Tomorrow I will be turning twenty-eight.
It may sound silly, but for me this is the first birthday that I believe is changing who I am.
I’ve always been the baby of my group.
Growing up I was consistently ahead a year in school. I graduated high school before I could get my license and went to college young. I was married and had kids before many of my friends had even settled down and I started a company and bought a home when many of my peers had just found their footing in the world.
Of course all of these things were accomplished with the help of those who love me and with the unyielding support and love of my dear husband. But they are still my accomplishments.
For me when I’ve done each of these things, there has never been a thought that I was “too young” to do it. I am a goal setter by nature. I work hard towards what I want and I push myself to achieve the things that are important to me. I’ve never once used my age or inexperience as a reason to not at least try.
For years I’ve grown accustomed to comments from friends and strangers that constantly remind me how “young” I am. Comments like, “But, you’re so young”, “You couldn’t possibly be a mother!”, “How old were you when you had her?”, “You’re married?!”, “You’re too young to have a business”. These have become normal and expected to me. And I am ashamed to admit, over the years I have built a collection of “excuses” that I give to make my accomplishments and achievements more acceptable to others.
I, in all honesty, have begun to believe that I am too young. Too young for what? I have no idea. But despite all of my achievements, each of which I am immensely proud of, I have been waiting to feel like and adult. To feel old enough to have accomplished these things and any others that I have yet to try for.
This idea about myself and about what adulthood should feel like is no longer acceptable to me.
The idea that one should wait to achieve success until they have reached a certain age or experience is ridiculous. The concept that you need experience to be successful is in the end untrue. Success in itself is an experience and one of the most influential. I believe that I have learned as much from our successes and gains as I have from our failures and pitfalls.
This is a lesson I want to give to my kids, especially my girls, early on. It has taken me almost half my life to decide that I did not agree with this. In order to pass on a new view on age I must first change the concept that I have.
So for my twenty-eighth year of life I am setting a new goal. I am going into this new age of adulthood with a brand-new mindset. I will hold myself to the highest standards of whatever successes I want to succeed at. And, in case I forget, I will remind myself. Constantly if necessary. So here it is.
You are not the experiences of others.
You are the successes and failures that YOU have had.
You are not the achievements and losses of others’ expectations of themselves.
Age is just a number.
Its ok to be too young to learn to play Bridge, to be too young to take afternoon naps and to plan for retirement. It is ok to be too young to succeed or too young to fail.
So own it. Be “too old” to have “fun” or to learn a new skill. Be that person who is “too old” to swing on the swing and run in the rain. Be “too old” to dress up for Halloween or believe in Santa and make believe.
Remember you have learned as much from your successes in life as you have learned from your failures.
Never justify it. Never apologize.
Try harder and show yourself that you can do it. Because I know you can. And most of all YOU know you can.
Be well and be happy,