Here at “Opera Camp,” I’m surrounded by a huge variety of people. And, as the cheesy saying goes, “I keep getting older as those interns stay the same age.”
I can’t be sure, but I would guess that if you averaged out the ages of all of the seasonal employees here, it would be about 24. That means that my subset of “acceptable age range” friends is getting smaller every year.
It’s been made painfully clear to me lately how socially starved I have become over the past year after moving to Delaware, so I find myself grasping at any and all social events this summer.
So if I decide that I want to put myself out there and be social for the first time in years, I have a few choices:
I can have “quiet nights in” with some friends closer to my age (though my demographic is quite small) which is pretty much like my last five years has been if I’m being generous, or go out for dinner and spend way too much money. This is also keeping my friend circle quite small and homogenous, meaning: late 20s to early 30s women who work in the costume shop…
I can drink hard ciders on the porch with a wider group of people, most of whom are 20-26 years old. I get to meet new people from other areas and allow myself to have some silly fun for the first time in years. And many of these people actually have more common interests with me than people my own age.
So I’ve been doing a bit of both, but am liberally choosing option two.
But then the weird self-consciousness comes a-knocking.
Am I that Old Lady Who Is Trying Too Hard And People Just Think Is Pathetic?
Am I that girl who just keeps showing up, as people roll their eyes behind my back?
Ah, those feelings left over from my insecure high school days come flooding back, and I scoff at them, pretending to be a fully empowered 30 year old woman.
After all, so many people have told me they thought I was 23-ish lately. That’s precious. So I don’t ACT like an “old lady.”
And if I’m not yet “too old,” how long could I keep this up before I am?
This is some societal bullshit, yo.
I’m at such an in-between age right now, and I don’t know what to do.
What is “age appropriate behavior” anyway?
How old must my friends be for it to be considered acceptable and not creepy?
I spent the past four years being That Boring Girl who always stayed at home with her partner watching Netflix. I spent a year being That Boring Married Person who would make every excuse to not go out and engage in social situations. Ever.
One could say I “wasted” my late 20s, which were, according to some, my last bastions of my “prime.”
So who is it hurting if I hang out with the young whippersnappers a bit, conducting myself responsibly but enjoying watching a ridiculous game of Star Tipping? (Not playing, that’s too dangerous. A woman has her limits!)
And sometimes I just have to attend a bonfire and dance around it to 90s pop. And weep inwardly when I am told by someone ten years younger than me that he “doesn’t really know Britney.”
Unless I bring it up, everyone assumes I’m their age anyway, far from the “old lady” I worry they see.
And I can still go antiquing and come home and make yogurt in my crock pot and cuddle with my cat.