Ageless advice

Joey Garcia

I just started a new job that I love but I’m freaking out. I work for a psychologist and I’m training to become one myself. I’ll begin to see clients soon for therapy. My problem is that I look really young. People usually think I’m in high school. I actually finished high school early and completed my undergrad studies in three years so I am younger than most people in my program. What do I say when someone comes for therapy and asks how old I am? What should I do if they just refuse to work with me because they think I’m too young?

If someone asks your age, be playful: “Old enough to know better!” Or a sage: “Timeless.” You could also just be direct: “I worried that my clients would think I was too young to help but once we work together, that fear is tossed in the dust bin.” If anyone refuses your services, let them go. They obviously weren’t ready for a new perspective. After all, some people will use anything to avoid change—including you. Yes, that means you should divest yourself of the notion that chronological age correlates to maturity or intelligence or wisdom or even street smarts. It doesn’t. I can introduce you to 4-year-olds, 9-year-olds and 15-year-olds who are wiser than 40-year-olds or 70-year-olds. Wisdom results from applying what we’ve gained from life’s lessons, so we can transform into a more authentic version of ourselves. It has nothing to do with age and everything to do with the heart’s desire to evolve. Counsel yourself accordingly.

I’m in a dorm suite with two other girls. It was chill at first but now when I’m friendly to one girl, the other one tries to get her away from me. My friends have noticed this, too. I’m never in my room anymore, I even sit in the hallway to eat or do my homework. I tried to get moved to another dorm with just one other girl but the school said I couldn’t until next year. I don’t think I can go through a whole year of this. I’m getting really depressed, and I just want to come home. My parents think I should stick it out. Please help.

I want you to figure out why your roommates’ behavior bothers you so much. That doesn’t mean that I think you’re overreacting; I understand the pain of being left out. It strikes at the core of our human need for connection and community. But I also know that your ego may be signaling something beyond the obvious issue of your discomfort. Explore other points in your life when you were thrust into an “us-against-them” scenario. Maybe one parent played you against the other? Or school friends unexpectedly sided with a bully instead of with you? Perhaps you are more accustomed to being the one who is supported, not the one excluded? A deep dive into your personal history can heal the past, freeing you to make wiser choices now. That said, don’t let two silly young women drive you away from college, if it’s your dream to be there. They don’t deserve to have that much power over your life.

Meditation of the week
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them,” said Mother Teresa. Who inspires your judgment? Dear readers: Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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