I am an adult. Sometimes I find that hard to remember, which is funny since I spend a lot of time with younger people. Time was when I would be the youngest one in a room or a group, and I got used to it. But of course as time has passed so have those opportunities to be the youngest, or the second youngest, or the third youngest. Sometimes I still like I’m maybe the fourth youngest but only if I squint really hard and imagine some people are older than they appear to be.
And I’m not sure when that age thing became important to me. Maybe it always was, but from the other side of the glass, when I was looking in at the exhibits instead of being one of them. Generation X. We had the future ahead of us, but now that future is now, and it’s moving quickly. Objects in the rearview mirror are getting more numerous and hard to differentiate from each other. Was it 10 years ago or 20? I can remember both with some level of clarity, but they all start to blend together at a point. That’s all part of being 37.
But yes, I can still be childish at times. I find myself making jokes that I am ashamed of later. Kid jokes, like the kind you would find in a “clean jokes” book available at Barnes & Noble for six bucks. Or playing the repeat game, when someone else says something and I repeat it. Then I’m the only one who laughs at it. I do that a lot with my eight-year old and she’ll roll her eyes at me and keep on doing whatever she was doing before I started repeating her.
Every once in a while I’ll find myself thinking about what I was doing 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, and remembering how I thought I was so old then, that time was some kind of vacuum that sucked years up like so much detritus. And I’m older now, but I don’t always feel my age, whatever 37 feels like. Maybe 37 feels like whatever I’m feeling at the time, like it’s an individual thing instead of a collective age.
Maybe being 37 is just a state of mind.