Approximately 44 days ago (not that I am counting) I re-entered the corporate world.
I thought I left forever three years ago. I started various businesses. I worked at home. I chaffeured children around.
It was awesome.
And then it was over. Boo.
So back to work I went.
I was pretty pumped because I had an excuse to buy new clothes. That was sort of fun.
And new shoes. Also fun.
I hired a babysitter. Not at all fun.
And I showed up at work on my first day and met the other new employee, a young lady who seemed nice enough.
After a couple of weeks we were moved into an office together. And at some point along the way I found out that she was 23.
Twenty three. Two…three. Good god.
She was quite insulted that she had a “Junior” in her title because that made it sound like she had NO experience. And HELLO, she had been working for almost 2 YEARS!
Did I mention that I am 43? That would be a full 20 YEARS older. A whole grown-up person more.
I felt a little dizzy when the age gap was so harshly quantified for me.
I quickly calculated that I could, without controversy, be her mother. I could have graduated from high school, married my high school sweetheart (if I had one…technicality) and waited a full 2 YEARS before I had a baby and that baby could have been her.
OMG. (See, although approaching fogey-hood, I am still totally hip. Right?)
A few days later she mentioned that her birthday was coming up and I made a mental note to wish her a happy one on the appropriate day. Of course I forgot (because – old and senile). So mid-day I remembered and wished her a Happy Birthday. To which she said, “It’s not a big deal anymore anyway. After 24 it’s all downhill anyway.”
Dude, I am so close to the bottom of that hill. Ouch.
Yesterday, as a holiday outing, our group went bowling. Because there is no better way to improve your professional credibility than bowling badly in front of a bunch of people that you barely know. Especially if they are ALL far far (far) younger than you.
A group of 5 of us were bowling, and all was going OK. Not too many inappropriate cultural references were made on my part. (What, they still have to know about Duran Duran, right??? That’s like, HISTORY!)
And then one of the other women (using the term loosely) offered to get a round of drinks. Nice of her, yes? Why thanks, I think I will!
About 10 minutes later she came back with one beer in her hand and a sheepish expression. Seems that because she was under 25, she was only allowed to buy one drink at a time. Someone else (who happened to be exactly 25) valiantly came to her rescue while the rest of the group commiserated about the trials and tribulations of being so stinking young.
And all I could think was – I wouldn’t have even gotten carded. And the bartender probably would have called me ma’am.
And there’s no amount of OMGing or LOLing that can make you fit in with the under 25s after THAT.
I have never lied about my age since I was 17. I thought 42 was twice as good as 21…
I haven’t lied – but I haven’t felt the need to be completely honest with my co-workers either :)
When I was in my very early 20s, I had a job where I had folks significantly older than me working for me. I graduated from college at a younger-than-usual age, so they had SOME sense of how old I was, but not a precise one . . . so I actually lied about my age to add a few years on, so as not to rub too much salt in the wounds associated with having a baby boss . . . .
You are not NEAR the bottom of the hill, not even over it yet. The best scientific research has discovered that you crest the hill when you are closer to collecting Social Security than to the age you were when you (and/or your peers class) graduated from college.
At 43, you have not crested yet. Break out the Duran Duran, the Flock of Human Seagulls League, and yes, even the Modern English. You are still young. Boogie onward!
I don’t generally feel any remorse about my age – I think I am on that “like a fine wine” sort of trajectory and have no regrets about how I spend those 20 years. I even listen to music from this century (for the most part). I even like the young folk around here, they are very accepting of my ancientness. It’s just so bizarre!
Another thing in common…also back in the work force with the 20-somethings. I don’t feel old, I feel experienced and love to share my wisdom with them. So funny about the one beer rule!