Why we millennials often look younger – and why it’s time to redefine “adulthood”.
Something happened to me recently that other millennials may also know:
I was in the supermarket to get drinks for a night out with friends when the checkout asked me if I had my ID with me. I didn’t have one. “But I’m 30,” I said, pointing to my face. “Can you see it? 30.” The salesman laughed like I was a high-spirited teenager trying his luck.
“I don’t think so,” said the employee, taking the bottles from me. At that moment I wanted to knock over the shelf with the candy display out of frustration. But because I’m not a teenager anymore, I had enough impulse control to leave the store peacefully.
“Take it as a compliment!” – why it’s not so easy for me
People like to say at such moments: “Take it as a compliment!”. I might have in the past, too, but I’ve slowly gotten to the point where I can’t be happy about it anymore so to be kept much younger.
I graduated from college almost 10 years ago. I have been working as a journalist and editor for almost as long, have been in several relationships and have gained intensive life experiences. Heaven! I even own an expensive vacuum cleaner – one of those fancy ones without a cord. It doesn’t get any more adult, does it?
Anyone who keeps thinking I’m younger doesn’t take me seriously either. At least that’s my fear
I’ve even published a book in the last few years. I still remember MSN and a lot more. Why does it make me so angry when someone doesn’t believe me how old I really am? Because then I have the feeling that someone would say to me: “Your experiences and your memories – none of that counts. We don’t take you seriously as an adult.”
Not that you can’t also have people in their early twenties serious should take, but now, in my mid-30s, I’m a very different person from who I was when I was 24, 25, or even 26. And I hope that this is also visible on the outside and: well received.
Forever 21? Where does that eternally young millennial “energy” come from?
Thing is, I don’t even think I do physically really look that much younger than 30. But – like other millennials – I seem to exude a younger “energy”.
My arms are covered in stick and poke tattoos from my twenties. I’m most comfortable in a cozy hoodie and low-rise jeans. And while my way of thinking and looking at the world has changed a lot – the way I speak and behave has probably changed little in recent years for outsiders.
As a child, I could not have imagined that 30 so could look like what my fiancé and I look like now
And I’m not alone in that: My friends, who are about the same age as me, could all easily be five years younger. My fiancé is a full-time musician with peroxide hair and a penchant for biker jackets. As a kid, I never imagined that 30 could look like what he and I look like now. My class teacher was 30 at the time. And we definitely look very different from her – we behave differently.
Are Millennials Really Not Growing Up? And what does that actually mean “adult”?
The claim that Millennials can’t grow up is a well-worn cliché. Many might think of Harry Potter T-shirts and emotional trips to Disneyland – that would be harmless at first. But we also seem to be accused of not getting married soon enough (or not at all), not having children, not buying real estate. But who can now if they don’t have a lavish dual-income household income or inheritance.