How to tell if you're getting old
The old saying that age is nothing but a number is true, but it is also incomplete. Or rather slightly inaccurate. Being old is a state of mind. It’s merely how you choose to view things based on your experiences. And the more time flies by, the more you pile up failures, heartbreaks and eventually decide to stop doing new and fun things because you’re afraid of further failures and heartbreaks.
Past 30, you also start realizing there’s another generation of people younger than you who are not babies or snot-nosed kids locked away in some high school and how you react to that will dictate your process of mental aging.
I was doing dishes this week and Josie put her vinyl of a classic French Céline Dion album. It’s considered a classic in her discography, but I remember fucking hating it as a kid. And guess what? 25 years later, I still thought this album was garbage. That made me feel great. But it also made me think: if I realized that philosophy for music was in-line with my teenage tastes, I could also understand where the disconnections are with my younger self and map a roadway to getting old.
So, I had a little fun with this idea and came up with self-examination questionnaire that can tell you whether you’re getting old or if the world is simply changing. Now, when a friend posts a Facebook meme that says: “like if you think growing up in the nineties was best,” you can point, laugh and call them old.
Things you start hating if you’re getting old
So, there are three criteria for knowing if you’re complaining about something because you’re old:
You used to like it and decided at some point that you’ve outgrown it for reasons like: 1) I don’t have time for this shit anymore 2) This is a kid’s thing 3) I have time for it, but nowhere near the dedication or 4) You’re uncomfortable doing this activity around people who are younger than you.
You can’t ever complain about Fortnite if you played one of the following: 1) Grand Theft Auto 2) Call of Duty or 3) Diablo. It might be played by an army of zombie-like annoying twelve years old, but it’s a culmination of three video games middle-aged white men defend on social media with the same level of maturity. It’s a shooter with satirical open-world elements and there’s no point to it except grinding and getting a kick-ass character. And unlike for other games, you can’t ever pay to get a kick-ass character, you can only pay for him to get a kick-ass look.
It is essentially the same as what you used to love, albeit its form evolved a little bit. Whatever you’re experiencing in life, it’s always better when you experience it the first time and, of course, you’ll be bound to judge whoever is experiencing something or someone else for the first time because it can’t possibly measure to the intensity of the feelings you once had in your cold, dead heart.
I know. I know. I’m not saying Justin Bieber’s music isn’t vapid and opportunistic. Because it is. But you have to understand whoever loves him and accept his place in society. He’s no different from the Osmonds, the New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, One Direction and any other mass produced artists conceptualized in a marketing office. No, you can’t compare him to Kurt Cobain even if he likes to do so himself, because there were equivalents for him at that time. Bieber is a gateway to better, more meaningful music for most people. A gateway you once passed yourself.
Last but not least, you can’t judge something people your age are liable for doing anyway. It might be something “the kids are doing” but if you find out a co-worker is following the same trends, don’t be that old and disconnected person who’s afraid of what she doesn’t know.
Fashion is a form of self-expression and younger people, whether young of heart or body, are most susceptible to embracing it because their identity are in a state of flux. Of course, if you’re a 60 years old emo kid, I’m going to question your emotional stability. But if you’re 60 years old and decide to get purple emo bangs because you think it looks good on you, well, much power to you. If you judge somebody else’s fashion choices because they’re different from those you embrace now and/or have embraced in your youth, you’re old.
Things you might hate, but not because you’re old
Of course, you’re entitled to rile against some stuff too. But once again, there are clear rules to what they might be:
If you’re not jealous of teenagers who are experiencing youth with this item/artist/phenomenon because you think it would’ve not improved yours one bit, you’re allow to hate it. Not all change is good change.
Social media didn’t exist in any shape or form before the advent of the internet. Perhaps life was a little lonelier, then but it was certainly less stressful to be a kid. I remember getting drunk at some party when I was like, 18 and puking on schooI property. I got a message from one of my neighbors saying he had photos of it. I told him I didn’t give a fuck because he couldn’t show it to anybody I cared about. Well, that would be different today, wouldn’t it? I would be caught with photos of me projectile-vomiting on Facebook forever with yearly reminders popping in my timeline. So, yeah. I’m not jealous of kids growing up with social media.
You need to also ask yourself: is life objectively better since this variable is in our lives. Has is contributed to the advancement of society and made those who embraced it better and more competitive than those who didn’t? If the answer is negative, you can hate away.
Seriously, is there anything you’re doing on an iPad that you weren’t doing on a computer or even with a television? It is basically a Gameboy version of everything that was on your house 20 years ago. It is the quintessence of technology for the sake of technology and it gave access to social media to people who have profound disconnection with the media. It’s OK to hate iPads, but if you’re getting old, you’re probably enjoying them.