Age Is But a Number?

Age is but a number, we so often hear. There are many, usually older people who say they never grew beyond age twenty-nine (or whatever age they like the most). Some people even say they remain children at heart.

I can relate to this, and yet I can’t. I can relate in the sense that I strongly embrace my inner children and teens and the fewer and fewer selves who are older than me. Right now, only my crafty self identifies as older than my chronological age.

Yet I am also very much aware that certain developmental expectations are tied to certain ages. I was made aware before I was nine-years-old that, by age eighteen, I’d be leaving the house. My father jokes that the family cat should earn his high school diploma if he ever turns nineteen. The cat is only thirteen, but you get the idea. Even cats need to conform to developmental milestones, so people certainly.

Of course, in the privacy of my own room or even with my husband present, I can be childish all I want. I for example bought a Barbie doll when one of my inner children was particularly active. Nothing’s wrong with that. On the other hand, the only reason I can go on forums that are commonly visited by teens, is that I’m female. Had I been male, I would’ve been seen as a pedophile. (For clarity’s sake: I don’t go on forums that have a clear age limit or ever lie about my age, and I have absolutely no intention of exploiting anyone.)

My age is not only significant in highlighting the inappropriateness of my embracing childlike roles, but also in making clear that I’m missing out on adult milestones. I never spent much time in college, let alone graduating it, though I’m hardly technically a yooung adult anymore. I never held a job, even a summer job. I am not pregnant, let alone a mother. I hardly ever lived independently, which even on sites for people with autism is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood.

I have written about many of these issues before. I grieve the loss of my child identity (and an inner child is no excuse). I also grieve having missed out on adult milestones and likely missing out on even more as time goes by. Age is but a number, but you can’t just act whatever age you feel, at least not in public. That’s with good reason, of course, but it is still somewhat hard to deal with sometimes.


8 thoughts on “Age Is But a Number?

  1. I will be honest for being a year shy of 30, most days I feel like in my teens. Honestly it because sometimes I have to be treated like a child to keep me in check. My husband is also like pusedo-parent for me. Maybe it is the disorder that keeps me forever young.


    1. I too feel that it is probably also my conditions that keep me from fulfilling adult roles and keep other adults in the caretaker role. I don’t feel this way about my husband though, but this could be because I reside in an institution with professional staff and refuse to have my husband be my carer to an extent. Sometimes though he has to take on the carer role nonetheless.


  2. I think that most of us retain a childish quality, some more than others (my OH for example) πŸ™‚
    I love nothing more than watching kid’s movies. It’s pure escapism from having responsibilities which come with age.
    Having a child at 38 means that I get to indulge my inner child some more, much to the delight of my son and when (if) I get grandchildren, I’ll carry on embracing it. I’m happy with who I am at 44 but mini-me is still in there somewhere.
    Good post. πŸ™‚


  3. I agree that for a lot of us having children is a little bit of an excuse for getting back in touch with our inner child – going to watch animated films at the cinema, visiting Disney World or just climbing trees! Its kind of a shame that society places these constrictions on us to ‘act our age’ although, when it comes to relationships, yes, that is a bit more of a tricky prospect… #theprompt


  4. I think that embracing our inner child can be a wonderful thing, and I suspect that it allows us a much needed break from the reality of adult life, time to just relax and switch off. I guess the trick is in knowing when it’s okay and when we need to be ‘the adult’. Thanks so much for linking to #ThePrompt and I’m so sorry for taking so long to comment, a lot to catch up on this weekend x


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