Before I moved here, I was always the younger one.
Growing up, I was not only the youngest in my family, but the youngest of all my cousins as well. This continued on throughout most of my life, especially once I finished my uni degree and started working. I guess that's what happens when you choose nursing as a profession and the average age is 45. Then when I moved to London, I was one of the youngest amongst all my friends and they would often mention I seemed much older than I was.
There was something special about being the young one, the one who was so wise and so adventurous at such a young age. Even when I moved back to Australia at 26 and people asked me when I was going to settle down, I never really felt uncomfortable about my age. Why should I?! I was so young and had everything to live for.
It wasn't until I moved to Paris that I started to really think about my age.
When I moved here, the curve shifted and suddenly, I had gone from being one of the youngest, to one of the oldest. It took me a while to adjust, not just because I felt so much older, but because of what I had sacrificed to be there.
Since coming back and going back to school it has been the same readjustment all over again.
The people that I have become the closest with are in their early/mid twenties and whilst I love every minute with them, I can't help but feel like I am reliving some of my life all over again.
I stumbled across this funny little article on buzz feed about the best and worst years of your twenties and it made me laugh as most of it definitely rang true. There was especially a quote that I resonated with about being 28 that said:
'28 is the year when you’re finally able to accept that no one actually “feels” like a grown-up and it’s OK that you don’t either.'
That is exactly how I felt at 28 and even more so now that I am 31.
I very much don't feel like 31 but then again, I most certainly don't feel like I am 21 either. My closest friend here is 22 and even though in many ways she is very young, she reminds me of what I was like when I was her age. She is wise beyond her years and has a lot to offer the world and me, but I feel like our friendship is actually an exception.
Being here amongst these younger people, I have really struggled to find where I fit in. Most of the time it doesn't come up, but when it comes to life experience, there is a clear difference. However, I feel like this life experience doesn't mean anything, instead, it sometimes just feels like I am doing this course 5 years too late.
I am constantly battling with who I know I am, against who I think I should be and it feels like I am learning lessons from my twenties all over again.
I think the problem is going from having a career and a comfortable life in Australia, back to being a student in a city on the other side of the world. It is incredibly hard adjusting from one life to another and I have felt like the whole journey has been one huge emotional roller coaster. You constantly bombard yourself with questions like: What you are doing? Why have you chosen the harder path?! Is this really what you want to do?! Also being a single woman in your 30s you feel a certain societal pressure to get married and be a mother, something which seems so far from my reality right now!!
So I do wonder about the saying 'age is but a number' as in some ways it is, but in other ways, it really isn't. Shouldn't we embrace the numbers that we collect as points for life experience?! Then we can take them and use them to shape and confirm who we want to be.
Just some thoughts.
Life in Paris, never a dull moment!