Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I've recently had this talk with several of my closest friends and wondered when did I get so old?  And I feel almost embarrassed sharing this, because so many people's instinctive reaction is: you're not old.  And the truth is I'm not, but I am living in an adult world as an adult and wondering how soon it will be until someone finds out that I'm only pretending how to be "grown up".

I realize that everyone probably goes through something similar at some point, but here's a list of things that have made me realize that growing up isn't something that happens when you turn 18 but is a process and then suddenly you're a grown up and you didn't even realize it.

  • You're paying bills: phone, insurance, water, electricity, rent, loans.  That is a lot of bills and that's not even all of them and it was just something that happened when I first got my apartment and the list of bills just got longer.
  • You're giving advice to friends who are graduating (college) this year about the real world and surviving in it
  • You're talking about the future not in some big sweeping plans like: I want to get married and have eight bagillion children (oh please no).  But instead talking about it in terms of: where would you like to get an apartment?  If we pick this city it will split the difference between your work and mine (okay, so I'm not quite there yet, but in the near future).
  • When you still trust your instincts but realize that they aren't your only resource for making this decisions (it's entirely probably that this one is intensely personal for me)
  • When you're ashamed to go back and live with your parents because you could be living by yourself instead of causing them even a little bit more of a financial burden.
  • When you realize that big things from your past aren't a big deal anymore.  I'm not ever (I am very determined about this) that at the time those things weren't a big deal for me, because at the time they thoroughly were.  I'm not going to say: oh past me was so stupid.  In truth, I wasn't stupid, just inexperienced.  I'm not going to say: oh I was just young.  That implies that young people are inherently stupid and that's just such a blatant example of ageism I don't even want to touch it.  I will however say that I have learned to let go, learned to move on, and learned that other people's problems generally matter more to me than my own.
  • When you sit down and have a discussion with your parents and realize you're on equal footing.  It was one of the biggest things I wanted my entire life growing up and the first time it happened was practically transcendent.
  • When you've dealt with death.  This one probably happens for most people a lot earlier than it did for me, but my grandmother died recently and I realized that my reaction to someone close to me dying was a lot different than I thought it would be.
  • When you learn to let things go.  Again, this one is intensely personal to me, but I have a temper and anger management problems at times and this is something that I'm still learning to do, but the first time I did (probably not the first, but one of the first times in my life) without putting up a fight, I realized I had grown up a lot from who I used to be. 

Part of this whole list has to do with the fact that I am really sensitive about my age.  I was young for my grade and then did college in three years and, as you've may have noticed, I haven't disclosed my age on this blog.  You could probably guess it, but I am in a position that I need to have authority over people more than ten years younger than me and more than fifty years older than me at times and it takes it's toll.   Discrimination honestly isn't that common in my line of work (I refer only to stage managers and not to the poor actors who have to deal with casting) but the one kind of discrimination that I see is ageism.  

I've seen people older than me hired because they were older and not because they had the better resumes. Older stage managers are automatically assumed to handle people better and I really can assure you, that's not necessarily the case at all.  And so I'm sensitive about my age, I'm fairly certain that the people at my work think I'm at least in my mid (as opposed to early twenties) and I haven't disabused them of that notion mainly because I don't want to deal with the awkwardness.

I apologize that this turned into basically two separate posts, but I'm going to post it as is.

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