It was my birthday on Wednesday... it's possible I've mentioned that before. Oh well, this is my blog and I reserve the right to repeat myself as often as I want.
I turned 22 on Wednesday (see repeating myself). The brushed over older sister of 21 or the more infamous 21+1 (because everybody has to start lying sometime). It's a matter of perspective. However no matter what you call it 22 is the beginning of adult monotony. Where social position is no longer judged by age but by place in life.
To be clear, this happens before 22... it really starts to kick in about 18-19... however both 18 and 21 are pinnacle birthdays. 21 has more tradition. 18 is perhaps more applicable in Australian society. There is an element of 'if you haven't reached this point you aren't as old as you think' to the birthdays. Twenty-one in particular is the 'big send off' - that last ditch effort by the family to embarass you in front of all of your other family and probably several friends who have only every known the full grown you. Not that I had a 21st... but I've been to several.
22 is not a pinnacle birthday.22 is a nothing birthday. Nothing differenciates you at 22 from 23,24,25,26... until you hit thirty (and then you are OLD apparently - though my sister thinks I am old as it is). No. Age doesn't really have a purpose any longer. It is merely a guide line. That is - I am more likely to expect them to be 'married with school-aged kids' if they are in their 30s... I'd like to similarly hope that is not the case when talking to somebody who seems early 20s.
Instead I think of life from now on in different 'ages'. Not unique, you probably think in these too and they are probably in some woman's magazine somewhere. However mine are as follows.
- Singles. Woo! I am officially in the 'baby' category of adulthood. Here lies the majority of singles although under circumstances singles will come to reside in a couple of the other categories... and somewhere past the 30 barrier singles may move to the 'Spinster' category. Singles may be your heavier partier types, they may just be you unattached friends. These people don't have partners, kids, or much to say on either topic. Consequently they hang out with mostly singles and perhaps a few 'Couples'.
- Couples. The next stage of life these people have partners, in some level of 'its kind of a new thing' through 'to be married next week'. These ones may still be hanging with the singles friends or have moved friendship circles to associate with their partners friends. Couples is a level that may be visited by singles... and then they may be 'age demoted' back to singleness. You know how it is...
- Young Marrieds. These are usually your 1-5 years of marriage types. However this is a time based category - just like any of the others here. Young married have no kids. These ones don't hang a lot with singles any more... they've moved into this stage of life with many of their friends usually or simply they have started to distance themselves because married life is hard.
- Married with Babies. Awww... Are they so CUTE! This the centre of attention couples with teeny tinies. The least likely to socialise their lives now revolve around their new child.
- Married with Kids. At least one of your kids has reached school age now. So rather than having that 'wrapped up in the home' characteristic to your family you are now back into community. Community with other marrieds with kids. This is the 'soccer mum' time of life.
- Spinsters. This is a side-liner category - which I don't easily fit into the other categories. This is those who never marry but have moved past being able to associate with singles because all their old friends are into the married categories. This also includes divorced person without kids and in certain circumstances married who choose not to have kids.
- Married with Teens. Obviously the next level up from married with kids. They are more independent and STILL you have no time to yourself. Instead of 'soccer mum' you are now 'taxi driver'.
- Empty Nesters. These are your people whose kids have all moved out of home (or should have all moved out of home). They can be a bit weird at first but eventually they get the hang of their empty nest and really begin to enjoy themselves.
- Golden Oldies. The properly old people. These love their grandkids to bits, pass the time as 'gray nomads' and just generally are enjoying the twilight years of their life (and probably don't know that 'Twilight' is a movie). I'd divide this category into a few - but that is really depressing and just feels wrong so we'll keep it on the bright side of old age.