Thought Catalog
August 5, 2011

Why Do Twentysomethings Always Feel So Old?

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What is the issue?

I’m turning 25 next month, which by my estimate, is the oldest I have ever been. And of course I’m freaking out about it and think I’m super old. When in your twenties, it’s your job to feel old. Whether you’re 22 or 28, you just think you’re sooooo old, oh my god, such a grandma and I’m not really sure why this is. Because 25, or any age in your twenties for that matter, isn’t old. In fact, you could argue that any age before 65 is still considered young. By definition, being old would mean reaching senior citizen status, right? That kind of old is unfathomable to us though.

When I was in high school, people in their twenties were seen as ancient. I remember saying things to my friends like, “Oh, he’s really old. Like 24.” I think 24 was perceived to be an old age because their lives were so foreign to us. They graduated college, lived on their own, and held jobs. Those were things that represented an adult life, things we didn’t have and couldn’t have. Of course now I cringe when I think about the fact that I ever considered 24 to be an old age but I’m sure I will feel the same when I turn 35. When that happens, I will look back at this blog entry and think, “Oh, you silly 24-year-old. You thought 25 was old? You were just a baby and you didn’t even know it.”

When do you know it? I’m trying to remember the last time I ever felt young, the last time I ever turned an age that wasn’t accompanied with a sense of dread. I guess it had to be seventeen because it was my last year as a minor. I couldn’t buy cigarettes, couldn’t drink, couldn’t even rent a hotel room. How could I possibly feel old? But after that, it all changed. I remember first feeling uncomfortable about turning 19, which is such a baby age! 19 is I’m a freshman in college and does anyone have a fake ID? It’s laughable to think that I ever could feel old back then, but maybe it’s laughable that I feel old now. When is it no longer ridiculous to feel old? When is it like, “Oh, shoot. Yeah, you’re old. That’s an old age.”

I think the reason why twentysomethings are so fixated on age is because we feel a pressure to be a certain way at 23, at 25, at 29. There are all of these invisible deadlines with our careers and with love and drinking and drugs. I can’t do coke at 25. I need to be in a LTR at 27. I can’t vomit from drinking at 26. I just can’t! We feel so much guilt for essentially acting our age and making mistakes. We’re obsessed with this idea of being domesticated and having our shit together. It’s kind of sad actually because I don’t think we ever fully get a chance to enjoy our youth. We’re so concerned about doing things “the right way” that we lose any sense of pleasure in doing things the wrong way. Youth may be truly wasted on the young. TC mark

image – jessica.diamond

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