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Would you smile if I said you'd grow out of that? bql

Posted by Racer on September 14, 2008, at 13:47:29

In reply to Self esteem and my age, posted by bql on August 22, 2008, at 18:28:38

I'm very familiar with that phenomenon -- I went through years of feeling immature because I was doing something that didn't seem age-appropriate. And I did a lot of the "by now I should have..." as well. I started that routine around 12, with comics -- on Sundays, I'd want to read the comics, but thought they were "for kids." Around 14, I realized, "wait -- maybe it's a sign of maturity to read the comics because I enjoy them, regardless of age?" Maybe just rationalizing it, but I did enjoy my comics every Sunday again.

I came across something that helped me, maybe in Dear Abby? "I want to go to college, but I'm 45, it would take five years to get a degree, so I'd be 50 before I graduated!" The answer was, "And if you don't go to college, you'll still be 50 in five years -- but you won't have that degree." That's true -- there's no such thing as a Way Back Machine, no matter how much fun Sherman and Mr Peabody had in theirs, so we can't undo decisions we've made. If you don't do something now, simply because you're "too old," or you "should have done that when I was younger," all you'll have to look forward to are regrets for missed chances.

Some ideas for getting past it:

Therapy is the first thing to come to mind, and if that's an option, I strongly urge you to pursue it.

Think about what it is behind this thought process: so what if something "should have been done when you were younger?" What does that mean? Is it a sign of Bad Character? Immaturity? Frivolity? I'd guess it's a rather negative and harsh judgment, whatever it is.

Do you ever think nice things to yourself? About yourself? Compliment yourself? Reward yourself? It's a nice habit to get into, and might help with all this.

I can't think of anything else, but I promise you something -- life is infinitely more pleasurable and satisfying if you can learn to do things because you enjoy them, without regard to whether your chosen enjoyment is "age appropriate" or not. (Within legal limits, of course -- you still can't play certain games with younger people.)

For what it's worth, one of my very favorite activities is swinging on swings. I'm middle aged -- and I can't pass a swing set without longing and longing, and I love having the opportunity to indulge that longing. Would you call that age appropriate? Probably not -- but that makes it not one iota less pleasurable.


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poster:Racer thread:847732
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