I was 19 when I started working in radio, and 22 when I became a reporter for pro basketball in the Philippines. So for a long time, I was almost always the young one: I’d hang around people five, seven, 10 years older than me. I learned to like scotch, for instance, because that’s what my colleagues in sports liked to drink after work. In many ways, I was regarded as a kid – someone to train, to teach, to mold.
My, how things have changed.
Not counting our professor, I’m the second oldest person in this class. Granted, Bryan is quite a bit older than me, but it blows my mind how I’m constantly reminded that among college kids, 25 is not young. When my classmates learn that I was born in ’88, there’s this look of surprise on their faces – a look that clearly says, with accompanying disbelief: You were born in the 80s?
I think it’s especially disconcerting in my case because I look young (I guess it’s an Asian thing).
Meanwhile, I almost can’t believe that anyone who was born in 1996 is now 17 or 18 – as in, a legitimate human adult, or close enough not to matter. Where’d the time go?!
Still, it’s not as if I feel like I don’t belong just because I hit the U.S. legal drinking age when some of my new friends were in high school. In fact, it’s interesting how much I’m learning from them – how wise their advice, how refreshing their opinions, how creative their ideas are.
At the same time, I’m realizing just how much learning I’ve done since I was about their age. I recognize the gripes of college, the worries of job-hunting, the slow understanding that life doesn’t do everything you expect it to or give you everything you want when you want it (actually, I think I’m still learning that).
So somehow I’ve been feeling both old and young, which is kind of a fun place to be in. I get to experience a working environment that I want to be in when I make my comeback to the labor force, and I get to do it with a really cool group of people.
Did I mention this is happening in Spain?