For some weird reason, there’s this weird chit chat about being “old” that we hear all the time. I don’t know at what age this kicks in, but I’m pretty sure it’s early twenties:
Age 21: “Omg these high school kids are SO young, remember having so little responsibility?”
Age 24: “Ugh I can’t drink like I used to because I am olllllddddddd and now I have a hangggovvvverrrr for three dayyyyysssssss bring me a burritooooooo and a Poweradddddeeeee.”
Age 25: “When you’re old like me, none of the men on Tinder will be interested in you anymore, because you’re all wrinkly and jaded.”
Age 26: “You’re getting a 4am flight so you can get in at 7am and go straight to work? Fuck that. I am too old for that shit.”
Age 27: “Man, the knees ain’t what they used to be.”
Side note, I ain’t blaming y’all, all those quotes above are MINE. But I have now instigated a new policy with my friends that you are NOT ALLOWED to say you are old ever. This is a blanket ban until you are 80. Then you can say you are old. Because you actually are. Unless science has caught up by then and we all live to 150 and then the blanket ban remains and I’ll give you a status update in 2058.
The thing that is so fascinating about this, is that surely we KNOW that in the future we will look back on our 25 year old selves and think “omg I can’t believe I said I was old when I was 25”. Right? Like, don’t we KNOW 25 isn’t actually old? So is this just harmless chit chat or do we actually believe it?
Speaking just for myself, it’s been a combination of both. To an extent, I’m just saying it because I hear other people talk like this and it’s almost cool (?) to talk like this, with some kind of air of “knowing more” than someone younger than you. But there also feels like there’s a bit of despair mixed in… shit shit shit I am getting old and for the first time my skin feels a bit loose (not from being skinny, from my face falling down), and everyone on Facey is posting awkward engagement photo shoots. Of course the prevalence of social media makes it way easier to compare yourself to your friends’ highlight reels… but I suspect this kind of self-talk existed prior to my Bebo account. Your parents and teachers and colleagues will talk in this same way, and maybe it’s just a symptom of society telling you that ageing is a bad thing, exacerbated by the fact that you maybe notice changes in your body and change is scary you guys.
The bad thing about thinking like this, aside from the fact that it’s not true, is that it a) perpetuates this idea that being old is bad, b) perpetuates the weirdo social view that by the time you are 20 you are donezo (which is also annoying that then you’re going to like 80% of your life complaining about being old), and c) actually makes you FEEL old and somehow like you can’t do things/you’re inadequate.
So it’s kind of hard to stop feeling this way, because of society + social media + hearing this shit so often. BUT it is less hard to stop talking like this and to encourage your mates to boycott the phrase “I’m so old”. I’ll talk about habit forming elsewhere, but this requires habit breaking. I’m pretty sure it’s an easy-ish one to do though, because you just need to check yoself when you think about saying “I’m basically a grandma”, and to call people out on it when they do it. The less we talk like this, the less power it gives to the idea - and it’s a stupid idea. You’re not old, one day you will actually BE old and then you will want to complain more, ageing is not an inherently bad thing, and it’s actually kind of annoying to older people when you are in a fucking Kylie Jenner swimsuit unsuccessfully grabbing your “love handles” and bitching about the fact that since you turned 19 your metabolism “just isn’t what it used to be”.
In case you are still confused about whether you are old or not, here is a short visual guide to assist you: