Aren’t you a little young?

Ugh, I swear if another person says “Aren’t you a little young to….” I’m gonna pull down my pants and pee on their shin. That’s right. Their shin. It really is getting a little old. Look people, I get it. You think all 24 year olds are suppose to live with mommy and daddy and do nothing but eat Hot Pockets and play World of Warcraft. Hate to break it to you, but we’re not as pathetic as we look…wait, that came out wrong. I meant, we aren’t as pathetic as you make us out to be.

There are two areas of my life where this seems to be particularly true…

Work

If you’ve been following for a while, this wont be the first time you’ve heard me gripe about my age and my work. People can’t seem to comprehend the fact that’s it’s possible to graduate college and go straight in to a career with the Fed. I understand that the average age of a federal employee is 45 years old, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be one at 24. Just last week I approached a woman to ask her a few questions. After properly identifying myself and showing her my credentials, her first question was not “What can I do for you?”, but “Are you sure you’re old enough to be doing this?” While I pretended I thought what she said was funny, I really just wanted to wipe that denture filled smile off her face.

Marriage

Nothing gets under my skin more than someone commenting on my age in respect to my marriage. I seriously can’t believe people have the audacity to tell me I’m too young to be getting married.

I was out to lunch with some acquaintances a few weeks back, when one of the persons at the table practically told me I was naive for considering getting married right now. They married young, and their marriage failed. News flash: Just because your marriage didn’t work out, doesn’t mean mine is doomed as well. It’s not like I’m gonna suddenly change my mind and call off the wedding because you think I’m making a mistake.

Heck, if I was my parents, I’d be in my 5th year of marriage and have two kids already. I don’t look at my age as a negative when I think about settling down, but instead as a HUGE benefit because I get to spend even more of my life with Girl Ninja. Booya for love. Unbooya for bitter divorced people.

Conclusion

Yes, there are a lot of deadbeat 20-somethings out there. But I’d also like you to remember there are just as many deadbeat 40, 50, and 60-somethings. All I ask is that you at least give me a chance before declaring me incapable of making an “adult” decision.

20-somethings…what are some aspects of your life where you’ve felt belittled because of your age?

40 thoughts on “Aren’t you a little young?

  1. unbooya for bitter folks! lol. I had one of those mind-changing moments when I was in my late twenties. I was touring a brand new, top of the line nuclear submarine – USS MAINE (SSBN 741) – with a nuke power plant and carrying 24 Trident ballistic missiles. The guy who RAN the multi-billion-dollar boat – the CO – was “only” in his upper-30s. The Xo – 2nd in command? about my age. The other guy who held the KEYS/codes to the weapons system? about 25. Holy crap – these 3 guys could start* WWIII and bring on the nuclear winter, and they were all within 5 – 7 years of my age. Age has nothing to do with responsibility levels, provided you’ve gotten through the awkward years with a ‘-teen’ suffix.

    And for what it’s worth, I changed some minds about gender-roles that day – the sub force is all male (for now) and as I walked through looking at different stuff I can’t tell you about, I was asked the equivalent of “what’s a pretty thing like you worrying about tuff stuff like…” and I unflashily stated that my job was reengineering and fixing all the underway workarounds that these guys like to do to their combat control systems. Booya for girl power.

    (*potentially, but not realistically unless in a Hollywood movie or a Tom Clancy novel)

  2. My problem is that I look young also AND I work with kids. If I hear another parent say “Oh! I thought you were one of the kids”, *I* will pee on someone’s shin. It’s not a compliment to tell someone they look young, it’s belittling.

    • YES!!! I’m 27 and look about 18…it’s AMAZINGLY annoying to be told “but you look so much younger” by almost everyone. I usually smile and nod and agree, but sometimes I love to say “Really? I never noticed, hmmm.” with a completely straight face…it catches people off guard. 🙂

  3. Well I’ve crossed over (haha – 31…which is the new 21 for those who haven’t heard!) but I heard that a lot. I finished college and started my career at 23 so I know what you mean. It will always be something….too young, too old, too tall, too short….be the best ninja you can be!

    Best wishes to you and GN!
    Kita

  4. I was a full 2 years older than you when I got married, and everyone said the same thing to me. I had one guy tell me flat out that I shouldn’t be getting married, and his reason was that he had waited until he was in his 40s and had a happy marriage (?).

    As far as work, I feel you. I’ve gotten carded renting R-rated movies (it’s the freckles…). Haven’t come up with a good workaround for this yet.

  5. Oh yeah I can relate. I worked at a bank in a supervisor position and would often train others that were older than me. I would always get the comment from customers that they thought I was being trained by the older person. I also have 2 kids and people are shocked when they find out I am the mother not the babysitter! I am 28 but look way younger. It’s very frustrating and insulating. I guess I will be grateful when I’m in my 40s and 50s and get mistaken for being younger.

  6. I’ve definitely gotten the short end of this stick before. I graduated and started my career as a programmer at 20. I went to an accelerated program in college so I could get in the work force earlier, but it’s made things just as difficult.

    I’ve been well qualified for Senior level programming positions, but people think that I am too young to be qualified. I’ve even been apart of training older senior level developers on techniques and patterns that I’ve been using for quite a while. The job search was hard for me, and I think it will continue to be hard for me until I get a few more years of “real” experience.

    Also, I’ve been with my girlfriend for 4 years and plan to propose pretty soon. But again, everyone thinks that we’re too young to get married. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

  7. Oh, just ALL OF THEM. I get that all. the. time. I hesitate to tell people my age because I look older than I am, but I get the same question constantly. I graduated high school at 17, graduated with my bachelors at 21 (my current age), and will have my masters when I’m 23. Because of the program I’m beginning with the government, I’ll have a full-time contracting position at the age of 23 as well. Most contract specialists for the government are…older. Many are retired military personnel or people who began their civil service careers in other areas and ended up in contracting, but because of the path I chose to specifically become a contract specialist, I’ll arrive there much sooner. I haven’t faced these problems yet, but I’m afraid that I will face more adversity in the field because of my age. Young people aren’t worthless–especially not young people who work hard to get some place worth being (like a solid career with the government *fistbump*).

    I got married when I was 19 and my husband was 23. I don’t ever tell people this. They assume I was pregnant and we “had” to get married. Uhm..negative. When people say that I was too young to get married, I just say well, we’re still married, still in love, living a great life together, and my 19 was more mature than your 19 I guess! They usually don’t have much to say to that. Plus! Everyone kept telling me I’d drop out of college if I got married at 19 (?) but I’m happy to say that I graduated a little early, cum laude, and as a part of a national honors fraternity for my degree. Can I get a booya?

  8. I couldn’t imagine someone telling me that I was too young to get married. My husband and I were married at 22, a few months after I graduated from college. We had dated for over 4 years so if someone were to suggest that we were too young to get married I would probably have told them to go to h***. Of course it probably helps that I live in a part of the country where waiting to get married until 24 or 25 is considered a mature decision. If you’re not married by 29 it’s basically assumed that you’ll be lucky to ever get married and that kids are never going to happen.

    Most people assume that if you aren’t living your life the way that they are that you are screwing up. Don’t let it bother you, just smile and tell them to mind their own d*** business.

  9. That first line made me laugh out loud at work. Darn you Ninja.

    I’m just about 24, and I’ve always been one of the youngest – youngest of 5 siblings, youngest at work (I was younger than one of our co-ops), one of the youngest in my grade at school. It also doesn’t help that I look young and can’t grow any reasonable-looking facial hair to make me look older. I can grow some mean sideburns though… I look at people thinking I’m young and irresponsible as an opportunity to blow their mind (or at least shut them up), but I don’t need instant respect from strangers as it seems you do for your work.

    Fortunately I’m not looked down on at work for my age. I had the bizarre moment of one of the men I work with being shocked at how young I am, which was absolutely a first. It was kind of awesome. I deal with coworkers mostly, who know what I’m capable of and so only care about what I can get done. Maybe part of being an engineer?

    @me in millions, I would absolutely approve of you peeing on a parent’s shin for that comment – they should understand that it’s belittling you and NOT a compliment to compare you to their child

    @paranoidasteroid, gotta love how people think that what worked for them is the only way things can work for others too

  10. I got married the summer after my sophomore year in college, at the age of 19! Everyone couldn’t believe it, and told me I was too young (everyone but my family…my parents married at 19/20, both grandmothers at 16…and all celebrating 30+ years). But its been 6 wonderful years, and now I get asked a differet question, “How could you be married for 6 years and not have any kids yet?!?”

    I graduated at 22 with a degree in Civil Engineering. A 22-year old female engineer who looks 16…hehe…interesting for sure! 🙂 But it did help me learn a little patience, and now I’m not quite as quick to judge someone based on the way they look!

  11. We got married at 21/22. Yes, the first few years were tough. But I think that is the same for every marriage.

    But 6 years in- while lots of our friends are still hitting the bars friday, sat, and a few other week days. We are hitting our stride, working awesome together, and truly, deeply, in love.

    Good luck hombre.

  12. Hey, my husband and I play WOW, its a nice escape for a few hours a week to help us unwind. Heck my dad (a high ranking law enforcement officer) plays WOW!

    I understand being ‘so young’. When I was 19 I got a job as a police records clerk. I was the youngest person there by over 5 years. I remember they had a Christmas party in my department my first year and it was at a bar so i could’t go. when I pointed it out my supervisor said I could go when I ‘grew up’.

    Most people kept the young comments to themselves when my husband and I got married at 23 and 24. I know we had some friends who thought we were to young but they didn’t say anything directly to us. We were asked by some people why we didn’t think we were too young to get married.

    Right now, while my husband is finishing up his Masters, I have a job at a restaurant and every time I tell a coworker or customer that I’m married they always do a double take and tell me “but you’re too young to be married”. Then I tell them I’m 24, which most people think is still too young, but better then what they thought (19-21 normally).

  13. No one told me I was too young to get married (whew, guess we waited long enough for society to approve). Statistically, there is SOME truth to waiting until you are older, but there are about a million other factors (like who you two are as people) that matter so much more.

    As far as work goes, it seems there are young people and then a wave of old people. I’m clearly in the young group, but I don’t think it holds me back. Young people do get respect if they are good at their job. In your case, where you are interacting with a lot of non-coworkers, i can see it being more of a problem

  14. I understand what you mean. I am 27 and teach at a public high school. I’ve worked there for 4 years. One of my main issues is that I look like a teenager and half the time staff members, parents or members of the community think I am a student and not an instructor. Also, our staff is all quite a bit older and I think it can be a little hard to get respect sometimes when everyone thinks I’m a kid–makes me wonder how long it will take to seriously be considered for an administrators position even though I have a Master’s and the years of experience.

  15. Those who are concerned about discrimination against the young might consider as well the far more valid epidemic of discrimination against older workers in this society. As I am closing in on 62, I find this sort of thing rampant. If I were to lose my job (and typing this while I’m in the office isn’t the smartest thing to do right now), it would be virtually impossible for me to find another. That is not true of someone 24.

  16. I’m 27, been married for five years, we have a 3.5 year old and another on the way here in a few weeks. I’m also a full-time self-employed financial advisor, and I’m in the process of starting a sales success network that I know can go national if I do it right. People give me that “aren’t you a little young to…” crap all the time as well. I simply tell them that your age is what you make of it, and I’m 10 steps ahead of those who think that life starts at 30-so if I’m 45 and want to be a deadbeat, I can, but if I want to be uber-successful at 30, that’s what I’m going to be. And I will, because my 20’s have been strictly about laying groundwork. The sacrifice, blood, sweat, and a lot of tears that it takes to be successful, I’m in that tunnel. But I see the light at the end of it, and I can’t wait to get there. I’m probably 1-2 years away, and I can’t wait. And lo and behold, I’ll still be “too young.”

  17. We got married at 23, and heard we were too young too. I know people that got married young and old and divorced. What matters is that you marry your best friend and that you have the maturity to put someone else’s needs ahead of yours (at times…). We just had our 19th anniversary, and can’t imagine ever being divorced.

    Anyway, take the young thing as a compliment. It means you are doing respected work. If you were handing out fries, nobody would say ‘wow, you are young for this’. It is their ignorance, and probably jealousy because you are able to do what they are doing, only 20 years sooners. It’s all good for you!

  18. I got the “you’re too young to get married” from a lot of people before I got married. I was the second to get married out of all of my friends from high school and I was 22. Thing is, I had been with my husband since we were 17 and we waited 5 years to get married so that we could attend college. Seperate colleges, 1000 miles apart. Most people close to me were fine with our decision, but strangers or acquaintances questioned me a lot. I think it was because no one really saw me with my future husband since we didn’t go to school together. I think the comments are less common when they see that the relationship works, but people couldn’t fathom how I made a 4-year long distance relationship work. Though it sure came in handy for my long distance marriage. I guess practice makes perfect because we have been married almost 6 years.

    The worst was when I had a friend doubt me about getting married. She wasn’t able to comprehend that we wanted different things in life and she thought it was strange, and probably stupid of me to get married so young. I learned that strangers are easy to blow off and ignore because they don’t know me, but friends who don’t have your back end up not worth your time. I wish I had learned that earlier with this friend than I did, would have saved me a lot of heartache.

  19. You can say that now, but you may miss it later. I had my second college degree by age 20, married my husband at age 22, and was always the youngest in my profession (lobbying and political fundraising for the first seven years of my career). At 25, I adopted my oldest daughter (she was seven years old at the time). Over and over I’ve heard “aren’t you kinda young….” but now… as I face turning thirty in sixty days, I have noticed in the past few years that the “aren’t you kind of young” Comments have disappeared… and in confession, I kind of miss them. 🙂

    • Here you go: Aren’t you kind of young to have a 12-year-old daughter?? Seriously, though, congrats on all you’ve accomplished thus far in your life. You sound like an extremely motivated woman!

  20. How ’bout this: At the age of 24, I married the guy I started dating when I was 17. I’m now 39, and we’re still happily together – two kids, a dog, two careers, the whole kit and kaboodle.

    When it’s right, it’s right.

  21. My wife and I just celebrated our 10th anniversary at age 30 and we’re not even Ninjas. Take that jaded naysayers.

  22. I’ll say this…

    Work.. same job, same age, same problem.

    Marriage.. I got married three weeks after my 22nd birthday and even my parents questioned my age. What a joke! Now, I’ve been married over two years (i know, not that long) and couldn’t be happier.

    Children.. these comments are beyond annoying. “you’re so young to a dad.” Well clearly I’m a father and there is nothing you can do about it now… so…. thanks.

    I’m convinced that people question our age when we are engaging in mature life stages because they were worthless 20 somethings at our age… just because they enjoyed sleeping til 11, hitting the bar/club on Tuesdays, and working in retail doesn’t mean that other 24 year olds can’t do the opposite.

  23. People prefer to comment on the habits and choices of others rather than address at their own. Part of growing up is realizing that this will *never* change. All that changes is you get more wrinkly and people stop telling you you’re too young because you aren’t young anymore. Until then, you just need to have confidence in your choices and follow your heart.

    Especially when they start doubting your ginormous pog collection.

    ::jealous::

  24. we were “too young” and so were GN’s parents so it’s hereditary…..and remember when people tell you that you are to young they are just saying they are too old…

  25. You just summed up my life. And I have a post similar to this one scheduled for next week!

    I work at the Census Bureau (temporary) and while most of the people there have been real cool about me being so young, there are def a few people in the office who think I’m incompetent or something.

    I even had one woman tell me that I shouldn’t worry about saving for retirement until I’m 30! The PF nerd in me was shocked.

  26. I used to get those comments, too. I always figured it was people filtering things through their own experience. We got married 10 years ago when I was 26, and we’re very happy together. Still, we’re both different than when we got married. We’ve both grown, but fortunately, we grew together rather than apart. Perhaps people are thinking of how different they were in their early 20s than when than got older and they’re projecting that onto you.

    All I can say is enjoy those comments while they last. Now days, I practically get giddy when someone cards me, and I kind of miss those comments.

  27. I second the whole work situation…I have been working in the engineering/construction world since i was in high school (being raised around it my entire life) and it never ceases to amaze me when people automatically assume i dont know what im talking about cause I’m young. The one nice thing about the industry is that once you have proven yourself, word gets around so that’s a plus but it is irritating when people dont listen to what i say and make mistakes because of it…sometimes i just want to say I TOLD YOU SO BUT YOU WOULDN”T LISTEN!! but i just bite my tongue.

  28. There is a lot of gatekeeping by the older generation in the workplace (cough* babyboomers* cough). I find that because i’m 40 no one really respects my opinion. I remember reading that the average age of someone working on the apolo program was 22!!! Most people would say that’s humanities finest and hardest achievement and it was done by 22 year olds!! When I watch Apolo 11 why does everyone seem so much older??? It’s just the way society views young people. My advice is to workfor yourself or in an industry that’s just starting out, less gate keeping.

  29. While we have slowly been hiring new people at work, I’m still a lot younger than a lot of my coworkers. Some are my parents age, some 10-20 years older. I’m fine with that. But combining that with the fact that all the people my parents age and older are men. So it feels weird sometimes being a lot younger AND the only woman. Luckily, I have a new coworker (okay, she’s been here a year) but she’s younger by a few years and another woman. So it makes things less intensely age/gender skewed.

  30. I’m 24 and most of my close friends are already married (I’m from the South), but I hear people say the too young comment a lot. Age honestly has very little to do with whether a marriage will succeed or not. Some people are never mature enough to be married, no matter what their age, and some are ready earlier than others. People seem to assume that what works for them (or doesn’t) is the only way to do things. Silly.

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