What’s My Age Again?


My Friends Say I Should Act My Age.  What’s My Age Again?

The 8:30 alarm wrestles me awake to the same room I was in when I first heard that iconic Blink-182 song.

I groggily make my way down the hall and climb the stairs I’ve climbed a thousand times, worn from years of growing kids and animals fluttering between the two realms of the house.  The Keurig is already running and I fire up a fresh cup of coffee.  I grab a snack, let my childhood dog outside to do his business, and officially begin the day.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I live at home with my parents[1].

My situation isn’t all that unique either.  According to an analysis of census data performed by the Pew Research Center, living with one’s parents has become the most common living arrangement for 18 to 34 year-olds for the first time in modern history.  With myself and so many others failing to live up to traditional age markers of success[2], I can’t help but wonder…what’s my age again?

We’re immersed in a cultural narrative that places a timetable on worldly achievement.  Go to college right after high school and graduate in five years or lose your jump start at a successful career.  Have your first kiss by 18 or wear a scarlet badge of sexual inexperience for future partners to see.  Find your passion before next month or spend the rest of your life in a purposeless vacuum.  Start a family by 30 or witness your uterus spontaneously shrivel up and fall out.

Our expectations of where we should be and how they measure up to where we actually are play a consequential role in our ability to accept and appreciate our current paradigm.  When everyone online is an Instagram model, an enthusiastic entrepreneur, or Jill from middle school riding a fucking jet ski, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re doing something wrong.  And in the game of comparisons, you never win.

I’m 23, I live with my parents, and I don’t have any ridiculous material achievements to show for my years on this planet.  I do have a strong support system though.  I have goals and a vision for my life that I’m actively working towards.  I glean new insights about myself and the world around me each day.  Most importantly (assuming I don’t die in a car accident on my way to Colorado tomorrow), I have time.

You do too.

We need to break away from the expectation of how life is supposed to be at a particular age.  It just doesn’t work that way.  Like the waves in the ocean, life has an ebb and flow to it, and there’s only so much paddling we can do before the current drags us towards where it wants to go. We can make a conscious effort to steer our lives in a certain direction, but we don’t get to choose when we have our first breakthrough, when we get that promotion, when we find “the one”, or when life throws us a bucket of moldy lemons that we have to clean up.

Instead, we should focus less on where we wish we were and more on becoming who we want to be.  The rest will come together in time.  As Blink-182 famously sang:

“No one should take themselves so seriously

With many years ahead to fall in line

Why would you wish that on me?

I never wanna act my age

What’s my age again?

What’s my age again?”


[1] And I’ve managed to avoid the stereotype of “grown man living in his mother’s basement”.  Progress folks.

[2] Such as getting married, being involved in a career, starting a family, or becoming financially independent.

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