Wednesday, January 12, 2005

More than a Number?

Yesterday I had my first business lunch of the New Year. It went well. The conversation was terrific, food perfect, wine delicious, my colleague and I were both on message, I looked good and most importantly, I wasn’t paying for it. Life - sometimes you have to love it. The guy my colleague and I were having lunch with is a well respected black guy in DC with a pretty impressive resume and a rolodex I’d steal if I had the chance. At several points during lunch I looked at him just wondering how did he get to where he is in his professional and civic career and just how on Earth do I get there too. My insecurities began to take over after long. I was wondering why wasn’t I where he was now. A loud bell rang, the alarm sounded, the buzzer went off, the words came out of his mouth that answered the question of why I wasn’t where he was just yet.

He told a story about a great time he had in college. He ended the story by saying, “That was 25 years ago.” My insecurity about my career and social climb faded for just a minute. This guy was at least twice my age. He didn’t get where he is now overnight and at my age I need to realize if one mans life were looked at as 24 hour day I’m still very early in the morning.

Age is such a funny thing. Not funny ha ha but funny in an ‘ah, there is the rub” sort of way. I sometimes I hide my age from others fearing they’ll think I’m too young. When I first started my move into the working world people were put off by my accomplishments and young age. So, I started taking the dates off of my graduation dates on my resume and shying away from any discussion that would lead to me saying exactly how old I was. People loved me, my work, etc… but were put off by my youth. Another example of the burden of ones own beauty. One day I’ll probably hide my age fearing that I’m too old by someone else’s standards. The beauty of aging is heavy to carry as well.

Standards are sometimes marked by age. If you are X age you should be this and doing that. If you are XX age you should have this and be working on that. I can see both the positive and negatives of setting goals and using age as a bar to have reached certain successes. But what do I know? I’m only…