The science-fiction movie Logan’s Run is an unwatchable cheese-fest, but it makes an excellent point: when your twenties end – as mine will soon – you might as well be dead. Yeah, it’s an arbitrary number. Still, arbitrary numbers can scare the living crap out of you.
Those of us born in the 1980s are experiencing this wretched passage en masse, so let’s face the painful truth: our glory days are over. And here’s why…
1. Partying Isn’t Cool (Or Fun) Anymore
Getting hammered and puking all over yourself after 30 doesn’t make you a wild, fun-loving rapscallion; it makes you a sloppy, pitiful lush who never grew up. Plus, hangovers get worse as your metabolism slows down – eventually the mere thought of poisoning your liver yet again causes nausea, like riding a roller coaster for the 5,000th time.
Even worse, binging becomes boring. The thrill is gone. Suddenly the last place you want to spend your weekend is another filthy dive bar. Doesn’t a symphony sound nice? What about a museum? Where else do sober people go besides A.A. meetings? (Scientific fact: there’s no such thing as alcoholism in your twenties; it’s just called being in your twenties.)
2. Single? You’re Pathetic
For your entire adult life, hooking up with attractive strangers has been the hallmark of a successful night out. But in your thirties, your lack of a committed relationship is just kinda sad. It’s time to worry about dying alone.
Settling down isn’t for you? You’re going to enjoy the single lifestyle as long as you breathe, a new partner every night? Good luck with that. Needless to say, you’ll be “creepy old” instead of “dignified old” because you’ve aged chronologically but not emotionally, choosing a meaningless pleasure-seeking existence over the deep emotional connection that humans need to make us human. Also, you’ve doubtless got herpes, so enjoy that.
3. Married? You’re Also Pathetic
Your single friends are having so much fun without a ball and chain, aren’t they? Wow, look at how green the grass is on the other side!
4. You’re (Probably) Going To Become A Parent
Notice anything different about your friends’ Facebook updates lately? Gone are the scantily clad drunken snapshots from college that will nix any chance of holding political office; now it’s just a bunch of goddamn baby photos. Look how cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute *vomit*.
No matter whether you’re in a committed relationship or a series of uncommitted ones, your likelihood of breeding (intentionally or accidentally) is swiftly approaching 100%. You can barely walk across a room without knocking fragile objects to the ground, yet society expects you to keep an organism alive for at least a couple decades – from changing its diapers to paying a quarter-million dollars on its college education – at which point, your offspring will take drunken snapshots that will nix any chance of holding political office.
5. Your Body Erodes
You don’t look drastically older at 29 than you did at 20. A few pounds extra, sure. A few gray hairs, maybe. But the next 10 years are going to absolutely ravage your appearance. Forget your 401(k); open a plastic surgery savings account now to insure against your soon-to-be-ghoulish face.
Oh, did you want to play sports professionally? There’s a reason why most athletes retire in their mid-thirties; your back won’t feel so great in the morning. Which is just one example of how…
6. You Give Up On Your Dreams
Quick, name your favorite musician! Chances are they had their artistic/commercial breakthroughs long before 30 – and if you answered Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix or Amy Winehouse, they didn’t even live until 30.
You can suffer for your art when you’re young, childless, and in good health, but you can’t subsist on ramen forever. If you aren’t a rock star by 30, it’s sadly time for grad school, which might be worse than how Cobain/Hendrix/Winehouse went out.
7. Your Ideals Seem Like Bad Jokes
You used to have so many strong convictions. Whether it was environmentalism, government accountability, the First Amendment, or world peace, you had passion.
But as the years go by and nothing changes – no matter who gets elected – you realize that the entire corrupt system is rigged. You grow cynical. You stop caring. You settle for the lesser of two evils. You no longer want to change the world; you just want your slice of the pie.
No wonder baby boomers went from “don’t trust anyone over 30” in their twenties to cutting their hair and voting for Reagan. And you don’t even have long disgusting hippie hair to cut, so it’s that much easier to sell your nonconformist soul.
8. Your Loved Ones Will Die Soon
You’re not getting any younger; neither is anyone else. Maybe your remaining grandparents would appreciate a call? And maybe, just maybe, your parents too? :(
9. You Feel Nostalgic For The Good Old Days
Speaking of your grandparents, you know how they always complain about the price of ketchup these days? That’s not so different than when you say, “Fifteen bucks for a movie ticket? I remember when it was half that!” (Don’t get me wrong; $15 for a movie ticket is total bullshit.)
Oh, and did you notice that your favorite bands have slowly but surely become oldies acts? They played real music, didn’t they, unlike this newfangled garbage?
As the world foists more responsibility upon you, the natural reaction is to idealize the past. That’s why boomers have a collective boner for the ‘50s and ‘60s, Gen Xers have a collective boner for the ‘70s and ‘80s, and millennials have a collective boner for the ‘90s. (Nobody misses the Bush years.)
10. 40 Isn’t So Far Away
When you hit 20, the prospect of 30 doesn’t phase you at all. A whole decade in the future? Might as well be a century! Now, however, you realize how quickly 10 adult years pass. The next 10 years could pass even faster, and then half your life will be over. Weren’t you in college just, like, yesterday? How is it possible you’ll soon have more days behind you than ahead of you?
But 40 is the new 30, so 30 must be the new 20, right? And you’re only as old as you feel, right?!?
Yeah. Sure. Happy birthday, dead man.