All five fingers were proudly extended on the hand she projected forth. A sticky substance streaked across her cheek. A similar substance decorated the bright orange frock that hung over her nimble frame. “Wow, you’re getting so old!” cooed her audience. “No, you’re not.” Blurted the young boy. He turned to the adults with a dirty scowl across his face. “She’s only four.” “But I’m almost five!” she defended herself. The heavy mascara caused her to blink twice as the bouncer studied her face. She could feel the bra strap of her double push-up digging into her side, but she pursed her lips and held his stern gaze. “I am eighteen. I am eighteen. I am eighteen” the sixteen year-old convinced herself as the nightclub bouncer held her fake ID up for inspection. “Guess.” The challenge was as cheeky as her smile. Her smile was winged with the faintest of wrinkles. She lounged on the couch with her belly comfortable behind her strapped top, her extended arm not as firm as her challenge. “Twenty-one.” Came the flattering, and equally as cheeky, reply. The safest route in these dangerous waters. “Oh, what I would give to be your age again!” her glazed eyes stared off into the distance, as they often tend to do. She slowly reached her bony hand over her shoulder and used her gnarled fingers to reposition the plush blanket resting over her shrunken body. “You don’t seem your age!” I am often told. Yeah, well, I don’t feel my age either. How does one feel an age? I wonder. I have yet to open my eyes on the fifteenth of September thinking, “Wow, this new level of life is totally different to the last one.” A year of age doesn’t work like that. I don’t know how a nineteen year old is meant to feel. Perhaps it’s ought to be stumbling after midnight with the taste of tequila in the back of my throat. Perhaps it’s ought to be the scratch of an outburst of laughter in the back of my throat as I skirt my responsibilities. Perhaps that is what it feels like for some nineteen year olds, but I have already felt that and I am no longer feeling that now. I believe that feeling an age is when you’re not thinking about anything in particular and then come to realise that the you of a few years back is not the you of now. You can then associate your past with that particular age. But can you associate that age to who you are not? The projection of age is yet another category for others to limit your being. I see people avoid their hearts’ desire because they’re ‘too young’ or ‘too old’. Age is not there to restrict us, but rather to gauge our experience. You can be too inexperienced for this or that, but not too young. You can be too advanced to enjoy this or that, but not too old. Half of us wish we were older and the other half younger, meanwhile we all are just being. And being is all we will do, if we obsess over this concept or not.

Published by Anja Cronje