I am 24, which feels very old. One of the reasons, though, is that I remember knowing 2X-year-olds and thinking they knew/understood/experienced so much.
I am just coming to terms with many of the "bad things" that happened in my life. I have also, for many years, been aware of the fact that I was suicidal for a very long time. If not for the overwhelming understanding of my parent's unconditional love (which, in my depression, I doubted as prescient, but always knew was a part of me) I would not be here. I have a gorgeous and ridiculously flawed boyfriend of more than 5 years (he has Asperger's and is almost comically bad at understanding or reacting to emotional experiences from other people. For example, after explaining to him that I am now aware that one of the molestations I have experienced might have completely destroyed my self-confidence and ability to be intimate; his response was "Hold on, my stomach hurts. I feel like I have too pee and poop and that I got kicked in the balls all at the same time!" Which made me laugh hysterically, but kind of in a sad way. Because... really??).
Anyway, my point is... there are women younger than me, twice my age, the same age as me: who are handling things I feel emotionally incapable of even considering. I am in awe of them. Sure, I was in suicidal, overwhelming pain. But at the same time I had devoted friends (whom I refused to admit cared for me), insanely devoted and loving parents (whom I was convinced [and still am on bad days] wished I had died so they could properly celebrate my perfectly gorgeous and successful and genius brother). Some of these people have nothing. Not because they don't deserve it, but because life has dealt them a hand not even worthy of a rock. Some of these people are half my age, but with the emotional strength and intellectual understanding of a saint.
I wish I could hug them all, even though I hate hugs. I wish I could properly show them how much I respect them. Even, love them in some stranger kind of way (I don't use that word lightly).
I have so much respect and passion for others on this forum who have endured so much at so young an age (or even so old an age, pain knows no boundaries). People who have fought through loss I couldn't even consider without having a panic attack. Who have experienced the disrespect of people who don't deserve to exist in a moral and good society.
I feel that sometimes my respect and, dare I say it, love for those of you who have fought through Hell and are still fighting, is sometimes overwhelming. But the truth is I wholly consider those of you who have faced down the worst in humanity and continue to thrive... I think you are heros/heroines. It sounds melodramatic but... I don't care how young you are or where you have come from: if you have fought through pain that makes most people bend just thinking about it, and you are still kicking ass: you are my hero.