Just about everywhere I go I am the youngest person. I’m the youngest in my office, I am the youngest in my relationship, I am the youngest child, I am the youngest of my friends. Because of this, it is more natural for me to ask them for advice than it is for them to ask it of me. “What’s like the best bar in Georgetown?” My married friends with 2 kids, living in the ‘burbs completely unaware of the fact that Georgetown isn’t what it used to be will ask. “OHMYGOD! Where did you get that dress?” My elder co-worker will ask when she sees me outside of the office. “Wait, like how does the latest Katy Perry song go again?” My friend who just had her first baby and is too busy to care about pop culture will ask. Ok so maybe a touch dramatic because let’s be honest I no longer know how the latest Katy Perry song goes until it’s been on the radio for at least a month. The point is I feel like those around me don’t come to me with anything of substance.
Generally I ask my mom but in the event one of these elders (and forgive me for using that word but I can’t write my “older but not old” friends, family, and so on throughout this entire post) is around I will ask for advice but it’s not my fav. I’m not generally the asking of advice type. I’d rather listen and perhaps offer an opinion if I think you might actually hear it. I think because I feel like it happens so infrequently, I am very flattered by anyone who tells me that they’ve learned something from me or that they want my advice on something. In my old office I was the one who trained all new hires and I’ve taken on that leadership slash mentoring role since high school whenever it was presented to me. I was a peer leader, a team captain, “head hostess,” and so on. I miss that role. I was about to write “I need younger friends” but I immediately hit backspace because I would never have the patience for younger friends – I am surrounded by the people I am surrounded by for a reason. I am mature for my age. I’ve heard it all my life.
I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to over-think any of this until I was presented with a question from a woman older than myself about a topic that I would consider myself an expert. This woman has a younger daughter who is about to enter middle school. She is considering sending her daughter to private school and asked my opinion of Oak Knoll (my private, all-girls, Catholic high school, in case you didn’t know). I lit up! Not only did I go to the school but I have opinions about it, I’m not simply indifferent. She asked about other schools that I considered going to that many of my close friends from the younger years attended. I was delighted! I know what I’m talking about here. This is not a topic of too much interpretation like for instance, love. Love is crazy, it’s hard to give be-all-end-all advice but this, this I could talk about for days. I could talk about it intelligently, emotionally, practically, and confidently.
“So, you went to Oak Knoll? What did you think about it?” She asked. I answered with a somewhat long-winded, can’t say enough about it response. “What about Kent Place? What do you think of that school?” Again, more passionately enthusiastic, almost embarrassingly so responses came from my mouth. And ya know what she did? She shrugged her shoulders, barely let out a “hmm”, took a bite from her pizza, and continued to watch the g.d. hockey game.
I was immediately deflated. Perhaps she starkly disagreed with me but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was mother or a little bit older that maybe she would have have treated my opinion and advice with a bit more respect. I really did. In the moment, I thought, “JUST LISTEN TO ME! Your daughter is going to end up one of those girls at effing Kent Place instead of an amazing graduate of the Oak Knoll School of the g.d. Holy Child Jesus because I’m not a mother?!” WTF. “What would this conversation be like if she could ask my mom those questions instead of me?” I wondered. It really pissed me off. She really couldn’t have cared less that I had gone there or that I’d lived through the entire experience that she was about to embark upon with her daughter.
I have opinions and I have advice to give so just listen to me! I look forward to the days where perhaps I am the first of a different circle of friends to get married or have babies. Perhaps then people will come to me for advice and actually take it! It will be a glorious time for Sass to shine!