28 October 2010

At what point do you stop being referred to as a "girl"?

So, I'm in an open plan office, and the 3 ladies who sit near me are 8-10 years younger than me. One of the older men who works near by walks past every morning and says "morning girls"!! I find this amusing. I often wonder if people can tell I'm a mother of 2 in her mid-thirties? (Exactly in my mid-thirties, I might add). I am such a bad judge of age, but can others guess where I fit? 

I should add that I don't feel old, and I love being the age I am. But I am beginning to feel that sense that certain opportunities are going to get hard for me from now... It may be more a circumstance thing (ie 2 young kids) than age. I hope so - I hope I'll always be open to new challenges, expanding my mind, meeting new people. But I recently saw this website about words from other languages that can't be translated into an equivalent english word, and "Torschlusspanik" (from German) kind of made sense. (I also like the word "Jayus" from Indonesian!!).

But I digress. As I was saying, I sit near 3 twenty-somethings. I don't want to sound condescending - they are amazing young women. One of them came up with this website, has marketed it to law schools around the country, and earns a supplementary income from it. But I am feeling a definite generation gap here. Some of them still live at home with parents, saving money. I had to expain to them what YUP-pies stood for, and DINKs. And they still care about concepts such as being cool, and having their personality quirks (that we all have, don't we?) understood.  I suppose I am accustomed to being one of the younger ones, like the little sister in the office, and it is a suprise to find this is no longer the case. I suppose it gives me an idea of how my older friends and colleagues have viewed me up until now...


Oh the joys of commuting on public transport! I haven't done this since 2004, when I last worked in the city... between then and this job, it's been walking or car.

My commute is short and sharp - takes 15 minutes on the bus. I can walk if I like - it takes 50 or so minutes (I may need to work on finding a better route) - but I find I'm usually in too much of a hurry, and would rather spend time with the family than be walking a long time.

So what do you do on a bus for 15 minutes? I don't always get a seat, so rarely get a book out, or knitting. That leaves: thinking, and people watching.

Inner city bus routes always have such a mix of people! Parents with young kids on their way to child care, school kids, people in suits, Uni students, old folks, funky haircuts, experimental fashion that is actually ill-suited to a particular body type... the list goes on and on! Many people have white headphones in these days* and have their heads down while their fingers fiddle and scroll through phone and pod menus.

And the conversations. A personal favourite form of on-bus entertainment is the deeply personal phone call that everyone can hear.

So I am getting used to commuting again. I don't like waiting long for buses, and often run to catch buses that I would otherwise miss. The other day, I sprinted to the bus, got on, shoved my ticket in the slot whilst catching my breath, then looked up to catch a youngish lad in a suit with a fauxhawk staring at me with a furrowed, concerned brow. I'm not entirely sure what it was about me that didn't meet his approval!

*do I sound old or what?