Saturday, January 29, 2011

Milestones of Aging

I dunno why, but, tonight, it suddenly occurred to me, "people born in 1990 will be legal to drink this year". It was a realization that made me feel old. It made me feel old, in part, because it means that, in just shy of one year, there will be kids in the US taking their first legal drinks who weren't even born, yet, when I took my first legal drink.

There's a lot of commonly recognized age milestones in life. For someone born in the US, those are typically things like:

  • Turning 16 and being allowed to drive (though, it seems that's getting delayed in some states)
  • Turning 18 and being allowed to vote, sign contracts, be tried as an adult (without special legal considerations)
  • Turning 21 and being allowed to drink
  • Turning 25 and being able to rent a car by yourself (and, in many cases starting on the downhill curve of auto insurance rates)
  • Turning 30 ...because you're now "over the hill"
  • Turning 55 and, at least according to AARP, joining the ranks of "senior citizens"
  • Turning whatever age you're eligible to start receiving Social Security
In addition to these, there are also other less well recognized milestones. These are the kinds of milestones that make you say, "fuck: I'm getting old".
  • The first time you open up a Playboy and realize, "I'm older than the Playmate of the Month".
  • Remembering sneaking your dad's porn mags when you were a kid looking for porn
  • When you get hit by a driver who wasn't even born when you first got your drivers license.
  • Looking around, at a concert or nightclub, and being astonished at the younger elements of the crowd being old enough to drink
  • Realizing that the T-shirt you're wearing is older than some of the adults in the room
  • Having the original versions of several of the T-shirt being hawked by Hot Topic (et. al.)
  • Watching a sporting event where the teams are wearing their "throwback" uniforms and remembering when those were the uniforms were current
  • Realizing that the "underground" music you love(d) is now twenty or more years old
  • Realizing that the band Tshirt some kid is wearing was from a band who's lead-singer (etc.) died before that kid was even born.
  • Realizing that so many of the things that are "retro-cool" were things you grew up with or came of age with.
  • When your first relative dies of natural causes
  • When your first parent dies of natural causes
  • When your first peer dies of natural causes
  • Realizing that you've been working for a living for nearly two decades ...and that you still have two (or more) decades yet left to work.
There's tons more. It seems I discover more and more of them each day. And, for better or worse, there's many I won't get to experience (e.g., unlike my mother, I'll never have the sobering realization of having a child who's 30, or 40 or has just reached retirement-age).

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