Is Age Really Just a Number?

images (1)

I had a psych and law professor at UCSD who asked us if a 16 year old should be charged as an adult if they committed murder. The vast majority of us said yes. Murder is murder and 16 is close enough to 18.

But is it?

He asked us to think of ourselves at 16. Then he asked us to think of ourselves at 18. If you break it down like that, it is quite a difference.

I was a totally different person at 16 in comparison to 18. I had a different thought process, 2 more years of life under my belt and a hell of a lot more freedom to learn with my mistakes. Let me just say, I learned a lot between 16 and 18 years old.

The thing is, you can see the difference between a 4 year old and 6 year old quite easily. There are motor skills, language and logistical skills that show the age difference. It doesn’t work that way with adults, yet I wonder if the difference is still there.

The thing about adults is that the choices they make in life have a direct effect on their perspectives, style of life and attitude. You can have an annoyingly sheltered 40 year old and an incredibly mature 19 year old who has lived more than his/her years. At the same time, considering brain growth, the 40 yr old still technically has a stronger logical center than the 19 year old. It is just biology people.

Take Mr Rant, he is not the 27 year old I met. That is quite obvious seeing that he is now 36 years old, is running a company, supporting a family and has 2 small children. Big jump from the penniless aspiring photographer I met in Barcelona.

He has the same foundation but a different perspective, style of life and attitude. Do I miss the 27 year old Mr Rant? Yeah, I have my moments. I’m not going to lie to you.

The 27 year old Mr Rant had no worries. He was also a very charming ladies man (still there though less active because you turn that off with whole marriage thing).  He was always down for an adventure, was never annoyed and didn’t worry one moment about money. We argued all the freaking time but we compensated with doubling up the make up sex. We were passionate. Every single moment had some kind of breath of life to it. In retrospect, I miss it.

At the same time, that would be exhausting at this point in life. I don’t know if I would actually like the 27 year old Mr Rant if he came back to me right now. If Marty McFly switched him out and I had that 27 year old as the Father to our two children… I don’t know how well that would go down. Life changes you in certain ways for a reason, right?

27 year old Mr Rant would expect me to get a babysitter and go to whatever party at midnight and get home an hour before the kids were waking up. Of course he’d be 27 so we would use that last hour to have sex and then get interrupted midway through by kids wanting pancakes for breakfast.

Doesn’t sound so bad does it?

Of course you’d have to ask, who is going to make the pancakes? Chatterbox is pretty skilled at mixing but I still think he’d catch the apartment on fire if I let him near the stove alone.

The thing is, you can always look back and miss it. What you can’t do is look forward. The 27 year old Mr Rant would not understand any of the things the 36 year old Mr Rant learned. With adulthood comes growth. You go through shit and learn to make new mistakes. I don’t think I would want to teach and/or experience the same ones again. Maybe every once in a while at a damn good party, but as a lifestyle? I have been there.

It makes me wonder, is there as big of a difference between ages, even in adulthood? Say there is a 29 year old and 37 year old? As much as they are both adults, they would have been 1 and 9 or 3 and 11. There is a gap in the area of development, in the life experience. While one can make the other more mature or more free, depending on who you are talking about, will they ever meet in the middle?

So, is there really something to numbers or are they just that. What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Is Age Really Just a Number?

  1. 90% of the time, I wish I was 18, maybe 20, still, but knew everything that I know now. It goes a little beyond that actually, I *feel* 18 a lot of the time. Maybe because I don’t have kids, marriage, a real job, and the whole shebang that makes you an adult. I’m a different person in some ways, but there’s so much of that 18-year-old that hasn’t gone away. One of them being, I still feel as lost as I did at 18 as far as “what do you want to be when you grow up?” goes. No clue whatsoever. It feels like I’m stuck in time, but time’s not stuck with me. If that makes sense. So in a way, how you “grow up,” and become more mature in adulthood depend on your experiences, your responsibilities, and what is expected of you at any given age. It could be that your husband wouldn’t be still be the laid-back guy he was when you met him if he’d never gotten married, had kids, and gotten the job he has. He’d have accumulated more knowledge, learned to abide by certain rules, but not changed as much as he has. Or maybe I’m just screwed up (adolescência retardada is what I heard it be called in Brazil). But ugh, this talk is way to complicated for me. My brain hurts just thinking about it. :)

  2. Hi Rachel! Thanks for this post. It’s one I’ve thought about a lot since moving to Germany since the German guy I have been dating the past eight months is about five years younger than me. Most of the time I don’t really think about it, but sometimes it’s so clear how much more I have experienced. I think with men, though….deep down they are all little boys, no matter how much they have seemed to age and mature! They say age is all in your head, but that’s not entirely true. Like you said, there are some things in life that only can come through experience. I wouldn’t want to re-live all the things I’ve experienced either. I love where I’m at right now. Sure it would be fun to have a 25 year old body and looks for life with the maturity of a 32 year old, but then I have the problem that I do look a bit younger and all the men I meet think I’m younger…hence the dating younger guys thing! I think with the right person, age is no issue, in terms of dating….it just depends on what level of maturity a person needs. I have friends also who are older and younger and I sometimes forget that my younger friends simply have no experienced the things I have and therefore don’t have the wisdom to see what perhaps they should or shouldn’t do. I love being a woman in my 30s. It’s totally liberating and I wouldn’t change it for a thing! Will I end up with the 27 year old? I have no idea….but for now, I’m enjoying the ride. :)

  3. Aging is part of live, it is natural. you are what you are today because of all the experience (good and bad) you live though. I don’t envy my youth-selve (or any other). I had my time and enjoyed it to the fullest, and I am happy on how I turned out.

    I don’t wish I was 20 again, but I fell sorry for the people that, because of a particular circumstance, have to grow up very fast (Kids that have to work to support their family and siblings, teenage mothers/fathers etc) they are skipping a phase of their live that they will never get back. You can be 40 and start acting 20 but it will be never 20 again and deep down even mid-live crisis guys/gals knows that.

  4. I see my students grow and change so much in 10 months, and then I think, “Man, I never change!” But we do. It is just more in 5-year increments once we are older, I think. And there are some people who are wise beyond their years, while others never grow up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>