Could 33 Be The New 18?

A friend recently posted this article on Facebook. It quotes a Daily Mail survey that found women age 33 are experiencing the busiest times of their lives as the convergence of professional, social and familial responsibilities eclipses any hopes of substantial “me” time.

When I read this, my thoughts went in two directions. First, is that a picture of Shakira alongside the article and if so, does that mean she is 33? After a quick search, it was confirmed that this beautiful, sexy Colombian and I are indeed the same age. See, I thought to myself, I can be beautiful and sexy at 33 just like Shakira!

After some celebratory hip-shaking (quickly disproving my thought), I went back to the article to think about this time in my life and is it actually the “busiest” I have ever been? Perhaps. And then, when was I not?

College. I have extremely fond memories of these four years, and what I don’t remember is ever feeling super stressed. Sure, I had all-nighters in the journalism lab trying to build a website (we called it “new media” back then) or pressure to find a suitable date for a sorority formal, but I don’t recall ever yearning for balance.

For someone who works at a university, I think I need more college in my life. Or at least my college attitude. And I think this is how I can make it happen:

Stay clueless.

One reason I wasn’t so stressed — I had no idea what I should be stressed about. In high school, I worried about grades, getting into my 1st pick college, etc. In college, I kind of felt like I achieved all of that and in my blissfully ignorant way, just assumed I finished school and a job was guaranteed (and when I graduated during the last year of the tech boom in 2000, it was — take that 32-year-olds!).

I’m not advocating for being an unaware adult – real life with real challenges has crept in and that’s how it goes. But rather, understanding we do not need to know everything and we won’t always have it all figured out. For many things, we will know what we need to know when we need to know it. I’m working on truly believing this and I feel like when I do, it will naturally create a sense of balance for me, especially as it pertains to relationships.

I secured my first internship as a freshman by just calling up the company, saying I needed a summer internship and asking how this would be possible. I had no idea about the proper protocol of job searching and I would be frightened to see what I passed off as a resume. But I got the internship. I think I’ve lost a little of this chutzpah.  I rarely ever say to myself, “What do I have to lose?” We should say this more.

My senior year in college, I participated in a fundraiser where my friends and I danced for 30 hours straight. When it was over, I took a shower and then slept for 15 hours with no interruptions. I was completely clueless to the world around me but woke up refreshed. I think it’s time for another 15-hour nap. Being 33 is exhausting.

Were you clueless and carefree in college and if so, how have you maintained this among “real life?” What has been your busiest age? And finally, if you knew me in college, am I delusional or was I really this, dare I say, laid back?!

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11 responses to “Could 33 Be The New 18?

  1. as your very first college roommate, (woo 1835, #508!) you definitely were not that chilled out back then. i say this in the most kind and loving way, because you were then and still are one of the most awesomely great, cool people i know.

    anyway…i wonder a lot about this “balance” thing you write about. for me, it’s not so much about balance, as it is about warding off stress. i’m just here to have a good time, but when i go 100%, then i stress about what i’m NOT doing and what i SHOULD be doing and on and on and on and on. i think as we age, we become more and more aware of the world around us and the lack of control we have over most of it. it’s a freaky thing.

    anyhow….that’s my two cents. my current mantra is just “do what ya wanna do” and it seems to be keeping me sane and happy!

  2. Well, I knew it wouldn’t be long until my cover was blown! Perhaps it’s not so much that I was laid-back, but that I was MORE laid-back than I am now.

    As for your mantra, Tams, I love it! And it’s totally you 🙂 And I feel the stress we feel about what we “should” be doing comes from the increased level of guilt as we get older. At least for me. Need to ward the stress and guilt off!

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Caryn – I wasn’t “in” college with you, but I am your Mother. And knowing you as I do, I can’t imagine that you were “laid back” at any time even when I didn’t talk to you or see you for several days. That is not my daughter Caryn. I’m just glad now that you are trying to balance. You will always have some “stress” and “guilt”, but need to ward off a lot of the stress and guilt – as you just said yourself!

  4. From what you two are saying, perhaps I need to write a blog about rose-colored glasses instead?! 🙂

  5. i love it….thanks for the confirmation Mrs. S!!!

  6. The older I get, the more stressed out I feel! And thus, the more I long for those younger days, when ignorance was bliss, i.e. age 10 and under. You know, before middle school. Maybe it’s not that we’re under more stress the older we get, but that we are simply more aware! For instance, I used to NEVER be afraid of flying…..I loved it even!!! Now, I am terrified every time I step on a plane. My mom tells me that’s “normal”, that the older we get, the more aware we are, and thus, the more ‘scared’ and ‘stressed’. Let’s find a way to reverse this!!!!

    • I agree Erin – we need to work on that! After I wrote this post, a few friends had some “tough love” words for me regarding the fact that perhaps I was not as laid back in college as I remember myself to be so I guess everything is relative! Perhaps one reason we get more stressed as we get older is because we see it as having more to lose…

  7. Um, Shakira doesn’t hold a candle to you. Her hips really do lie! Ha. 😉

  8. Pingback: New Year Jitters | Balance Overload

  9. Pingback: Life In Bullets | Balance Overload

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