5 Warning Signs That You're Finally Getting Older
Look, I'm not going to bullshit you. You are going to get old, and it is going to happen lightning fast. You won't see it coming. You'll just be living your life the way you always have, thinking, "Man, I sure am young. There is little in life that I enjoy more than the simple knowledge of how completely not old I am." And then one day, out of the blue, you'll have a horrifying realization that people have stopped viewing you as an ultra cool, iconic masterpiece of sexuality ... now you're just some kid's parent. An annoying teacher. The asshole supervisor. There will be no warning.
Except these ...
Slang Genuinely Makes You Angry
When You're a Kid ...
You never stop learning new words -- I had never heard the term "hubris" until about two years ago, and now I see it used in every TV show I watch, every article I read, every police statement I have to sign. But when you're young, you're learning new words constantly because your mind is still fresh, and it turns out that there is a shitload of words out there, many of which double for "penis" in the right context.
In the rush of learning, slang just slips in like a Game of Thrones fuck scene. It doesn't seem out of place because it's just another word you've never heard or used before, no different from any of the other dozen you learned that week. So if you grew up in the '60s and '70s, a term like "groovy" or "hunk" didn't seem like the unwashed underwear stains of language ... it was just another sequence of letters you didn't know yesterday, but do today.
Far out, kitty cat. Wanna get baked and give my dick a righteous disease?
The Warning Sign:
I mentioned that you never stop learning words, but there does come a point where the frequency slows to a near stop. And when a new one pops up, you can tell if it's real or just made-up bullshit. For instance, when I heard the aforementioned "hubris," I knew it was a real thing before I filled my clipboard and opened up Google. It didn't sound "clever" or edgy. It didn't have some ridiculous spelling. It didn't sound like an acronym or a shortened version of a longer word. But the first time I heard someone say "probs" in place of "probably," it took every ounce of willpower I could muster to not punch them in their stupid goddamn lips for having made that noise.
I also renounced the very air that made sound waves possible when I heard the first dumb asshole say "cray cray" instead of "crazy." Even widely accepted ones like "veggies" make me want to grab the person saying it by their neck and scream into their face, "YOU ARE AN ADULT!" Even if they're not.
"Veggies" is what a 3-year-old says because she can't pronounce "vegetables" yet!
I have no right. I totally understand this. It's just a word, and unless it's hurting someone, my reaction to hearing it should be nothing short of apathy. But I guess that's sort of the point. The fact that I'm reacting in that way to what should be a non-issue is the sign that I'm moving away from the section of my life where it was acceptable and normal ("rad," "wicked," "gag me with a spoon") and into the new section, where anyone who uses these terms immediately sets off my internal "Fucking Idiot" alarm.
Clothing Becomes Complicated
When You're a Kid ...
Your outfit is who you are. Yes, even those of you who go out of your way to avoid name brands because you're your own person who doesn't fall victim to corporate bullshit. When I was a kid, especially in the grunge era, I swore that I didn't give a shit what I looked like or what I put on. I was just wearing what was comfortable, right? But if someone would have handed me a pile of ultra preppy clothes or a stack of jock type sportswear, I would have physically fought them to keep that shit off of my body. The point is, we all have our lines that we won't cross when it comes to clothing.
When you're younger, you can get away with pretty much anything you want to wear because it's accepted that you're experimenting with style and expression. It's why we can make fun of that emo haircut where it looks like you were riding sideways in an open convertible, but we won't step in and force you to stop ... well, those of us who aren't assholes, at least.
Yep, that hair will in no way come back to haunt you later in life.
The Warning Sign:
There's a moment of panic that I ran into the other day while shopping for clothes. I found an awesome shirt that I just loved. It fit perfect, it had a cool design, it was the right price ... but right before I decided to add it to my "fuck yeah" pile, I noticed that I was standing in the "teens to young men" section. And in an instant, my shopping trip turned into an internal moral debate.
I'm 39. I don't have gray hair or wrinkles. I don't have an old man gut -- not yet, anyway. But even at a glance, it is apparent that I am a full-grown man. Knowing that, I am well aware of the go-to insult when people see middle-aged people dressing in certain outfits: "God, that's so sad. He's a middle-aged man who dresses like he's 18. He can't let go of his youth." I've said it myself about other people -- some of them movie stars, and some of them just regular people I've seen on the street. Part of me looks back on the guy who said that with shame, but an even bigger part says, "You do not want to be that creepy old douche who can't dress his age."
"Grandma, we're going to have to demand that you to stop."
And that's the weirdest part. What exactly is "dressing your age"? I've seriously had to look it up because I have no idea, and what I found was ... well, I still have no idea. As far as I can tell, it's just taming yourself down. Dressing more conservatively. Less rebellion, less edge, less attention-grabbing patterns, less everything. Now, don't get me wrong here: I'm still going to dress the way I want, but for the first time in my life, I'm doing that with caution. Now I have to consider the options of: Do I wear Justin Bieber's designer Chanel ski mask and cocked fedora outfit? Or do I go with the more conservative double-zipper onesie of his bodyguard?
Technology Stops Making Sense (Even if You're Tech-Literate)
When You're a Kid ...
When you're a kid, you don't sit and marvel at the complexity and wonder of a cellphone. You just use it to send racist messages to your friends. And just like every other facet of material life, when one thing starts to get stale, we invent another similar version and move on to that, abandoning the old concepts. How many people reading this article still regularly use Myspace after Facebook became a thing? And how many abandoned that when Google+ became a- OK, I guess the analogy falls through there, but you get my point, right?
In that same vein, we are quick to try out new technologies, because just like fashion or finding a really badass band, there's a rush you get from being the first in your social circle to be in on the ground floor before it gets huge and becomes the norm. Because of that, it's easy to skip through program after program after program, keeping the ones that are useful and forgetting the ones that aren't.
Let's face it: Dick Logger was an app that was bound to come back and bite people in the ass.
The Warning Sign:
And then you reach a certain age, and novelty just doesn't mean jack shit anymore. It's all about usefulness now because you're busy, and you don't have time to fuck around with learning some new program or piece of hardware if it's not going to have a major payoff. For that reason, I have a smartphone, but I only use it to text and call and take an occasional picture. Ninety percent of its abilities are lost on me.
I'm going to assume that the underlying need for function is why I don't get Vine. For those who don't know, it's an app that lets you post six-second looping video clips to the Internet. By default the sound is turned off, so to me, it just looks like a high-quality animated gif. But then when you unmute the sound, it turns into ... well, an animated gif with sound. It's like a YouTube version of Twitter, and I cannot for the life of me understand why it got popular. Yet, at the same time, one of my all-time favorite sites is 5-Second Films, so it's not like I'm lost on the premise. Given, the 5SF crew are masters of the art, whereas Vine users are regular people with a time limit.
"OK, chug that sucker. We'll have to film my hilarious Charles Ramsey imitation on the way."
Keep in mind, I'm not new to computers. I've been using them since the early '80s. But even with decades of experience, I don't understand when someone gets mad that a Facebook user posts a full article or essay. I've heard Facebook people say, "Take it to Tumblr." Who in turn tell people to "start a blog." And to this day, I've yet to be able to tell the difference between the three. All of them have the same abilities to post photos, video, and text ... but for some reason the users have decided that one of the sites is used for photos, one site is used for short messages, and the other site is used for My Little Pony fuck fiction. And my rapidly aging, bitter mind just gives up, saying, "Fuck 'em. Post what you want. If they don't like it, they can just lick my asshole."
Every Debate Makes You Roll Your Eyes
When You're a Kid ...
Part of creating your own identity is rebellion. And a huge part of that rebellion is taking a stand against social norms and actively fighting it. They say your hair needs to be a certain length, so you grow it long. They say your pants have to be a certain style, so you start wearing kilts. Like 10 at a time. When you can't take action, you use your voice. Maybe you've smoked some pot, so you take a stance on legalization and subconsciously look for opportunities to argue your case. If you can't find those debates, maybe you force the issue, shoehorning the topic into another conversation:
"I agree, what happened with those shootings was a tragedy. It's really a shame that we haven't legalized weed yet, because that could have prevented the whole thing. Wait, hear me out ..."
"No, Chad, I refuse to listen to any more arguments that contain the phrase 'The Man'."
Those debates are calisthenics for the mind, and they are incredibly important. It's where you learn healthy confrontation and negotiation skills, which will probably be some of the most useful skills you'll ever acquire in life because it's how you will net yourself raises, promotions, and a neon-pink kitchen. Those things don't just hand themselves over without some debate and convincing.
The Warning Sign:
Eventually, you reach a point where you have heard virtually every debate point for every topic ever conceived by man. Nothing anyone says is new. Nothing anyone says is convincing the other side to "convert" to their line of thinking. Consider how long debates have been around between atheists and Christians, legalization and anti-drug groups, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, Democrats and Republicans, and on and on. So many of the talking points and debate styles overlap from topic to topic that you can damn near lip sync to them as they're being said. All debates have turned into a Nickelback album.
"And now, to wrap up my final 30 seconds, is Chad Ripsmash on the drums."
When you reach a certain age, you don't even see the intelligence or perspective in a debate anymore because you've heard the arguments so much, it's just different people saying the same things in an endless circle jerk. For instance, I know with 100 percent certainty that even without me declaring a side on any of those topics that I listed off in the preceding paragraph, someone will make a smartass, snarky comment about one of them, and that spark will ignite a debate. Just from naming the sides of a debate.
You will reach this point so much sooner than you think. Especially if you hang out on the Internet as a primary or even secondary source of entertainment. Because these debates are everywhere -- they are inescapable. All of them require intelligence, introspection, unbiased examination, and scrutiny ... yet they are almost always conducted by average people with unremarkable IQs who think that winning a debate is determined by who can make the most smartass jab.
Eventually, they'll make it a full-contact event, and then we'll see whose point is correct.
You Lose the Ability to Be Surprised by Entertainment
When You're a Kid ...
The Sixth Sense was one of the coolest movies I've ever seen. Not because of the main content, but because the ending alone was enough to cement that film in cinematic history. It was brilliant. Fight Club was the same way. Given, the meat of that movie was fun as hell to watch, but the twist was just mind-blowing at the time.
Those little surprises are what make entertainment awesome when you're growing up. I'm not just talking about "twist endings," though. They can be -- and often are -- more subtle. A punchline of a great joke is only funny because you didn't expect it. A horror movie is scary because you never know what's going to jump out at you next. Holy fuck, I nearly shit myself when I saw the first two Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Those twists and turns are what keep things interesting and fresh.
"Hey, who let the preteens into The Crying Game 3D?"
The Warning Sign:
Unfortunately, they abide by a pretty strict formula, and once you've experienced so many of them, they become as predictable as a sunrise. A perfect example of this is BioShock Infinite. Don't worry, I'm not going to give out spoilers.
I bought the game because everyone I spoke to and every review I read said that it was quite literally one of the greatest games ever created. Their biggest praise fell on the storytelling, and I cannot find anyone who doesn't think that it's pure genius.
That's the look of two motherfuckers who just got their goddamn minds blown, right there.
Except for all of my friends who are my age or older. None of us think it's a bad game, mind you. Hell, none of us really even think it's a bad story. But it is not even remotely close to being the mind-bending benchmark that the gaming world is declaring it to be. The reason for our very subjective, equally worthless opinions is because we've seen these plots a thousand times in a thousand different formats. Half of us predicted the "twist" in that game long before the setup was even complete.
That's not a slam on the game or a "Hey, look how smart and cool we are." It's a prime example of how our age and experience have trained us to read tone, music and visual cues, symbolism, pacing, three-act setup -- because we've played hundreds of games. We've seen hundreds of movies. We've read hundreds of books. We know stories. We know twists. And you will, too. It's not about intelligence. It's about consuming so much for so long that you can pick out the individual ingredients that went into making the cake.
"Mmmm. Sweet misdirection, with just a dash of viewer doubt."
But don't let me scare you. Growing older is a good thing in most respects. I'm just saying that it can sneak up on you if you don't know what to look for. Once you're prepared for it, it's up to you how to use it. Hell, Steven Tyler is like 190 years old, and that dude is still going like age ain't shit.