Why do I feel younger than people who are younger?

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MagicMeerkat
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24 Dec 2016, 4:31 pm

I'm turning 30 in February but certain people who are actually younger than me feel older to me. Like this guy at work called "Will". Will is only 24, but I feel so much younger than him. Maybe it's because he's been there longer than I have and has more responsibilities and gets paid. (I'm just a volunteer, but it's not like I just sit on my butt doing nothing, and it's the closest thing I've ever had to an actual job. Will started out as a volunteer too.)

I was six when I went to kindergarten, a year older than most kids. When my mom brought in cupcakes for my birthday, the other kids asked me how old I was and when I told them "7", they were amazed. But I remember feeling like everyone else was older. I've heard it said that "age" is just a number, or that age is just a word. But still, I'd like another answer. People are shocked when they find out my actual age. I've never been interested in alcohol or tobacco, but I would sometimes pick up tobacco for my dad when he his back hurt or his Parkinson's was acting up. I was always asked to show ID and they'd comment that I should go undercover or "You'll appreciate it when you're older. When you're fifty but look forty." I appreciated it THEN and NOW because I feel so much younger than everyone.


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24 Dec 2016, 4:38 pm

I think that's a perfectly normal observation. I look very young and have quite "young" interests so my age is frequently underestimated (I'm 31). That said, the reverse was true when I was younger due to my academic interests and manner of speaking.

I've never been interested in alcohol/smoking or the like either and I think there is a link made in peoples minds very early on that these constitute "grown up" behaviour/pursuits so deviating from that seems somehow odd/naive and therefore young despite it being 100% normal and OK not to be in to those things.

I wouldn't take it as a sleight at your perceived maturity, some times people just look/seem younger for a variety of reasons which can change in different circumstances (perhaps you're far more mature in other areas of your than you are aware) or even the perception of other people since there is no accurate gauge for a persons age, they just have to go by what they think young and old look or act like.


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BirdInFlight
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25 Dec 2016, 5:55 am

I've always been assumed by others to be younger than I am, both in looks and in general impression, and although I'm now finally feeling "older" physically because I'm now experiencing physical problems with my joints and such, I still feel "young" inside my mind and spirit. I've always had interests and tastes in things that stayed younger than those of people my own age.

As you get older though, it's not always an advantage for others to perceive you as younger, because you can get pushed around condescendingly by people who don't even realize you're a peer.



IstominFan
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25 Dec 2016, 7:27 am

I can relate. I am all over the place in terms of maturity. Educationally, I am advanced, with a Master's in English and an Associate's of Occupational Science in Legal Studies. However, I did many things very late, getting my driver's license for the first time at age 48. I started tennis lessons at age 50. I still work part time, but my duties at the library are increasing. I never got married and had children like my normal peers. I feel that, no matter what I do and what I may accomplish in life, there will be people who will say, "Big deal. I've been doing it for years." I enjoy my life now and wish others could see my joy instead of knocking me down just because I did everything late.

I was always the youngest and the smallest in my class and started kindergarten not knowing English. Academically, I made up for it, but socially and in terms of maturity, I never felt I did.