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I’ve been feeling old of late. There are people born in 1995 who are living much louder lives than I am. It’s a little strange.

There’s a very narrow band of time in women are relevant in mainstream Western culture. You’re considered incapable until you hit, say, eighteen. Then you’re in the age bracket for the ideal body until your early twenties – never mind that you likely don’t have that body, not that anyone really can, and never mind the creepy fixation on youth sexuality. You’re past the age at which it’s appropriate to wear short skirts at thirty, but you’re still not relevant as a thinking human being until you’re a serious adult at, say, 35, or maybe not until you’re a parent who has passed that age, or when you are sufficiently settled in a particular kind of career… and by then you’re invisible, irrelevant, past it. People are allowed to be the standard or the ideal in particular ways at particular ages, but there are only rare moments of confluence in which you’re allowed to be an authority or visible or just not contemptible in more than one or two.

So I feel like the current is sweeping me by already in a lot of ways – I didn’t perform my very young adulthood in particularly normative respects, and I haven’t sought after many of the kinds of appearance or pasttime or experience that Teh Yoof of Today are supposed to want*, and I’ve sought after others that were my own, or are supposed to belong to people much older than I am. I’ve never been one for ticking life boxes on schedule, and I find conformity really quite creepy, particularly conformity that is forced on a particular group to fix them with stereotype-based contempt. I’m grabbing on to the things I care about. The personal key is to go for what matters to you, not someone else’s goals for your life. And also to not count people out by age, but count them in by their achievements and amazing potential as human beings.

People have all kinds of things to contribute, based on their personhood. And life experience doesn’t come on schedule.

*I get so bored hanging about at parties I’ve been known to bring books. Not to be read in the company of the host or friends, of course!