The Anxiety of Age

I hear this in my head. I hear, I'm too young. I want to say, how can you be too young, but I don't say anything at all in response. I think, well, maybe I am. I look for evidence of it. Who got published at 22? Who had a relationship at 22 that lasted past 23? Who had a relationship at 22 that lasted past 23 that was healthy and beautiful and went on and on and on? Who did anything meaningful at all at 22, except die, maybe. There were a lot of 22-year-olds, a lot of 20-year-olds even, who died in wars.

We live in such a perverse world. I mean this in the most literal sense possible. Opposition, contradiction. We value youth, we say. We want our Hollywood stars fresh-faced, wrinkle-free. But real youth--the youth measured not by lines on a forehead but by years, by how much we've done, by how much we haven't done--we disregard. We call it cute, we call it charming. We want our fashion models that way because we don't want our fashion models to be anything we respect. Then we draw a line.

All we've done is extend adolescence. When I was a teenager I used to think that the ideal age to be was somewhere in one's 20s. I used to think that that's what everyone craved. Teenagers wanted to be older, everyone else wanted to be younger. And now I find I've reached what I thought was the golden era, the time-of-all-times, only to learn that I'm still in the teenage-hood of society. Nobody thinks a 20-something can do anything worthwhile, because we're, as they say, still learning.

This has turned into more of a diatribe than I meant it to be. All I meant it to be was a thought: that here I am, paying my own rent, expected to make a fool of myself. I know what I write now will, in ten year's time, be irrelevant; I know my tone will change, my voice, my point of view. But still, I'd like to think that if I'm old enough to support myself, I'm old enough to be trusted with my own heart, my own soul.