I turned 27 yesterday. I still get carded. My girlfriend is 22. She gets carded too. We both look 20 or younger to people who are worried about getting busted for selling liquor to minors. I'll take that as a compliment.
I don't generally feel old, but I have over the last couple of years developed a nagging worry that I've noticed in other people who are scared about getting older. I've started to worry about not having accomplished enough in my more-than-quarter-century, even though I'm aware of how useless that thought is. It could be insecurity, as in, I'm not worth anything unless I've met X goals. It could even be arrogance, as in, I know I'm intelligent and creative and therefore capable of doing some really cool things, so why haven't I done more of them yet? Why am I not famous?
I understand now why, when we're children, we have encouragement and self-help mottoes thrust at us all the time. Those posters on Kindergarten walls declaring everyone's inherent worth and specialness aren't there for us when we're five, they're there so we absorb their words and remember them years later! Our teachers put them up there because they cared about us and wanted us to be happy with ourselves later in life!
Maybe I just went to a really good kindergarten.
It's very common for a woman in America to obsess about her own weight, and to think she's not worth anything unless she's within a certain "thin" range that always seems to be several pounds under what she weighs. This same woman might not hold other women to the same standard, and would readily call another woman "beautiful" when she would label herself "chubby" if she had that other woman's BMI. Furthermore, it's my experience that guys find girls to be much more attractive when the girls weigh significantly more than they think they should.
I can't relate to this literally, but I'm starting to understand this illogical mindset based on my fear of not accomplishing enough. I'll bet that, no matter how much I might have accomplished in any hypothetical life, I would think somewhere in my subconscious that it hasn't been enough. I would be a better person if I had won more awards, or gotten hooked up with higher-profile tours, or had a sweet major-label record deal, or had more money. I would never hold this standard to other people, but for some reason a part of my mind holds me to that standard.
It's easy to lose track of the great advice I've gotten over the years from my parents and other wise people. Wise people know that you need to keep your priorities straight, and that your priority should never be external accomplishments. Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tsu, and Yoda would tell me that I should do things for the sake of love and togetherness. Or, um, self-realization, maybe. Or... um... other good things. Huh. I forgot a lot of my lessons.
Hm. Being wise is hard. Maybe I'll remember what's important soon.