Monday, June 23, 2014

#berufsjugendlich

Berufsjugendlich is perhaps one of my favourite adjectives in colloquial German. In my opinion there is no accurate English translation for it. "Mutton dressed as lamb" is close, but has a(n even) more desperate connotation, whereas berufsjugendlich in my book is someone who has a hard time waving good-bye to their best years even if they might not dress 10-20 years younger than their contemporaries. Sometimes you might see the translation "professional teenager", but I find it applies particularly well to people in their 40s or 50s behaving as if they were still in their late 20s or early 30s. I like the word as it really applies to myself, to the point of me sometimes wondering if there is something ever so slightly wrong with me. I suppose it's a professional hazard when you work at a company where few people are older than 35 and, unlike Coma HQ, where I was the youngest in my department, I often feel like the mummy or granny in age. Now that my favourite girls (the Empress, the Gazelle and M.C., all younger than me, needless to say) have deserted me, I hang out mostly with "the kids" from Marketing, who are in their mid-20s. The rest of the gang is in their early 30s and even if it may be perceived as a bit weird for the other party that I seek their company, I feel very comfortable with people considerably younger than me. My favourite cousin Chiquita, partner in crime for travelling, going out and lazy Saturday afternoons, is 10 years younger than me and way more mature than me in many ways. Maybe I would act and feel differently if I was married and had children, but as long as I find YouTube vlogs and blogs by kids barely out of high school more interesting than most "age-appropriate" entertainment I don't see light at the end of the that particular tunnel and that's o.k. Mind you, I DO know where the line is, dress-wise, and wouldn't touch things like super-short skirts or midriff-baring tops with a barge-pole and don't jump on every trend-bandwagon. It's just that I am interested in many trends that seem to evade my more "settled" friends. When at work I don't feel particularly tech-savvy or geeky at all, but compared to most of my non-work friends I do and I often feel like an alien who speaks a different language.
The rude awakening that self-image and how I am perceived by the outer world inevitably comes when I am addressed with a formal "Sie" by strangers of the same age group. I sometimes have visions of me slouching around in chucks, Starbucks Matcha Latte in one hand and and the latest It-bag in the other when I'm 90 and live in a nursing home. Here's to being a funky granny...who still blogs!

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