Does Age Really Matter? Why Age Markers Shouldn’t Compromise Your Life Experiences

October 22, 2011 ‐ By Toya Sharee

 Happy Black Woman

During adolescence and late into my teens I anxiously awaited the day until I could confidently say, “I’m a grown A$$ woman”. But it was only in my early twenties that I learned that Aaliyah may have had a point when she sassily serenaded, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.”  Age without experience is somewhat irrelevant.  And while the law may deem you an adult on paper and endow you with privileges like voting, purchasing alcohol, being allowed entrance into bars and clubs, and basically having to answer to no one else but yourself, nowhere is there a handbook that details how to navigate all of the responsibility that comes with those privileges.  As a teenager if I knew that a tart side of responsibility came with that privilege platter, I might not have been in such a rush to reach my eighteenth birthday.

Something funny happens when you reach your late twenties.  As you and your friends start to approach that milestone of the almighty “thirty-years” your lives start to take distinct directions, peers start to reach significant points in their personal and professional lives and you may start to feel like you still haven’t left the starting mark.  Increasingly you may find yourself in situations where the instinct is to fib a bit so that you appear a few years younger than you really are if not for the fear of aging, then to avoid the judgment you think comes with feeling that you haven’t achieved what you had hoped to by a certain age.

It’s no secret that our society is obsessed with youth, but why do we place such significant emphasis on age when determining a person’s experience level, successes or failures?  I guess when it comes to certain situations, age is a good way to gauge what to expect from someone’s behavior, but most of the time age isn’t as good as a determining factor as maturity level and experience.

What’s your take on the part age plays in the following life situations?

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  • Toya Sharee

    Thanks for the love readers and I hope you all are sticking with not only the right path, but the path that's right for you. Apologies for the typo on number 3, "Having a Baby." The second sentence should read: "Your eggs are not labeled with an expiration date of your thirtieth birthday." Not baby.

  • Reese

    Most people's life doesn't turn out how it planned. Try not to get frustrated and extend your time line. Just start from where you are now and plan to achieve your new goals.

  • Cora

    Omg girl me too! I'm 25 too and I feel like I'm slipping sometimes! But nobody has had to deal with all the things and experiences that you personally have had to go through, and like the article said, some ppl have "their own apartment" but it's really paid for by parents, the state, or some man.

  • Cora

    Ms. Toya Sharee, this was a great article! I wrestle with these everyday! But we live in different times, and things don't go the same pace as they did for ppl of the past..

  • Korey

    I love Toya's articles! For someone that is a Negative Nettie like me, her writing is visual prozac. Just wanted to get that out the way.

    This article makes me feel better about being a late bloomer. I'm in my mid-twenties, college degree, no real job, and still living at home. In other eras of history, I'd be seen as pathetic. But in these times, it's nice to know that I shouldn't feel so bad. People I went to school with are already parents, living on their own and getting married. And it's nerve-wracking to not being able to say the same. While I feel like I am seven years behind the curve (supposedly). It's good to know that I shouldn't feel too damn bad. It's like my friend said, "their burnt out and grown by the age of thirty." And the truth is they are burnt out. I know they may love their kids, but they can't love their kids EVERY DAY. They may be living on their own but when the rent is due, they have to suffer that bill. Just because they are doing adult things, it doesn't mean it's all sunshine and lollipops.

    It just means that when my life is on point, living on my own, my finances are straight and my career is flying; I will appreciate it and be better able to handle it. It just means that my first apartment will be nicer and better maintained and furnished, my bills won't be as much because I know where to limit and "trick the system", my budget will be practical and I'll be better to prioritize, my savings will be liquid, and the quality of man I choose to be with will supplement me with little to no drama and will see that life without me isn't much of anything. So for every time I see a wedding picture or a newborn baby on my facebook feed, I will just click "like" and move on.

    My mom always tells me that the reason I am not so liquid right now is because the universe is calibrating my future so that when I achieve something, I ACHIEVE something! So yes, I'll cry and regret, but when it's spring in MY WORLD, I'll have a prize winning garden. 😀

    • Cora

      Lol @ "visual prozac" But nice comment

    • Korey

      OMG you answered! =D

      I didn't have much else to say after that. I'm a inspired to do some things right now and do them for me. And I am going to do them. I won't say what they are but I will be doing them… I may not be at Point One on the climb to the top but I am. But I've always had one thing on my side… I always seem to give myself options and the chance to start over. And that is what I am going to try to do.

  • LAdy25

    I have no savings and I would love to own a home in the future, but first I need to figure out how I'm gonna get rent paid in about a week. I hate calling my parents for money cause I feel they think I'm a failure. My wardrobe definitey needs an update, but when you don't have any money, ummm yeah…
    I'm a lil optimistic and my faith is a lil bit bigger than a mustard seed. I'm learning alot, I'm back in school, I'm finally living on my own (although it is very stressful when you don't have alot of money), and I still feel like a young child sometimes cause I'm very playful (I can't help it). I still dream, and have a desire to just keep going.

  • L-Boogie

    This so applies to me. Feeling like I missed a lot of life. Wondering about the decisions I have made. I feel like I am trapped in a rat race. And I do not know if I am winning or losing. Wish I had more insight :(.

    • Seems to me like if you are in a rat race at all at least your in it and maybe life is all about us figuring out what we are meant to do based on what we do with what we have when we do it…I did everything out of sequence according to society's stands…I'm still a unique confident women at 40+yrs and learning new ish everyday 🙂

    • Sarpong

      Don't worry, everyone runs a different race in life. A friend once told me: Sprints are run in seconds, while marathons are run in hours. Sometimes, some of us take a longer time to reach our goals but if we stay strong and focused we will get there 🙂