No Longer a “Young” Person

I am a college professor and administrator.  I am 38 years old.

Yesterday, I saw one of my students walking through the parking lot.  She is a young woman of about 19 years of age.  Struggling to find something to say as she strode toward me smiling, I came up with this gem:

“So, are you going trick or treating this weekend?”

Ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh.

When I was a teenager, I can distinctly recall my father telling me that he realized abruptly at age 35 that he was no longer a young person.  He heard a group of early twenty-somethings talking.  Their concerns were different from his concerns.  Their interests were different from his.  Their language was different.  Their clothing and hair was different.

That is happening to me.  Thank heaven I can talk about some really old stuff (like Augustine and Aquinas and Machiavelli) secure in the knowledge that I won’t be out of date and knowing that some young people will really be interested in hearing about it, if for no other reason than that it is really old.

There are other impacts to not being a young person.  I am slowly divesting myself of the feeling that I am junior to everyone on the campus who is not a student.  I don’t have to cover myself in disclaimers if someone should happen to call me “sir”.

I have also become somewhat protective of my own dignity.  A friend called me out on something on an email list full of peers.  I wrote him back privately informing him that I am of an age where I just can’t handle being publicly corrected!  But do please upbraid me in private.  I will respond in a reasonable fashion.

On the other hand, I am nowhere near middle-aged!  I refuse it.  I’m just not young.  That’s all.

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6 thoughts on “No Longer a “Young” Person

  1. Yeah … when grown adults call you “sir”, it kinda takes you back. I’m 45 and still not used to it. “Middle aged” doesn’t sit well with me either.

    I’ve got a Masters level mechanical engineer and a PhD physicist working for me on a project, and they treat me far too deferentially because I’m their boss. When I try to be ‘just one of the guys’, it just makes them feel awkward. I’m stuck being ‘the boss’, so I might as well make the best of it.

    The other side of it is that I have real authority I can and should use well. They listen to me, so I’d better be right!

  2. Amen to that, Scott. One thing that has been tough for me is to say something in a meeting and find that people have absolutely relied on that information. I think very carefully about what I say now!!!

  3. Heck yes I am! I’ve got Batman and a Princess ready to roll and they need a chaperone. Last year I was stuck home handing out candy. This year, I get to go!

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