Age is a very finicky thing for me. For years I refused to age past 21. I was just 21 for the second time, the third time, and so on. Once I got to 21 for the thirteenth time, people started getting really confused.
Then the number became 29, and I started again.
Sure, it’s stereotypical of me to think that way. Women should be empowered, embrace their age. With age comes wisdom, or some junk like that. For some reason, I was just scared as hell to admit that I was out of my twenties. Alas, once I had the kid, I knew my days of “not aging” had to end. After all, I can’t claim 21 if she’s 16. That’s just not going to fly. (Luckily she’s not 16 yet. I fear when she’s 16, if you want me to be honest. I’ve got seven years to work up the courage to that.)
I’m actually one of the oldest authors at my publisher. There are a couple older than me, but not many, and not by much.
At first it really bothered me. But not why you’d think. It wasn’t that I hang out with a bunch of people younger than me… ask anyone, I don’t act my age anyway. In fact, my CP often forgets about the age difference between us.
No, it isn’t even because I had dreams of being published at a young age. (By all rights I was, but I was a 20-year-old reporting intern with my byline at a tri-weekly paper. Wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I set that goal.)
I had intended to pay my way through college because I published a book in high school.
**Excuse me a minute while I go laugh so hard it feels like I’ve been doing sit-ups for days.**
There are a couple of problems with that, the first of which being, that not many people are lucky enough to make that much with a book. It’s just the way the industry is. Back when I was in high school (the nineties… way back in the days of the dinosaurs, apparently), it was even harder to get into publishing than it is now. But even if I did, as a debut, to make enough money to pay tuition at an out-of-state school is laughable.
No, the real funny part of it is that there would be absolutely no way I could have done that. Zero. None. It had nothing to do with the industry, but everything to do with the fact that I could not have harnessed the emotions necessary to write a book when I was in my teens. Or hell, even my twenties. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty out there who do—like most of the younger girls at my publisher. I just wasn’t there yet when I was in my twenties.
I had a hell of a lot of growing up to do first. A lot of the world to see. A lot of heartache to experience.
Will I still claim a day over 29? Not on your ever-loving life.
But I also know that I couldn’t have written Virtue of Death, Promises of Virtue, or hell, even Wreck You in my twenties (even if a lot of Wreck You is based on people and things I experienced in my twenties). I just wasn’t emotionally ready. There’s nothing wrong with that.
If only I could get my head to wrap its head around that actual number. (At least I’ve got six more months before that number changes again.) Until then, if you ask, I’m 29.