There's a fundamental difference between being young, "young" and old. Our grandmas will probably call us young as long as they live, for the mere fact we are youngER! And would I, at 28, ever consider myself old? Of course not, I'm youngER than the majority of my country, in fact, the old people and their electoral behavior are ruining my future. But: I, like my old friends, can equally no longer do whatever I want. I have responsibility, a much slower metabolism, and grey hair. Like, really, I'm almost entirely grey which obviously will be hidden under a thick layer of bleach for another 28 years at least. I might not be old, but I am also no longer young. I am only "young", and whether I use the two fingers on both hands in the air connotating quotation marks now strongly depends on who I talk to, and what I want for the rest of my life.
My favorite song right now, "Younger" by Senabo, told me I'm not getting any younger. Mate, I know. My uterus is aging with every day I drink wine instead of going to the gym. If I want children, I'm getting older. If I want to spend a year backpacking, I'm running out of time. If I want to perfect a certain sport, I'm ancient. Fortunately for me, none of these desires are essential to my happiness so I'm hella young. This glass of wine I drink occasionally is the essence of my happiness and since I'm neither a mother nor broke nor a professional athlete I'm holding a set of cards that's going to make me win. Because all the things one needs to feel young are available to me and I have no ambition to trade them in anytime soon.
So now we have sufficiently talked about why I'm happy I'm young and refuse to be called anything else, it's time to look reality in the face. I'm slowly fading away and in another 28 years I'll be nearing retirement and will almost have outlived my father's age. So it would be foolish not to think about the things left to achieve because not all of them are feasible anymore. I'm way past my old idea of having four children - a desire I only had because I never met a child. I'm a little bit too old for my romantic decisions if I want to try commitment at some point. And this lifestyle of wining and dining won't prevent cancer forever so it's time to listen to my body and take it to the spa and not the steak restaurant. But OK, I suppose it would be a little too much to expect death to loom. The truth is that the drug-addict artists are probably right when they say a short, exciting life got more to offer than a long and boring life. I plan to be exciting for a very long time so that 30 looming is just not that scary.
However, I now live in a town where the hottest place on the weekend is the playground, even among 20-somethings because they're all goddamn parents. If all people around you do a certain thing, not doing it starts feeling weird. That "thing" being procreation. I'm not participating and I seem to be the only one which I'm cool with. Now. But what happens in ten years when I'm the only one left who does not have a family? I mean now, that's more normal than people my age having one already, but I can't get away with it forever. One day I won't be young and then, my mother thinks, I'll be alone. Maybe she's right. Its unlikely the absence of children will make me lonely but the absence of somebody else, anybody, doing the same, might. So even if I feel "young" at 70, I won't be. The balance between seeing the number and feeling it is a hard to get right, and I don't know how well I'm doing right now...