Ah, but I’ve never felt my age! I remember 23 so well. I was just getting weighed down with serious responsibilities for the first time. In the military. I worked long hours and the things I did had real consequences on people besides myself — for the first time.
I mean, uni had been difficult and filled with stress, but all that stress was about myself. I did poorly, I would suffer the consequences, but other people wouldn’t, or not much.
At about 23, that started to change. If I screwed up, then I might screw other people up. I still FELT 23, though. I still partied with my friends and slept in on weekends, and drank too much sometimes, and worried more about having fun than most things.
And even now, that mostly hasn’t changed. Except I don’t sleep in on weekends. Because I can’t sleep, not because I don’t want to. ;-)
Interestingly, David, the protagonist of this novel, is 23! I based a lot of his inner life on myself at that age. I don’t think he feels very grown up, but of course he actually is.