While my thoughts on my last post were still swirling into irrelevance, I got a wonderful taste of what total crap that belief is thanks to everyone in my life over forty-five.
I have the lovely misfortune of still living at home due to my pathetic income and lack of ownership of my car, so I get to be here and watch all of the "grownups" that I know treat me like I am too young.
My realization here is that everyone immediately starts saying, "I was never that young, and even if I was, I was smarter/more responsible/more experienced/etc." Nevermind the fact that my parents and two of siblings were married in their early twenties. I'm clearly too young to be treated as the adult I legally am by the people who know me well enough to know how I behave and how smart I am.
I first started realizing this at my parents' church. After I graduated high school, I floated around interacting with the collage-age and grown-up people there, and realized I was going to just be caught between the youth group, which I was now too old for and no longer allowed to attend, and the grown-up things, which I was not considered part of because I was too young. This isn't really a problem when kids go off to JBU (as most of their children there do), and only come back once in a while until they've graduated and gotten married, but with me and a handful of others, when you're there and they can't remember whether or not you're out of high school, no one will take you seriously.
I can accept that from strangers at a church I only go to because of my living arrangements. They're not expected to know what I'm like. It's irritating, but a necessary evil. It's when people that do know better do the same crap that it pisses me off.
We are not children set loose in an adult world to explore and do as we will. About half the time, we are adults being denied the world we have earned. We aren't trusted to make our own decisions, and when we assert our rightful independence, it's looked on with condescension and/or disapproval. We get advice and admonitions rather than encouragement, because god knows we're idiot children and don't know any better.
They will never take us seriously or respect us as our own, intelligent, autonomous individuals, because they'll never think of us as adults or their peers, regardless of how old we are. Thirty-four, three kids, a career, and you'll still be "just a kid."