#3. You Will Stop Trying to Change the World (If You Are a Man)
There are few things as frightening to a well-toned 20-something male as the sight of his balding, soft-bellied dad, his body pulverized and out of shape from years of being a hardworking dude. Surely it's just complacency, right? You'll make sure never to let the world beat you like that. You'll push HARD, work HARD and damn well have the body of a male stripper well into your 70s.
A sad case of sudden onset rigor mortis. He hasn't moved for days.
And even sadder is the attitude of these old middle-management types -- guys who were hard-driving badasses in their 20s, only to turn into bored, soft, middle-aged golf enthusiasts at 45. We'll never be like those losers! They sold out, man, and we're gonna keep it real.
But Over Time ...
There's a common conception that men "think with their dicks," but that's a crude and insulting stereotype. We should be looking just a half an inch lower, to their balls.
If you trace almost any problem back far enough, you end up at a sweaty pair of balls.
More specifically, it's all about testosterone, the hormone men have to thank for a lot of their drive and physique. You probably already know that testosterone is what shapes the male body in puberty in terms of increased muscle mass, deeper voice, hair growth and sexual virility. What people lose track of is that these changes continue through your life -- testosterone levels peak around age 40, and then start to go down.
And as hard as you may try to prevent it, it takes that rock-hard physique away with it. This is why that wobbly belly becomes harder and harder to lose and why things like muscle aches and increased daytime fatigue start to occur. And with that come changes in your attitude. A low testosterone level can be unconsciously emotionally devastating for men, and symptoms include increased irritability, depression and lack of motivation.
On the positive side, embracing change means increased airflow around the groin area.
The condition is called the "andropause," the male version of the poorly named menopause that women experience, and this is most likely the driving reason why the male midlife crisis kicks in and men start either fighting the process with superficial changes (like sports cars, fashion changes or trying to start a rap career) or just settle in with the slippers and hot drink and damn well accept it.
"Look, boy, I felt the same. And then I realized Susan in Desperate Housewives really had it harder than all of us."
#2. You Will Find Yourself Eating Bland Food, Because You Can't Taste It
You like to think that your taste in food only gets better as you get older. You wouldn't eat the bullshit you see a toddler eating, all sugary drinks and frozen chicken nuggets shaped like cartoon characters. And when you hit 30, you look back at the all-burrito-and-pizza diet of your college years with equal disgust. Your tastes get more sophisticated, and by middle age, you're growing your own herbs and have memorized the precise number of seconds a steak must remain on the grill in order to be perfect.
So why is it that old people wind up eating the same horrible crap every night? You see them lined up at all-you-can-eat buffet places that serve bland chicken and mashed potatoes. You might think that it's some holdover from the Great Depression, when they got a taste for stale bread, porridge and the dust from the window frames. But this will never happen to you, right?
Because dust is so damn classy and expensive now.
But Over Time ...
It isn't really through choice that our diets get blander as we get older. Old people just can't taste shit, and it's mostly because of dry mouth. As you get older, your mouth produces less saliva, and saliva is actually essential for taste because it breaks down the food and washes it over your taste buds.
"I taste only the bitterness of a wasted life eating muesli."
Older people also tend to simply lose their appetites, and with it the joy of eating. So where a tasty meal used to be the highlight of your day when you were young, it eventually becomes a chore, especially when a dry slice of toast tastes the same as chicken fettuccine. The toast has the advantage of being easier to prepare, so it always wins out.
#1. Your Memories of the Past Will Become "The Good Old Days"
Why is it when people get older they seem incapable of getting their brains out of the past? There's a reason why we love to laugh at Grandpa Simpson -- lots of old people are exactly like him, rambling through their life story and how everything was better back in the day when they had to risk catching polio just to get breakfast.
Is it because the world really has gone to hell in their time? Or, like all the rest of the things on this list, is it just biological change messing with their heads?
"We used to fear the robot uprising until we got these chips in our brains. Life is better now."
But Over Time ...
As crazy as it sounds, the tendency for old people to ramble on about the past may actually have been programmed into them by evolution. And that means you'll do it, too, once your cave dweller DNA kicks in.
See, nostalgia actually has an evolutionally beneficial purpose in that it stimulates a natural antidepressant in the brain. As we get older, this reflex only becomes more pronounced. The weight and stresses of life mount up with age and added responsibility, and so having a larger amount of life experience to reminisce over helps the brain calm itself and allow us to continue existing.
Unfortunately, hyenas are immune to hard-hitting war stories.
Back in prehistoric times, the risk of becoming depressed in your cold, dank cave without so much as basic cable would have been a death sentence in a world where you had to fight cougars for your lunch. The survivors in this world would have been the ones who kept up the drive to keep at it year after year. It would be a great benefit if growing older came with some kind of defense mechanism against misery. Unfortunately for everyone else in the cave, this mechanism turned out to be rambling about the good old days to anyone who would listen.
"This story is important because it happened to me."
It's all part of the circle of life, though, that just as your granddad annoys you with the same stories over and over again, so too will you annoy your grandkids in the same way, all in the name of the survival of your species.
You can attempt to coax Mike out of his misanthropic hate cave on Facebook and Twitter, but keep your eyes closed, it's not a pretty sight.
For more on what you'll be like when you're older, check out 6 Obnoxious Old People Habits (Explained by Science). Or learn about the 6 Habits You Didn't Know Were Keeping You Alive.
And stop by LinkSTORM before GETTING OF OUR LAWN.
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