As I'm only 23, I really can't comment on getting older. Perhaps when Hubski is 7 years older, I will look back on this and laugh.
I have yet to fear getting older and have always pretended to be older than I was. At 14, I was 18 sneaking into bars for punk shows, being "badass" in front of the local guys, and participating general chaos. Sneaking out, no shoes, shots Barcardi 151 without chasers, etc.
When I was 18, I was 22 to drink at bars in New York. Later that year, I got my first gig editing in New York and told the guy hiring that I was a 24 year old. Since most of the gigs I did after that were word-of-mouth from this guy, that fact stuck with me until I was eventually 27. I can only imagine his surprise when he added me on Facebook this year and noticed that the shots of our late nights in the editing bay were in the same album as me moving into the dorm.
Did anyone really believe me? I have no idea. I still have a babyface to this day and get carded everywhere. But no one ever seriously called me out on it. People still said, "you seem way more mature than that" even with my fake age and "goddamn, you look like you could be in high school".
In high school, my parents were horrified to meet the various groups of friends I would hang out with. At 15, my best friend and I spent the entire summer with a group of 19-23 year old guys and girls. Smoking, drinking, and occasionally fucking on the beach. To this day they remain some of my best friends. But all my parents saw were naughty predators taking advantage of our innocence. Little did they know that these guys and girls were far less predatory than the hornballs that were my age.
In a professional environment, I still rarely mention my age. I think it detracts from the respect I get. "Oh - your're only 23? Alright...yeah....I'll take that advice with a grain of salt." When I visited Coca-Cola HQ last year, I got respect from the coke guys. I told them exactly what we would do and how we would do it and why we were doing it that way. My company's account manager, who knew my age, was stunned when I spoke up in the meeting and I could see fear race through his heart. The relief was palpable when I didn't make a fool of myself. Like I'm going to open my mouth in front of a million dollars if I don't know exactly what I'm about to say. LOL. Later that night, before the bar, he demanded to see and approve my outfit and gave me a stern talking to about how much I would be drinking and that I shouldn't feel compelled to dance on the bar. Really? I didn't even dance on bars at 14.
But being young enables me to get away with a lot of things that would be looked down upon if I was older. Being occasionally trashy is expected. Once you get older, you may automatically get the respect that experience and age brings. Professionally, people tend to listen to what you have to say, regardless of your actual knowledge on the subject. But the judgement gets a lot harsher. When you earn the respect as a girl - when people are surprised at your maturity or what comes out of your mouth - you truly earned that and it's true respect.
When you are automatically entitled to it the second you walk in the room, it's much easier and much worse to lose it. Getting too drunk and/or spreading your legs for a guy will cost you respect very quickly because that automatic respect comes expectations of how you should act. No more jean skirts and flip flops, no more blackout nights, no more one night stands, etc. And if you don't follow those rules, you will lose their respect. Somehow, losing someone's respect is a lot harsher than never having the respect in the first place.
No one screams at me any more. In November, I walked around Beirut at 3 AM and besides one guy jerking off toward the stars, no one bothered me. Men tell you you'll miss street harassment when it's gone. I don't.
It's because at a certain age, men expect that you won't respond. When you are 18 you are expected to respond because you are nothing but a young, innocent, ignorant child. If you were to get catcalled at at 30, and you responded, you would be infinitely trashier than an 18 year old who responded.
I for one, enjoy fucking and drinking and occasionally doing too much of both. I don't know if that will ever change, but I should probably start getting better at choosing the times I do it at.