Age is Just a Number - Uncover Ostomy
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Age is Just a Number

Today, I had a meeting with a man about the future of my professional career. I greatly appreciated the time he took to speak with me, and I was interested to hear his advice.

The conversation began with the history of my educational background in media, both old and new, as well as business management. I then briefly summarized my past work experience and the roles I held in both New York City and Toronto. I also discussed the future plans I had for the UO campaign, and I expressed how I was about to dive into the completely unrelated field of commercial real estate investment. I then explained that I was hoping for advice on where I should focus my time next and I wondered if he could introduce me to the people I needed to know.

And then it happend.

I knew it was coming – it always does.

“But you’re only 23.”

It was then only a matter of minutes in conversation before the man became aware of the old, wise soul within me. Those few minutes later, he began to list off all the professionals that he believed I could work with.

Funny – Weren’t we all taught not to judge a book by its cover?

I don’t know about you, but I have never felt my age. In fact, to this day, I don’t even know the number I’d assign to myself and am still trying to figure it out.

On one hand, I recently moved into a new condo alone – one that I purchased myself. The condo is located in the wonderful area of King West in downtown Toronto and I am surrounded by individuals a number of years older than me. It’s quiet, serene, and is a very different space than the ones I have resided in, in the past. While it is by far the most glorious thing I have ever experienced, I can’t help but feel like a 40-year old as I send in payments for my mortgage.

Toronto Condo

Condo Life

Not to mention that all the big decisions I find myself making now are heavily biased by how they will affect my future.

On the other hand, this past weekend I went to London, ON, to attend the formal event for the fraternity that my cousins are members and that my brother is the president of. I did my hair and makeup and threw on a dress as if I, myself, was once again an active member of my own sorority. As I partied the night away, I couldn’t help but feel 19 again.

Phi Gamma Delta formal 2013

My brother, cousins, and I: Phi Gamma Delta Formal, 2013

It’s no secret that I’ve lived through hell. Between my near death experience from Crohn’s disease, which resulted in my life saving ostomy surgery, to losing my father 3 years ago, I’ve had to grow up pretty fast.

CNE with my family, 2001

But, it’s not like I’m special.

Many of you reading this blog have gone through what I have, whether it be disease, surgery, the loss of a parent at a young age, or any other type of hardship – you know what I’m saying; these things age us.

We’ve seen more. We’ve felt more. We’ve experienced more.

Yet the calendar continues to assign a number year after year and we’re judged based on it.

I often get asked what I think I would be like if I had never experience those hardships in my life.

My response?

I wouldn’t be me.

While I must admit that I enjoy focusing on my career, discussing business, owning property, and acting much older than my age would dictate, I know I would be missing out if I simply dismissed (as my friend Steph would say,) “the wild side of 25.” That’s why, from time to time, I still throw on that revealing party dress, drink a little too much, and pretend that life isn’t so serious…

And that age is just a number assigned by the earth’s rotation around the sun.

, ,
Jessica Grossman
  • Cassie
    Posted at 05:28h, 09 April Reply

    I cannot agree with this more, Jess!!
    I get this all the time and it can be so frustrating!
    As if my old soul/battle scars & war stories from surgeries and illness aren’t enough, I happen to be a very young looking 27.I had my jpouch surgery 3 years ago, but my most poignant tale is when I was working at an airport bookstore, age 21.
    Had a lovely at work blowout…go to the bathroom, select the handicapped stall so I could get my supplies out easily.
    Upon exiting, a 40 something woman washing her hands asks “Can I say something to you…?”
    I said okay (because of course it didn’t matter what I said)
    She says “You really shouldn’t do that.”
    Perplexed I ask her what she meant by that
    “You are young and able bodied, those are for people with real disabilities.”
    It made my blood boil, obviously this woman doesn’t know many “real disabled” people or else she’d know it’s not always so black and white.
    Flabbergasted and acutely aware of a once in a lifetime opportunity, I didn’t even flinch.
    I looked her square in the eye and politely asked
    “Would you like me to show you my colostomy bag?”

    To this day it really is one of my proudest moments.
    Proud of not letting this woman get to me, standing up for not only myself but for people everywhere with any and every disability.

    Wow this is a long comment 😉 Thank you Jess for empowering so many.

  • Benicio
    Posted at 06:05h, 09 April Reply

    “before the man became aware of the old, wise soul within me.”
    Spoken like a true 23 y/o!

    But seriously, wisdom isn’t defined by age the same way stupidity isn’t defined by youth.

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