This developed as I approached 30, as I worried for peoples’ health, as I contemplated my relationship with my parents, I revisited clubs I’d been going to for a decade and assessed the relative changes in them and myself.
We are aging, and the signs of this aging don’t involve dream actualisation or being able to drink in Vegas.
Our parents are getting sick. They are dying from conditions that we can no longer say are “bad luck” or “out of the blue”. Some of us are showing the beginnings of disease also. The binges of our youth has finally caught up to us. We have gall stones. Type 2 diabetes. High cholesterol. Drug-induced psychosis. Worn down teeth. Suspicious looking moles. Chronic back pain. Concussions in double figures. Central adiposity. That means fat in the middle of your body. This is the medical term for your beer/cupcake gut.
And then there are the non-health related signs of aging. The criminal records. The gaps in our resume from jobs that ended with obscenities yelled down the phone. The rising number of pubs we’d rather not go to because we’ve slept with everyone working there. Forgetting how many years it is since we finished high school. The cynicism we write our online dating profiles with. Owning houses. Renovating them. Being competitive about how much we don’t care about how settled our parents brag about us being finally. Completing a Dip Ed and showing an interest in contributing to the future that won’t involve us.
There’s nothing to be done about it. If we try to deny our shuffle towards the grave, we come off as creepers. Sounding like matthew macounaghey from dazed and confused, leering at high schoolers. Half your age plus 7…. once we hit 30, we can’t touch anyone below the age of 22. How depressing to ask someone their age and then actually have to think about if we can bed them or not based on their answer. It used to be that anyone with an alcohol wristband was fair game at a festival, and anyone anyone in a club.
We have to come to terms that we are a whole decade past being the weird slash cool kids on the street. Nobody thinks we got into the club on a fake ID. Nobody wonders if we live with our parents and they’ll be jumping a back fence at 5am tomorrow. If your wrists are scabby it’s just as likely to be because you’ve been pruning your rose garden. Our birth control game has improved. And the settings are no longer defaulted to “do not engage” for all of us.
For the most part we have accepted it. Secretly we are happy to have left some aspects of “the golden times” behind. We like having nice furniture. We like staying in on a saturday night. We like visiting our parents on the weekend and actually contributing a dish to family dinner, rather than raiding their cupboards and hiding our dirty laundry at the bottom of their basket. We like our jobs, or at least respect them enough to work the entire two weeks’ notice required of us before moving on. We get up early to walk the dog or go to the gym, and we borrow our parents camping gear on the weekend to go bush and actually look at the wildlife without being on acid.
Less of our time is spent thinking about what to try next, if we really like it, and what it means if we do or don’t. Our friends’ opinions matter less, and our families’ more. We go whole days without updating facebook. When we watch the sbs or abc news, we know where the countries are and why they’re fighting. We really do look like our parents in photographs, now that our hair isn’t platinum white or mohawked. And even though we have kept some of our colourful body decorations, our parents have come to terms with it, because they are balanced out by the sensible car we now drive.