I confess to always being bad at gauging adult ages. Give me a person under the age of 5 and I can hit their age with an alarming sense of accuracy - regardless of their size and based more on their fine motor function, language skills and ability to interact with the world around them. Clearly it's not something to do with height or physical appearance, thereby rendering it a useless task in a world where 14 is the new 23 and 40 is the new 25.
People have jokingly asked me what 33 feels like - as those of us with cheeky senses of humor tend to do on birthdays. I've been know to do it also. It's a hilarious question because a) you've basically only been that age for a handful of hours, how would you know? and b) what does age really feel like? I'm passed the major milestones - driving, voting, drinking, renting a car - that illicit any kind of behavioral change or ease that might evoke an instant feeling. 33 feels like 32 did two days ago. It feels like a strange combination of every other year I've lived and also all the years hopefully stretching out before me. Age is a concept we tightly regulate with dates on a calendar because if it was something we picked for ourselves it would be completely without meaning, a forced concept.
Physically we are supposed to be able to judge age, but it too comes with challenges. For example, the husband is horrible at it because height plays into it so often with young people and it's impossible with his eyesight and great height to differentiate anybody that close to the ground in a meaningful way. Alternately we are supposed to be able to tell because of the aging process - the softening of flesh and limbs - but that's something that most people work aggressively to combat, myself included, thereby negating it as an effective tool for rendering age.
The day before my birthday I sent my husband to the bar next door while I got a manicure. I did not have my wallet (he treated me for my birthday) and when I went to look for him the doorman barred me at the door. He wouldn't let me in without ID. I said to him "Look sir, I am flattered beyond words that you think I look young but look at me - there is no way I am under 21." And he said, "You look about 18." To which I pulled up my Facebook and showed him my birthday (no I do not have the year hidden) to which he then replied "Well, you can write anything you want there." Geez, this guy should've been a lawyer. "But why would I say I was 32?" I asked him, "Wouldn't I pick, I don't know, a number in my 20s instead?" At which point this deep philosophical conversation was ended by the emergence of the wayward husband who finally noticed my texts.
Age is an ephemeral concept in this day and age. Aging is hotly contested - something I think we might be on the verge of slowing dramatically, if not halting entirely. I strongly feel like I am a member of one of the last generations who will actually have no choice but to age. This is some serious sci-fi is real stuff happening. It's basically the movie Timer (which I thought was hugely underrated.) Nevertheless, a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are a few of them, and here is me, being 33.