Too young, too old

I’ve felt younger ever since I remember myself. I had a younger sister and younger best friends in early childhood. Maybe it led to me wanting to identify with them, I don’t know. Youthfulness somehow runs in the family, too.

I’ve looked younger than my age from my teens onwards. Prior to that, I was normal and at one point I must have looked older. I was tall once. That is funny to recall.  One time in my life I was actually tall. Anyhow, looking younger continues to this day. Most of the time, I’m grateful that nature has been so generous. It feels very fitting that if I feel younger at heart, I should also look younger. I’m really most glad.

The only downside is dealing with the adult world. No, it’s not about how I feel inadequate doing adult things. I feel that too, but it is worse. People sometimes don’t take me seriously because I look 18 or something. I meet with raised eyebrows and confusion so very often when I’m trying to handle some formal business. I’m sometimes patronized. I’m often not treated with the same courtesy as more mature-looking people. Add to it my natural shyness, and the result is a disaster. I look like a total ingénue tossed into the real world.  And I do try. I try to dress more formally, but it seems to be of little help. Fortunately, there are people who manage to remain professional, but there is a lot of the opposite too. I don’t actually mind being patronized. BUT I do mind not being taken seriously as a customer when dealing with serious things. If my hairdresser patronizes me and calls me doll-like and sweet, they have my permission to waffle away. But if bank employees and real estate agents do that, it’s annoying.

This leads me to prefer e-mail communication to handle formal affairs. I’m neither shy nor will they see my face. Chances are that everything works out more satisfactory than face-to-face dealings where I regularly fail to appear assertive and competent enough. I’m actually both, if necessary and up to a point. But when I feel cornered and not taken seriously from the very start, I feel that I must prove myself to be an adult and I don’t perform well.

That is one side of the coin. It will most likely pass and by the time I’m supposed to start working as a psychologist I will be old enough in numerical terms so that signs of age will be visible. I actually hope to work with young people more, so that may be an advantage even.

The other side of the coin is that when signs of age do become quite visible, what of the 16-year-old inside? How can I keep her?  The world is so ageist and every behaviour is classified into age-appropriate and not. Oh well. That is to be seen.

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