On Sunday, October 5th, I will turn 24. Not a particularly remarkable age- I can already legally drive, vote, drink and all those other goodies that come with turning specific ages. Not yet a quarter century, I have no reason to bemoan my age nor really celebrate it.
Growing up I was always the youngest in any group. I started school at age four, which assured that I would be the baby of the class. My Mom and Dad were significantly older than most people's parents; and since my Dad had been married before and had children from his first marriage, the age difference of over twenty years between my brother, sisters and I assured that we would never have a real sibling dynamic. My parents spoke to me as if I were already an adult, and my actions followed suit. I listened to NPR every weekend, went to musicals as birthday presents, and watched Nova and BBC for fun. I may have been a nerd to some, but the cultural things my parents exposed me to matured me at a young age.
I graduated college at 21 and had my first out-of-college job at 22. I have endured the past two years at that job, frequently hearing how young I am when I slip and tell people that I'm 23. "You're such a baby!" they cry, even though they did not feel that way about me the moment before. When people find out that I have been with my boyfriend for almost four years, they want to know of our marriage plans, but as soon as I tell them my age, the baby comments spew from their mouths, reminding me yet again of my age.
But now I'm going to be 24. Almost the middle of my twenties, almost the age where I could be engaged and not freak out about being too young, almost the age difference between my brother and myself. I am frequently finding shiny silver strands peeking between my chestnut locks, and a light smattering of purple and blue squiggles on my right thigh. I am getting older, but I still am significantly young, and certainly not old enough to warrant my complaints.
I feel that my coming age is perfect for me. It is so close, yet not quite my mental age, much like the many other aspects of my life that are just almost what I want, but not exactly. After decades of wanting to live in New York City I dwell in Jersey City, look out my window every morning and see downtown Manhattan and travel into the city approximately six days a week. I work as the Fashion Editor of Vain Magazine, write for HuffPo, and host a reality show, but none of those things pay the bills, so I still work as a Legal Secretary during the day. I diet and exercise and I'm healthy as a horse, but I still can't manage to get below a size ten. There are so many things that are so close I can taste them, but they're still not tangible.
And while 23 zipped past, it was a great year. I will miss the 23 year-old Liz Black, but I welcome 24 year-old me with open arms. This is going to be a fabulous year.