This is going to sound really stupid, but I feel old.
I'm turning 27 this December, and it's just the most awkward thing ever. I went back to get a Masters (I'm in this one-year program) and I am surrounded by 22-year-olds.
And then I also share classes with 20 and 21-year-olds.
The guys here are all interested in these younger, perkier, less-wrinkled girls.
And there's something endearing about a 22-year-old fresh graduate who has no idea what to do with her life, or doesn't have a career plan, but there's something kind of pathetic about a 27-year-old slacker who feels the same way.
Also I don't look good in a skirt.
I do know the feeling, as SOME short-term field season (to be contrasted with people in existing relationships co-leading a project) girlfriends will snag the best of things (at that point of time). So that aspect of the charming fresh face is out there, but it is only part, and only a minority of supervisors are really so crass.
The unknowing confidence of youth can be of benefit as some risks are worth taking and they are still less risk-averse. Combine that with the experience of knowing a little more about the consequences of the risks. The consequences of risk can hurt, and some of that hurt is best avoided. But some of that consequence is only long-term hurt if we let it be; this is fear and is best tackled fiercely. Channel some of that energy and remember-the young will test you but that testing is partly the insecurity of youth. Mind your own race and don't compete.
Totally different arena since I am not competing for any guys to date, but I'm in a kind of similar boat since I am apparently the only person in the state of Alabama who waited until age 28 to have my first baby. Since I moved here with a brand-new baby and didn't know a soul, most of the friends I've made here are parents of other kids. I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old, and most of the other parents of kids in their preschool classes are in their mid 20s while I am 33. I definitely know what you mean about feeling like everyone else is younger and perkier than you are! And occasionally I date myself when we are talking about pop culture stuff and I realize that something I LOVED in elementary school happened before they were born. But you know what? They are all great people and despite our age difference (my closest friend here is actually 8 years younger than me!) we have a lot in common and relate to each other very well, and I am happy to have them for friends. Beats sitting around by myself!
I'm feeling old, too. But it comes from playing the comparison game, which is an exercise in futility.
Out of curiosity, why do you feel the need to date within your program? Even in my mid-20s, I found guys in the "just graduated/grad school" mode kind of tiresome. Granted, my program was full of middle aged ladies, but still....can you meet people outside of your classes? Why compete with the youngstas?
You can't have everything....where would you put it all?
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