“Wait…You’re only how old?”

If only I could remember how many times someone has said that to me.

My age has never fit me. It’s like trying to squeeze into that great pair of heels that are on sale, but are just too small. As a little girl, I never wanted to play with the neighborhood kids at block parties. Instead, I talked about things I saw on the news and freely gave my opinion on current affairs. My Sunday mornings were spent checking stocks in the newspaper rather than turning to the comics. I was different than the other kids.

It’s not much different today. When you’d rather stay in and read than go out and rage, people get confused. “Oh, you just turned 20? I thought you were at least 24.” Nope, not quite.

But what is it that makes someone seem “older?” Why is attitude related to what’s on our birth certificates? I wish I had the answer, but let’s see how this can be a benefit and how we can learn to, how they say, “act our age.”

act-your-age

Responsibility

Your maturity, the way you carry yourself, can lead to so many opportunities. People are drawn to those who are well-composed. This will lead to an added trust because so often we relate maturity to responsibility. This may come in the form of extra projects at work, a promotion, or even understanding.

Opportunities

There will be some extra trust from superiors at work. Chances for harder projects may flow your way. You’ll attract a group of like-minded and wise folks to surround yourself with. Those are all great things. Take those opportunities and run with them! Learn from those who do have more experience than you while they hold that door to opportunity wide open.

Learning

A few of those open doors will come back to slam in your face. Admit it, we’ve all been there. That big project or new promotion can make you feel invincible at first (and rightfully so), but sometimes even the most responsible and brilliant of us will fall. This is the key—our golden ticket—to learn from it all. You can work out the kinks in your professional style and find what ways you work best and which methods just don’t cut it for you at a much earlier stage in your career. But, if you’re like me, you’ll kick yourself over it for a while. Just take a step back and charge through the open door again. This is how you’ll gain the wisdom to back up your old-soul persona. So what if it didn’t go just-so-perfectly-right? You’ll get it next time.

Let Loose

And let me guess—you’re probably the responsible friend, too? Let’s balance a budget, make a meal plan, and play by the rules. Yawn. Sure, we all need that go-to friend that will hit us with a heavy dose of reality, but sometimes the tables must turn. Let loose! Make a spontaneous decision! Stay up late with your gal pals even though you know you have to be up for work the next morning. Eat an ice cream cone even though it doesn’t fall into your perfectly budgeted diet for the day. Make the memories that you’ll want to tell when you are an old woman.

It’s been a constant battle for me to wiggle my way into the age that never seemed to fit just right. There is no science to knowing when to act like the young women my age says I am and when to kick my maturity into high gear. But being aware of how we’re perceived in the workplace or even with friends, we can begin to learn to balance our inclination for maturity with our need for youthfulness. The future will be here soon, but it’s time to take a step back and look at the place and age we are now. I hate to say it, but.. “Young lady, act your age!”

Are you young at heart? Is acting your age essential in your workplace?

Ask Rachelle Hruska if she is a kid at heart!