I am 23 years old. This is a verifiable fact. But unfortunately, if you asked me how old I thought I was, I would say that based on life experience, I still feel like I’m 16. Not that I have the maturity level of a 16 year old (I was once accused of being too mature in high school… literally accused).
I know that a lot of this comes from the “fish-out-of-water” effect. When I’m in new or frustrating situations where I don’t know what to do, I feel like a child. This is probably not a new phenomenon, but I feel that it should be recognized. Most of this probably stems from finally being in a position where I am largely responsible for every single thing in my life. Now you could ask, “You weren’t responsible before?” Well, yes and no.
For example. I have a car. I don’t own this car, but due to the graciousness of my parents while I am still in school, I have a car to use. Now, with this car, I don’t pay the insurance or anything. I pay for gas (but I live in a city where I mostly take the bus or walk to that’s not really a huge responsibility). So while I have had a car, it hasn’t really been my responsibility when it comes to oil changes or repairs. I’ve never had to get it towed or deal with auto repair services… until now.
I found out earlier this week that my car doesn’t start. Kind of a sucky realization because I’ve also had other frustrations lately (knee injury as an example) and I just didn’t need the hassle of a massive hunk of metal that does absolutely nothing. Normally, since I don’t own this car, I would call my dad and he would find a way to come and fix the problem or get the car to where it needed to be. Sadly, though, I no longer live an hour and a half away from my parents. I live 17 hours away and as much as my parents love me, a broken down car is not a good reason for them to drop everything and drive or fly 1,000 miles.
I still called my dad.
He had useful information and guidance, but that was as far as he could go. It’s now my turn to figure this stuff out. Somebody out there reading this is probably thinking that I should just suck it up and deal with it. These kind of things are a part of life, right? Why on earth should I write about it on my blog for the whole world to see my incompetence?
Well, because it’s quite astounding the amount of things that I don’t know yet. I’m sure if you looked at your own life you would come to a similar conclusion.
I also think that the knowledge we do have and the experience we’ve gained is all a matter of circumstance.
The majority of the people I know in Pittsburgh are at least 2 or more years older than me and certainly not just coming off a four year stint in college. They have had more experience than me when it comes to a variety of things. This isn’t bad, but it’s a good perspective. The majority of them have grown up in the Eastern part of the U.S. I think the beauty of the country we live in, is that you can grow up in the same country, yet have grown up in a completely different culture.
It’s different because of circumstance. It’s wonderful, but it’s easy for me to feel like I haven’t had enough “life experience” to relate to others. Though I’m going to say that as of writing this I really am beginning to hate the words “life experience.” Is it seriously something that can be measured or worth measuring? Just like everything else, those two words create a divide between people because it can make some hold it over others.
That’s not fair. If experience is something that is gained over time and you then account for the circumstances surrounding your life- controllable and uncontrollable, I think we’d see that everyone is where they are in life for specific reasons.
I’m only 23. I am an adult, but I’m still growing into that, and that’s okay.