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Mind the (age) gap

Date

Age is just a number. I've heard that a lot lately.

Sometimes I feel old. Very old. Ancient in fact. Like I've crammed ten lives into this one and I'm exhausted from it. Mentally, physically, emotionally exhausted.

Living out a real-life Days of our Lives episode will do that to you.

When I was a kid people described me as an "old soul". I never really understood that concept until I gave birth to a child with a similar disposition.

She is wise beyond her years. Not that I consider myself wise by any means.  But as a child I related to "grown-up" topics because I was thrown into a grown-up world at a very early age.

But now? Hmmm, wise? No. I think I've dumbed it down enough to appeal to the masses.

As a child I found the company of adults more intellectually stimulating. I begged my grandfather to share his wisdom with me. I loved listening to his stories about the war and the Great Depression.

Haunting, mesmerising tales that captivated a wide-eyed innocent such as myself.

In my teens and as a young adult I found myself gravitating towards friendships with older people. Adults were smarter, more astute, in touch with the world - possibly because they had simply lived in it for longer.

My own age group seemed immature, shallow, fickle.

Adults offered insight and authority. I wanted to learn from them, to absorb their knowledge – and possibly save myself some heartache and mistakes along the way (clearly that was a f***ed up philosophy).

Now however, as I enter my late thirties, the tables seem to have turned, as I find myself drawn to a younger crowd.

A large portion of my friends are, in fact, in their twenties.

I am motivated by their conversation, by their savvy. I find them provoking, given their predisposition with the new and the trending. Not to mention their technological nous (of which I have none).

Is it fair to say the younger professional/educated adult brings a level of intrigue to a relationship, rather than the stale ideas and philosophies of an older counterpart?

Not that I'm writing off the elderly – everybody sit back down.

It's kind of like when you have to ask your nine-year-old about a popular iPhone app, because "they just know these things".

Furthermore, as an older single female my interaction with younger males has been surprising to say the least.

The younger man (also a book title if you were not aware, of which I have been told "I MUST read") usually doesn't have baggage, or an ex-wife, or children. Just hopes and dreams for the future.

There is a stigma attached to older women dating younger men however - just ask 42-year-old J-Lo and her 25-year-old dancer. And we all know how it ended for Ashton and Demi.

I asked some males in-the-know what a fresh-faced, twenty-something might see in an older woman:

"Experience... and the ability to converse with substance and clarity," said the hopeful 23-year-old.

"There is no drama with older women. With younger girls there is always some kind of drama," said the 30-year-old, who had dated older women, of which I clearly wasn't one.

"Older women know what they want and are often more approachable," said the 38-year-old.

On the flip side, my female peers who have "a thing" for older men say they offer stability, are financially secure and established in their profession and have a greater self awareness.

Oh and something about grey hair. Yeah... I don't get it either.

Me? All I ask for is emotional maturity because dickheads come in every age, make, and model.

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73 comments so far

  • I work on the half plus seven rule. The younger partner should be no younger than half the age of the older plus seven years.

    Any more than that and it is difficult to find enough common ground to build a long term relationship.

    eg 14 -> 14, 20 -> 17, 30 -> 23, 40 -> 27, 50 -> 32, 60 -> 37
    Which gender is which, or if both the same is irrelevant

    This by the way is a limit, not the preferred situation.

    Commenter
    Goresh
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    May 01, 2012, 8:01AM
    • @Goresh - So you're selecting your mate based on a mathematical equation that has no actual basis in fact? You're better off hitting the casino and taking your chances.

      Commenter
      Journeyman
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 9:58AM
    • For my part, I wonder why people make such abritrary rules like this. And then torture themselves (and others) when their lives don't conform? Life is more complex, surprising, unpredictable and challenging than can ever be contained by such one-size-fits-all rules.

      Just live your life, accept what comes your way, and stop making yourself and others miserable.

      Commenter
      Bug
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 12:53PM
  • I disagree with the 'age is just a number' mantra. With each year, your body ages a little, and when your body ages and you accumulate more experience, you physically and mentally change a little, and over those long periods of time those 'little' changes become much bigger. With age, comes more experience, more hindsight, and [hopefully] more wisdom. I'm much more stable as a person now than I was 5 years ago. People double my age are often better at particular types of problem solving because they've had more time to think about it. People my age tend to have a slightly more naïve perspective, not because we are stupid but because we are young (though I am not young enough to think I know everything). I think people across all ages can find common ground but age is one of the key indicators that show where you are at in your life. I have friends from their early 20s to their late 60s. They all have something interesting to say.

    Commenter
    Jill
    Location
    psychedelia
    Date and time
    May 01, 2012, 8:35AM
    • How old are you clever missy?

      Commenter
      AT
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 10:29AM
    • The ripe old age of 24. I am teaching my dog how to bring me my walking stick! ^__^

      Commenter
      Jill
      Location
      psychedelia
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 10:58AM
    • Wow, your smarter than I was at that age! But then again, I had a two year old, and had to keep a two year old brain about me! Actually, nah, just wasn't as bright...

      Commenter
      AT
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 12:28PM
    • Aw shucks, AT. I don't think so though. Being a mother is hard work (especially when you're under 25!) and something I still baulk at...! Idk, I think when a person learns to be a responsible parent, they suddenly mature in ways childless people don't.

      Either way I hope by the time I'm your age, I hope I'm as fiery.

      Commenter
      Jill
      Location
      psychedelia
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 2:43PM
    • aaw shucks right back at ya. Yeah, by the time you reach forty, you'll have plenty of coals on the fire too, Jill. For sure!!! Then you'll be sssshhhmokin'!

      Commenter
      AT
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 02, 2012, 1:14PM
  • One draws the conclusion that what you see in younger people is what you see in yourself. You see wisdom and a predisposition with the new and the trending, but they see a mature person who is listening to them.

    One may even argue that your preference toward a younger group of friends is a fleeting opportunity to extend your youth. Perhaps from among them you'll find that one young man who will remind you that you're still a princess - at least until he breaks your heart. Eventually you'll fall into 40's and the stable grey haired financially secure gentleman might just take your breath away. (Perhaps I could be so lucky).

    It may actually be that after a life of experience you feel your place is in imparting your wisdom and opinions to the masses, and you take an opinion blog with the SMH.

    Commenter
    Journeyman
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 01, 2012, 9:54AM

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