Tween: A child between the ages of 9 and 12. A tween is no longer a little child, but not a teenager.
Tweens are those young people in a transition stage. They are starting to become too cool for toys but aren't quite ready to give them up but they no longer fit in with the little kids. But they aren't grown-up enough for the big kids either so they don't fit in with them either. They don't really fit in anywhere except in their little tween world.
Recently, I was trying (unsuccessfully) to explain to one of my friends that I don't really feel like I fit in with the other members of one of the Meetup groups we both belong to. The group is for singles over 35 and at 37, I am usually the youngest one at our events-although I don't do much with this group. I was telling him I felt too young for that group. I also told him I keep telling people I'm 34 because I apparently don't remember how old I am. Of course, thirty-four is the age I was when my world came to an abrupt stop so I guess on some level I'm just trying to pick up where I left off. I went on to tell him that on the contrary to that group, I feel too old for the 20's and 30's group I am in as most of the members in that group are around 25.
I was having a hard time getting across what I was trying to say. It was a couple of days later that it dawned on me that it isn't so much a matter of age as it is circumstance. With the group of people over 35 (or the "singles pushing 50" as I like to call it), most of the members who regularly attend events are closer to 50 than 40, have ex-spouses to deal with as well as kids and in some cases grandkids. I feel too young for this group because I have none of these things. I have a dead guy on the dresser and two dogs. I don't have those grown-up responsibilities like they do-I'm not grown-up enough for the big kids.
On the other side, I'm past the "just graduated but holding on to my college ways" stage. I've done the first grown-up job thing. I've done the first long-term relationship and marriage thing they haven't. I'm well past the days of staying out until the wee hours of the morning and somehow managing to be awake for work at 8:00-and stay awake all day. (Not that I don't stay out too late on a school night more than I should, but I've really cut back on that). I'm too old to play with the little kids.
It dawned on me that at 37, I'm a tween. I still like to play but how I like to play has changed. But I don't have all the responsibilities of the big kids either. I'm stuck in the middle. I keep referring to this phase of my life as High School 2.0. Apparently, it's only Jr. High. Damn.