Kate Sullivan, Allure magazine
A new British survey has named 28 the age at which one stops being "young." Thirty-seven percent of women and 39 percent of men using a dating website chose 28 as the age at which one is officially a grown-up. (Twenty-seven percent of women and 24 percent of men chose the more milestone-y 30.) The Daily Mail has decided that 28 was chosen because that's when women focus more on their career and less on their sex life. (Erhm, do they have to be mutually exclusive?) I disagree, but I get what they mean.
Of course, there is no magical age when we suddenly start to decline or have it all together. But I think a lot of us have an age in the back of our minds for one or the other, if not both. Just this morning, a baby-faced coworker and I were pontificating on what we thought was a "grown-up" age. She chose 30 as the time when one stops partying, buys nicer clothes, and puts some money in the ol' 401k. I confessed that in college I'd always thought I'd have my life figured out by 27.
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That didn't happen. But I did discover Vogue editor Marjorie Hillis's 1936 "solitary refinement" guidebook Live Alone and Like It, wherein she insists that a woman alone, no matter what her age, should have a budget she can live on and have some fun on, should never sleep in a ratty old nightgown, and should host parties even if her home is smaller and in a less chic neighborhood than those of her married friends. I did all of these things. I still have $4,500 in college loans to pay off (getting there!) and every few months, I treat myself to a pricey haircut that doesn't interfere with the rest of my bills, bills, bills. I haven't worn gross sweatpants to bed in years-though that was a tough habit to break. My friends have enjoyed many cocktails while standing in my seating-limited apartment as I cooked for them on my half-size stove. I'm far from the grown-up I thought I'd be by this age, but I'm also not embarrassed by my age or my life situation.
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In short, 28 is young. (Katy Perry is a week away from it, and she's hardly looking worse for wear.) But it isn't young. And it shouldn't be. When you feel like you should be an adult, start acting like one. Even if you're not living your every aspiration, you'll be better off (and happier) than when you started.
Did (or do) you have an "adult" age rattling around in your head? What is it?
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