I’ve never really understood society’s obsession with age. I just started my online blog back in May, and wanting to make sure I get my writing out there to as many potential readers as possible, I linked it with various social medias, including posting my vlogs on my Youtube channel.
Part of the idea behind all of this was to help me come out of my shell a bit– to help me get over being so shy and nervous and afraid of the thought of sharing my work with others and putting myself out there for people to see and point at and possibly mock and ridicule– to show me that maybe the world isn’t as scary a place as I’ve built it up to be in my head.
Needless to say, I share links on my Facebook and across all of my social media, learning how to network on my own and trying to learn as much as I can as I go along, and I’ve been getting various response whenever the people in my life find out about what I’m doing.
My mom, of course, is thrilled, but then again she’s always been supportive of my writing and to be fair? I was on the phone with her the day I posted my first video blog on Youtube, and to be honest? She was the one on the other end of the line going “do it do it do it doooooo iiiiiit!”
My husband is thrilled– he’s been pushing for years, telling me I should finish one of the various books I’m working on and send it in to various publishers to evaluate, and telling me that I’m too much of a perfectionist and that I shouldn’t be quite so scared to share my writing with others (You know how it feels, don’t you fellow writers? People find out you’re a writer, and they ask to see your work and suddenly you hate every word you ever put to paper? I can’t be the only one out there.)
I’m like my mother in a number of ways (Yes I admit it, and with pride dammit, my mother’s one hell of a strong and loving, compassionate and selfless woman, and I’m proud to be her daughter), one of which is the fact that neither one of us really pays attention to our age anymore. We both figure we’re old enough to drink, drive (SEPARATELY), and vote, so why obsess over a number anymore?
There’s been people who hear I’m doing all of this and look at me like I’ve got a third eye. Which is fine. My life is supposed to be my life, not theirs. At the end of the day, how you live your life is your business, and how they live their life is theirs, and I’ve always believed everyone should live their life in whatever way makes them happy, as long as they’re not encroaching on the happiness of others, or hurting others in order to make them happy.
I don’t understand why we’re expected to dress and act and speak according to our ages all our lives. But then, I’ve never understood why people felt we should give up who we are in order to fit the cookie-cutter ideal laid out by whatever hats we happen to wear.
I don’t understand why people should feel like they have to change who they are just because they’re getting older, or because they get married or have kids or even grandkids. How can you live a happy and emotionally fulfilling life if you’re not even free to be who you really are? How can you be truly happy in your life if you have to spend all day every day pretending to be something and someone you’re not?
I’m in my early thirties now. And guess what? I still read comic books, just as I did ten years ago, and longer ago than that. I used to play dungeons and dragons when I was younger, and if my younger brother showed up at the front door with it today, damned if I wouldn’t play it still.
I rock out at guitar hero with my stepsons, and whenever the newest Marvel movie comes out, I geek out just as hard as they do, if not harder, and so does my husband.
Oh yeah, family of Marvel nerds here, and DC, and every single person in our house is a gamer of one kind or another.
I curl up on the couch with my stepsons and watch video-gamer commentaries on Youtube and crack up just as hard as the kids do, no differently than when we curl up for our movie marathon nights.
My middle stepson calls me up out of the blue from his mother’s house to talk to me about Minecraft (his latest obsession). He tells me about what he’s building and sends me pictures, and we brainstorm about what he should build next. You wouldn’t believe the incredible things he builds. I told him I was considering giving it a try, just to see what it was about, and he and his younger brother were both on board with the idea.
My younger two stepsons and I get into lengthy discussions about how much of a badass Thorin was in Lord of the Rings (they’ve both read all the books), and get into playful arguments over who’s the best Marvel superhero (The youngest would say Captain America, the middle one would say Wolverine, and I have my own opinions).
The point I’m trying to make is that it shouldn’t be up to your age or up to other people to tell you that you can’t love the things you love, that you can’t do the things you do that make you truly happy, that help you connect with the people you care about and make your life feel complete. Just because you’re getting older or you get married or have kids, you shouldn’t have to change who you are. I am who I was when I was younger, and I regret having to admit that I spent far too much time in my recent past stressing over what I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to act and what I was supposed say and wear and do now that I’m a wife, a stepmom, and a woman heading into my thirties.
I became so caught up in everyone’s expectations and bending and twisting and contorting and pretending so much to be something I wasn’t for so long that one day I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.
You can’t do that, and be happy. And I wanted to be happy. Not “smile for the camera” happy. Honest to goodness “screw what everyone else thinks, I’m gonna be me and they’ll either accept it or not” happy.
Because you know what? You deserve to be happy in your life, and not just “smile for the camera” happy. Not “oh shit they’re looking I have to fake it” happy. Honest to goodness “smiling when you go to bed at night, excited to wake up in the morning” happy.
Screw their expectations, their guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable per your age and your status in life. Your life is yours to get out there and own, and if you don’t get out there and own it, and live out every single glorious day of it to its fullest, at the end of the ride, you’ll regret all the chances you didn’t take, all the words you never had the guts to say, and all of the times you sacrificed who you were just because you let them tell you what you could or couldn’t do, and who you could or couldn’t be.
I’m Jennifer. I’m a writer, a blogger, and a reluctant nervous-as-hell sometimes Youtuber. I’m a comic book reader, a gamer, a bookworm, and a life-long middle ages and horror and zombie movie addict. I’m a devoted wife and a proud stepmom and a proud member of the Lord of the Rings fandom among others, and I’m working my way steadily into the Doctor Who fandom as we speak. I love a good story anywhere I can find it, whether it’s in movie, book, play, or video game form (To be honest, some of the best horror stories I’ve heard lately have been through video games), and I love meeting fellow readers and writers who love a good story just as much as I do.
And there are days I honestly forget how old I am because, at the end of the day, I refuse to let my age tell me who I am.
And neither should you.