I was out shopping and got chatting to the girl behind the till in River Island. She mentioned that she was 16 and it really surprised me, because she was so professional and acted much older than her age. This took me back and got me thinking about how people used to do exactly the same with me when I worked in retail when I was 16 and therefore, inspired today's post.
I quickly realised from a young age that people often perceive me as much older than I actually am. I constantly get comments online and in person saying "you seem so much older" and sometimes I take it as a compliment, but other times I feel a bit offended because people presume that if you're a certain age, you haven't got an element of knowledge or experience compared to them. You shouldn't assume that someone is of a certain age just by the way they look or act but it really got me thinking. I know most of the comments I receive are genuine and heartfelt and meant in a good way (and I do take them as compliments), but I also know that some people take it the wrong way too, and think I'm trying to be someone I'm not. As I turned 21 this year, I just wanted to share some thoughts on this topic so far.
1 ♡ People can be unintentionally patronising.
I was a speaker at an event recently where I did a live Q&A about my blog and Instagram etc. At the end of the event, I approached some of the PRs and brands to do a bit of networking, and after feeling so nervous about the whole thing, I was hoping for some positive feedback. Instead, someone said "you were good, until you mentioned your age and made me feel old!" and then everyone laughed. Am I no longer good because I'm younger than you thought?
2 ♡ Confidence can make you seem older.
There are different kinds of confidence. Its taken me time to build mine and is often the biggest reason people think I'm older than I actually am. I was never confident when it came to acting, being on stage or giving speeches at school however, I've slowly learnt (and am still learning) that feeling and looking confident gives me a massive happiness boost. It's how I continue to put myself on the internet, make friends and succeed in what I do, so if it makes me seem older then I'm rolling with it!
3 ♡ I might act mature, but doesn't mean I always am.
I'm 21. I don't know everything. In fact, I hardly know the world at all. I've learnt a bit during my childhood and teens, but it's my twenties that will teach me a whole new level of life I've not yet experienced. Like I said, just because I appear confident at times, doesn't mean I'm always mature or think I'm older and wiser, because I'm most definitely not. Sometimes people use the quote "an old head on young shoulders" which is a nice compliment because I guess I come across as thinking, talking and acting older but regardless, it doesn't mean I always am.
4 ♡ I'm not a stereotypical twenty one year old, but that's okay!
I didn't go to uni. I don't party three times a week. I haven't lived in halls. I don't have a student loan...Even though I don't regret any of my life choices or feel I've missed out on any of these things, I'm not a 'stereotypical' 21 year old. My choices have happened because of time, gut feeling and believing in myself and therefore, naturally I sometimes appear older. I've been working full time for a while (I was a Manager in a shop at 18!) and if I could, I'd 100% have my own flat by now too. All these choices make me seem like I've 'got my sh*t together' but reality is, I'm feeling the exact same as every 21 year old right now.
5 ♡ People always presume.
There have been many situations where I've proved someone wrong because they've presumed because of my age, I wouldn't understand or wouldn't handle something the way other people my age might. For example, someone recently said to me '"I'm going to be honest, I thought that being 6 years younger than me you'd bring drama to our friendship but actually, you've really got your head switched on". Once again, I'm not saying I ALWAYS 'have my head switched on' but this was a really good example of how someone presumed I was too immature for their friendship based on my age, and clearly I proved I wasn't. Past experiences might have impacted their opinion but either way, don't always presume, even though we're probably all guilty of it!
What do you think? Do you ever get mistaken for acting or looking older? Or the opposite and people think you're in fact younger and act immature for your age? Let me know and be sure to catch up with previous 'Lessons I've Learnt' posts too!