What is age? Merriam-Webster Online defines age as the length of an existence extending from the beginning to any given time.
Basically, age is a number defining the existence of something over a period of time. Time, as we all know, is relative. Therefore, age must be relative as well.
Age really is just a number. It hardly defines someone's true character. For instance, my best friend, Fran, is 32 years old. (And proud of it, so she's not going to care I that I just told you.) I'm 23. Some might think that would too much of a gap, too big a generational separation. While I was still learning how to read, she was starting high school. That's never stopped us. Occasionally, she'll say something that I can't relate to, but we quickly get over it.
Why is that? What is it really that makes us so similar and easy to befriend one another?
Experience. That's what truly defines who we are. It's what gives us maturity, wisdom, lines around our eyes, and the ability to relate to anyone we come in contact with. Fran and I have had such similar experiences and interests that we clicked almost immediately and our friendship just keeps growing stronger every day.
A few examples:
I turned 20 whilst living in the London. In that year alone, I traveled to 3 other countries (besides the UK and the US), seriously dated two different guys, and graduated from college.
When Fran was 20, she was probably in school and working retail. She and her best friend at the time were still inseparable. (Feel free to correct me, by they way.)
My cousin just turned 20. She's recently married and pregnant, and in her second year at BYU.
Does that make any one of us better from the other? Not at all! Just different. My cousin has talked about becoming a librarian. Should that still end up being her choice in a couple of years, I'll be able to dispense all sorts of wisdom on the subject. But, will I be the one to ask about whether to use Huggies versus Luvs or thumb sucking versus not? Heavens no!
Age means almost nothing. There are 15 year olds who are more world wise than I'll probably ever be, and there are 4o year olds who still live in their mother's basement. My dad never left the country until his mid-forties. Fran's never lived outside of Utah. I've never been married. The 32-year-old guy I went out with last week didn't know how to take care of the check.
I'm 23. I run a library that serves one of the largest school districts in the nation and will have a Masters degree before I'm 25. I think that's pretty cool. I have friends of all ages. I try not to date anyone who is closer to my dad's age than mine, nor will I become really close friends with anyone who is still technically jail bait.
So, what's my point? That we should not discount anyone simply because of how old they are. Once, after apologizing for a small bout of immaturity/stupidity, I was told, by someone barely five years older than I, "We'd worry about it more if you were our age." That seriously stung.
The gap narrows the older we get, and the playing field of experience evens out. I will not immediately dismiss an invitation for a date from someone who's 33, nor should anyone refuse to trust my input or judgment on something simply because I'm a few years younger.
We all have something valid to share with others, no matter our age. I will likely trust a butcher to tell me how to cook a steak more than I will my vegetarian friend Amber, but I would definitely ask Amber about DC night life. It's all relative - we just have to be willing to give people a chance.
And I will rarely be fond of being called "kiddo".