I’m currently spending a good deal of time, both professionally and personally, with a group of 13 peers. Most are about my age and have several other attributes (gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, line of work) in common with me. One dissimilarity I noted is that each of the other 13 is married, with many also having children.

I don’t consider this fact in a hugely positive or negative light–in terms of my interactions with them, it has its advantages and its drawbacks. One point which has really stood out in my mind is that, in comparison to anyone with a similar work commitment and a family, I have more time to myself. I have a wider range of places to go and things to do during the hours when I’m not working or sleeping. I feel a lot of freedom, possibility and potential, though I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always excel at seizing and making notable use of all that independence.

My 31st birthday isn’t far away, but I don’t “feel old” and have honestly never empathized much with anyone who expresses such sentiments. I do understand how transitioning from college to the working world and, perhaps more significantly, marriage and parenthood can psychologically spell the end of youth for some. I’ve experienced one of those life events, and hopefully my maturity and responsibility levels have increased since age 21. On the other hand, I (by most accounts) both look and act younger than my age, and I have no heartburn about that.

I’ve written more than once here about the last several years of my life presenting some unexpected and unwelcome situations and making me learn some very hard lessons. That said, I’ve made it through everything so far, and I have every intention of making the best of my present reality. Granted, I can sometimes sense a widening gulf between myself and many of those whose past commonalities I share–but I’m not fearful of mapping my own course.

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