23 year old Psychology Anna Louise Pang recently travelled to New York to spend 6 months at Berkley University, to study Feminist theory. We asked her to write us a reflective text about age and life.

Words by Anna Louise Pang. Danish/French/Chinese, 23 year old psychology student, who recently travelled to New York do do a semester in Feminist studies.

Within a certain age frame, when physicality doesn’t affect behavior in a major way, I believe that people across all ages can meet, live and behave just as they’d like, despite their age. I believe that behavior or expectations of how one should act or live one’s life, at a certain age, is a socially constructed phenomenon, as a result of a capitalist society.

"Kids inspire me because they often act on their initial gut feeling, really old people have knowledge of experiences that I can never understand because I wasn’t born in the world they grew up in and people my own age can relate to the society and the world that we are living in today."

Anna Louise Pang.

Photo by Stella Malfilatre

If everyone ran around childishly free and happy, satisfied with a stick and a friend, society probably wouldn’t run in the manner expected of it. This is according to 'the ideas' that there are things you can’t do or should do as a grown up. That being said, a tomato doesn’t ripen over night, even when exposed to extreme sunlight. How you live, what you’ve experienced and the people you’ve spent time with all contributes to your personality, as you mature into your way of being and how you interact. There are only 24 hours in a day, so, of course as you grow older, you have had more time to experience and thus as time passes - you potentially become a more reflective or understanding person - making you seem more mature.  

I tend to engage quite deeply in relations, without knowing anything about the people I connect with or them about me. Because, what actually matters is just what the two of you give, receive or share,  right now. People often think that I’m much older that my age of 23. Last weekend my new, very good friend told me he thought I was close to 30. People that try to guess my age when we’ve just met (judging on my looks only I guess) often think I’m 17-18 years old.

"This summer a little girl came up to me on the beach and asked me: “Excuse me, but are you a child?”. I told her that yes, indeed was I a child."

Anna Louise Pang.

Anna Louise Pang's personal photos.

Since I am at University at the moment, living in the city and have no intention of placing myself outside of society, I have to manage my life within. This can be quite frustrating at times, to a degree where it ends up feeling like a huge amount of genuine STRESS. I think stress is a big part of us, through all generations. In a way, I could say that I experience a distinction between what I expect of myself living a happy life and what society expects of me. I sometimes wish they had taught classes in high school like ‘Applying for “important stuff"', ‘Filling out electronic online forms’ and don’t forget the most important one: ‘ How to do your Taxes’!

If I have to think about what truly makes me the happy, it's spending my time talking, laughing and dancing with people I like. Those people can be some of my friends through 15 years, new people I’ve just met at 7 in the morning, dancing in a club, children at the foster home I work at or my family. I have no intention of changing these encounters as I grow older. If you don’t see me dancing my heart out with my friends at LEAST a few times a year, when I’m 50 (hopefully until my legs stop working), something went terribly wrong.

"I sometimes wish they had taught classes in high school like ‘Applying for “important stuff"', ‘Filling out electronic online forms’ and don’t forget the most important one: ‘ How to do your Taxes’!"

Anna Louise Pang

Photo by Stella Malfilatre

Thinking of age difference and how it makes me feel, I must say that kids really inspire me because they often act on their initial gut feeling. Conversely, really old people have knowledge of experiences that I can never understand because I wasn’t born in the world they grew up in. Meanwhile, people my own age can relate to the society and the world that we are living in today. That being said not all kids are bold, some old people are too locked to their own world view and I genuinely struggle to relate to many people my own age.

So, I don’t think I am attracted to a specific age over another, I am maybe just attracted to people that have lived a certain kind of life, which makes them a certain kind of way. I think if there is something we share across all ages, it would be internalised fear. If we all shared our life experiences we can inspire, motivate and support each other. I think spending time together, freeing ourselves from the idea of what is appropriate at a certain age, we will come to realise that we are not that different.

I try never to think that I know more than a child or know better than an older person. This way, I often find myself inspired and enriched because it really all comes down to the life the person has experienced or the energy they are bringing. So, we should just try listening and being interested in each other.

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