Act Your Own Age - Or Not
“Act your own age,” we’re sometimes told. But no one tells us what that means exactly. So then, is there a guide saying what it means to be 10, 12, 16, or 18-years-old, or any other age? The answer to that, of course, is no.
In a very loose sense, there are certain markers: we start secondary school at 13, get our licenses at 17, and so on. But how we feel, act, and think is beyond the confines of a number assigned to us each year. Our age does not define our psyche, though the situations that certain years bring may influence us, and there is nothing to dictate to us how we are supposed to be as people at different ages in life.
And indeed, that’s a good thing. Society – or perhaps our desire and even need to be accepted into it – already places too many standards for us. There are restrictions on how we act at home, in school, and even with friends, though perhaps some would say that there are less with really good friends. With the many social rules there are, there is then no need, or should be no need, for further restrictions in how we act during certain years.
Of course, people will always tell us to “act our own age” until they can come up with a better retort – it’s a convenient line to pull out whenever it feels like someone is acting immature or perhaps even too mature. But remember that there really is no such thing as that, and if we have not received all our freedoms, we at least have received the freedom to think and act a few years around our real age. It’s part of our rights as human beings to think freely, and sometimes, that doesn’t have to mean of thinking about big or new ideas, though of course this is an option. Sometimes though, it just means like acting like a little kid once in a while, or feeling like we’re a good couple of years older. No one really feels like a different person when they wake up on New Years’ or their birthday anyway, so why then should we allow age to control us?