The Senior Struggle: What’s My Age Again?

October 8, 2012

by

My sister turned 14 years old this past week and finally started high school this past month. She navigates the halls of my alma mater, takes most of the same classes, and shares the same teachers I had. I texted her about her first day. Her instant response: “Five teachers asked me if I was your sister.”

My sister is seven years younger than me and we look exactly alike.

A side by side comparison. | Photo by Kelly Felsberg

Did genetics give up on my parents’ proverbial last child? I’d say my sister is blessed. And yet, as irritating as it might be for her to wander through high school in my paling shadow, I find our odd twin-hood even more exasperating. (Who’s that pre-teen getting down at the club?) On a not-so-rare occasion, a stranger has noticed us, (Oh, sisters!) and quickly has inquired about our ages.

Kaylie says, “Fourteen.” (Should I mention our names are vaguely, well exactly, the same? Creativity is a family trait.)

Stranger looks at me and guesses, “Sixteen?” Please insert here the most prolonged eye-roll possible.

I always calmly correct them with a stifled laugh. I will be 22 this January, and will graduate with a BA in English this May. Yes, I know I appear barely old enough to be graduating from high school.

I’ve noticed questions regarding my age more and more, especially in part to the final 21st birthday blow outs for my youngest friends. As 2012 draws to a close, these birthday parties are evolving into much grander affairs. Only a soiree complete with party buses and nightly benders at the local bars clearly seems to rival the anticipated entrance to the sacred gates of Tavern in the Square (legally, I might add). My driver’s license and poor debit card are getting around.

Do I sound tired of the 21st birthday hype? I must admit I do look forward to my friend’s party bus extravaganza at the end of this month. It will be the best bout of debauchery following my non-existent midterms. (Senior year is treating me well.) I do not, however, look forward to the struggle-bus ride to work the next morning. The MBTA never fails to be the most edgy on those morning-after rides, as if to deliver me a decisive punishment for eschewing all responsibility.

Yet there are certainly nights when I’m out in Allston or downtown Boston and ought to reevaluate my surroundings, especially when my night could replace a montage from the Jersey Shore. (I did not escape Long Island for Jägermeister and neon.) While it may be my senior year, and I may have this nascent, of-age ID from which the abhorrent UNDER-21 has simultaneously vanished, I’m less likely to flash it hastily at bouncers. I decidedly care less and less about where I am than who I am with.

I might be mistaken at times for my fourteen year old sister, but I am certainly my own age.