I have been doing a lot of thinking about my youth, lately. Hell, that statement alone makes me feel old. Seriously, though, the amount of nostalgia I have been experiencing for my teen years is getting out of hand. I chalk most of it up to the fact that my job has me frequenting areas of Queens that I haven’t in about a decade (oh hey another sentence that makes me feel old). Mostly, I actually enjoy being older and past the horrible years of angst and uncertainty but, I had a long conversation with 16 year old me and she is both confused and horrified at how elderly and domestic we’ve become. I think she tried to punch me in the face, seriously, that kid is wild and out of control. So what is it that makes us feel as if we’ve been pushed from youthful party animal to slightly out of touch ancients. Let’s take a look, shall we?
- You bemoan “Today’s Youth”
Perhaps one of the most tell-tale signs you have left your own youth behind is that you tend to disparage teens and sometimes even those in their early 20’s. Whether it’s the way they dress, their horrible tastes in music, or their complete rudeness you just cannot stand to spend any extended time around this group. You don’t mean to scorn them, but you just no longer understand them.
- Your idea of hanging out with friends has changed
Gone are the late nights of loud bars and crowded clubs. You no longer find yourself interested in drinking as if it were a competition. You would much prefer a calm evening of catching up with just your close friends. This could mean a weekly poker night, or having friends over for some wine and charcuterie, perhaps even a couples game night. These nights allow for meaningful conversation with friends, they involve far fewer shady cab rides and poor decisions, and are way more fun than fighting your way through a club while sweating, claustrophobic and annoyed.
- …Actually your idea of fun in general has changed
If it’s Saturday night and you’re choosing face masks, slippers, and Netflix over carefully applied makeup, loud music, and body-con dresses chances are you’re getting older. When you do venture out you find that the venue is vastly different than one you may have frequented a even a few years ago. You begin to realize you prefer museums over clubs, parks and zoos over day-drinking by pool, or a sip and paint over a boozy brunch.
- Your hangovers can easily be confused with a true illness
Remember when you were a total badass who could drink multiple nights in a row and wake up each morning bright eyed and bushy tailed? Well, now those days are far behind you. If you drink in excess even one night you will be, quite literally, hurting for days. Headaches, body pain, deep exhaustion, and possible vomiting will reward you for overdoing it.
- Urban Dictionary and Google are necessities to you
Whether its music, TV, or the internet you are constantly coming across words and phrases that you don’t understand. Thot, bae, ratchet, surfboard – the list of slang, whether misused words and non-words, that pervade youth culture completely escapes you.
- Late has a new meaning
Late used to refer to the wee hours of the morning when you would drag yourself home, a drunken mess, and pass out. These days… well… let’s just say the other night I was stuck at the firehouse until 1130 pm and actually wrote this post about how tired I was the next day. And speaking of that…
- You’re ALWAYS tired
It doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep you get, it generally seems like you are tired non-stop. Work makes you tired, socializing makes you tired, cleaning makes you tired, the list is never ending. And just forget it if you have kids, then you’ll be tired for the next 20 years.
- Family has taken on a new meaning
For some this may mean a renewed respect for parents and siblings as you get past the angsty years of life. Then for some of us it means that the meaning of the phrase “my family” has changed. Marriage and children force you to refocus on who is considered your primary family and its definitely not not weird. If you’re not the marrying and baby having type that’s fine, but rest assured your social media will be plagued by people getting engaged, married, and purposely having children at this point.
- Routine and budgeting have become your life
You have developed a genuine sense of responsibility and probably have a well detailed budget and to do list. When either of these things is thrown off your entire day, and possibly week, have been ruined. You also start making savvy purchases that are well thought out and less impulsive. You want things that were made to last and that will add some value to your life. Further you now ask yourself if something is a “want” or a “need” and consult your budget before making a purchase.
- You get excited by strange things
Excitement used to be reserved for big nights out, or frivolous and expensive purchases, but not these days. New appliances, organizational hacks, and HGTV garner the same level of excitement that an upcoming birthday once did.
So maybe you, like me, are getting older but, you know what, I’m not even mad about getting old. I far prefer it, actually. I am comfortable in my own skin, have an awesome little family, an addiction to HGTV, and a predilection for comfortable shoes, but mostly I find myself to be less discontented and more appreciative than I was in my youth. I’ll take it. And just remember, we still have better music. 🙂