look so old right now. I have quite a few friends in their forties, and nothing hit home like having a table tennis training partner exclaim, “You’re 23? Why, my youngest one is three years older than you are!”
Ouch. I thought he was in his early thirties.
I don’t have a problem with older people. They’ve mostly figured out a lot of stuff, and can watch in amusement while you do something that reminds them of their own antics. One cliche I’ve never encountered is the offended prudish old lady. They’re fun to flirt with and if you do the math, there is probably very little you can genuinely shock them with because they’ve seen and heard it all.
I have to struggle not to talk down to people younger as well as the loss of interest when I find a girl is 20. Er, you’re my little brother’s age. No, no, no.
In many ways I have discovered age is just a number. 60 year olds acting like kids and throwing tantrums? Check. Ten year olds making acute observations and dispensing advice? Check.
So how do I end this? Remember I promised not to worry about getting it perfect before posting?