Being a twenty-something isn’t old. But there are times when you can’t help but feel like old age is prematurely creeping up on you.
Have you ever felt like your joints started aching out of nowhere, and that your hair seems grey in a certain light? Do you think that you are in a period in your life where you are now forced to choose between reverting back to a day without paychecks and bills, instead of moving forward towards investments and security?
They say that the key to a thriving and fulfilling life is aging gracefully. In a twenty-something’s life, it can come as a shock when they realize that it’s not as easy as it seems. It is especially difficult when you see people younger than you doing so many things that you never tried before.
There will be times when you start to feel like the oldest person in the room or even the city. Those times will be hard on your self-esteem and perceived self-worth. But don’t worry. It’s not really how it is. It’s just how it feels to be in the prime of your life.
Signs of twenty-something aging
Not quite sure what I’m talking about? Here are the signs that you’re starting to feel way older than you actually are.
#1 Freshman 15 forever. Doctors say that our bodies’ optimum efficiency starts to decrease as we age. For twenty-somethings, that period starts when we realize that a pound takes more than a jog to get rid of, and a full-course meal starts to become a much-needed cheat day reward.
#2 It takes you a few weeks to get used to a new song from a new band. Music is a periodic expression. Even if a song takes a cue from a different era, it’s still new to the ears of an avid 90’s music fan. Dubstep, synth, electro-pop, dream-pop, etc. Those are all new-fangled genres that our aging eardrums need to get used to before we start liking them.
#3 You have a self-imposed curfew not later than 2:00 AM. You try your best not to call it a night, but biology tells you otherwise. No matter how many Red Bulls – or in a twenty-something’s case, espressos – you chug, 2 AM is your maximum limit for a night out. Don’t worry. You promise to make it up to your 19 year-old friends next time.
#4 You just started moisturizing. Is that a wrinkle? Why, yes it is! When you find that little fold under your lower lash, you immediately fast-forward five years later when they start to become full-fledged crows’ feet. That’s when you realize that Neutrogena is your friend and that Crà¨me de la Mer doesn’t seem so expensive, after all.
#5 Vitamins are now your friend. So, they really do work! Vitamins aren’t just an evil money-grubbing pharmaceutical ploy. They really are useful – especially Vitamin E and Vitamin C. You now see their value as a means to look young forever and stay alive as long as possible. You take birth control pills every day, anyway. Why should a few more pills mess with your schedule?
#6 Water suddenly seems important. Just like vitamins, you now see the importance of a few glasses of water. It’s not just a tasteless sustenance that quenches your thirst. It’s actually a very helpful part of your day that can keep aging at bay and your toxin levels at an all-time low. Plus, they work wonders for avoiding a hangover the next day.
#7 You start keeping lists of your past sexual partners. Admit it. Whether it’s 15, 20, 30 or even 50, you can still remember each and every one of your sexual partners. This time, however, you decide to keep a verified log of all of them. You also check it constantly, just to see if you’re way above the limit you promised yourself before getting married. Don’t worry. No one’s going to judge you. Just remember to password-protect that list like a boss.
#8 Fashion choices are now based on the celebrity with the same age as you. When you see someone five years younger, you start to wonder why their clothes are getting smaller and the colors getting brighter. Would it look good on you? Are you still allowed to wear it? It’s a good thing that there are fashion icons that you can look up to, to see if you are wearing age-appropriate midriffs and heels. When in doubt, Google it.
#9 Work promotions are now the Holy Grail. You either love your job or you don’t. However, growing old shows you the possibilities of better career opportunities and salary jumps. Getting older means spending more. That’s why your next goal in life isn’t a sabbatical based in Europe. Your next goal is getting that promotion, and staying long enough to be eligible for the next one.
#10 You find yourself constantly saying the phrase, “Kids these days…” You can’t not do it. You see younger people doing something strange/stupid/weird and that’s what comes out of your mouth. To them, it’s normal. To you, it’s a genetically imposed trend that you would never deign to do, because you’re over your experimentation phase.
#11 You start hating your younger siblings more. They are basically a personified adaptation of your old self. They act the same way, but they have different interests. You start to question their decisions, even if you made the same ones and are better off for it. Their youth annoys you, but you also see them as a reminder of your past – regrettable or otherwise.
Still, you want to keep them safe, even if all they do is snap back at you with the phrase, “It was different during your time!” Are they referring to the Jurassic or Triassic period?
#12 You start loving your parents more. You hated them when you were younger, but now you are starting to admire their maturity and wisdom. Why? Because they are a standing reminder that you are still young.
While they are getting excited about cashing their retirement checks, you still have a chance to ruin your finances by spending haphazardly and never getting the right type of insurance. Who cares? You’re young, wild and free! Thanks, mom and dad.
#13 Dating feels like work now. The first time you jumped into dating, you were excited at the prospect of finding your true love. When you grew a bit older and more jaded, you realized that dating is fun and the more options you have, the merrier.
Now, you’re back at square one – looking for The One. This time, however, it does not feel like a magical moment deserving of a princess. Dating is now a race for survival. It’s not fun anymore because you’re racing against a biological clock. The irony of it all is that the air of twenty-something desperation is keeping all the eligible bachelors at bay.
#14 Marriage and life accomplishments feel like life rafts. Whether you succeed or not at dating, the next checkpoint in your life or the Big 3-0 should be filled with accomplishments that you want to rub in your family and friends’ faces.
For some people, getting married is the prize, while some, whether willingly or not, consider career accomplishments as theirs. The point being that once you achieve either one of those or both, you are set for life. Or at least until your midlife crisis kicks in.
#15 Your age is now comparable to everyone younger than you. When you compare your age to anyone younger than you – be it five years or even just one – you start to feel like the oldest person in a 10-mile radius.
You see 23 year-olds having lattes, but you feel old because you had an Americano. You see a child riding a bike, but you feel old because you’re considering stealing that bike and Instagramming yourself with the hashtag #TBT. Anything that anyone younger does is a reminder that you are getting old. At least, that’s what it feels like, anyway.
Sometimes it feels like time is catching up on you, but let me tell you differently. Even though the raves are over and the beaches have less people and the clothes don’t fit the same, you are still young. You have your whole life ahead of you and a lot more to look back on.
Those youngsters you think you’re so jealous of? They envy you more. Why? Because you have experienced so much more and you have the freedom to live your life the way you want to. Isn’t that what aging – no, let me rephrase that – isn’t that what growing up is all about?