It's Saturday. I'm waiting in line at Meijer to pay for some oranges. A man somewhere down the line behind me is warning his little grandson, whom he let handle the cart:
Man: "Don't hit that lady! You can't hit her, don't hit that lady!"
Me (thinking): Aww, that's cute. I wonder who he's talking about.
I turn around, and realize that the man and his grandson are actually right behind me. Which means the lady he is referring to is... me. Me? ME?? I'm "that lady"? WHAT?!
I felt so old at that moment. :(
As I enter my 20s, I've been thinking more about what it means to grow older. (The way I see it, when you are 20, you are just "20". When you turn 21, then you are "in your 20s".) I've been thinking about what that moment is like when you realize you are no longer "young." That moment when you understand that while you're not old enough to be considered "old", the years of endless opportunity and energy and potential, the so-called "best years of your life", have passed you by and aren't coming back.
That moment when "the current generation" becomes "the previous generation". That moment when people who were young and thought they'd live forever are now just newly-inducted members into the "grown ups" club, whose members are no longer the center of attention. Society has given up its expectations and scrutiny of them because their time to shine has come and gone. That moment when you, as a member of that used-to-be-current generation, realize that your peak has passed and your sun is setting.
I am only 20 years old and I still live with my mom. I don't live independently, I've never had a job, and I haven't accomplished much in life yet. I am still too young for That Moment. I don't even fully think of myself as an adult yet, which is why that exchange at Meijer was both hilariously absurd and slightly disconcerting for me. I am neither distinguished (yet!) nor elderly. I am not yet a real adult. I AM STILL YOUNG! So while they are polite, at this point in time I'd rather not hear titles such as "lady" or "ma'am". Those don't apply to me yet. Thanks but no thanks, man.