1. When buying alcohol or entering places 21+, you catch yourself force-feeding the cashier or bouncer your ID. What? You don’t need to see my ID? No, here, take it. Look at it. Don’t just skim it politely then hand it back. Squint as if you’re suspicious of the IDs legitimacy and ask me my date of birth to confirm. C’mon – more enthusiasm, I want to feel it. SQUINT LIKE YOU MEAN IT. Squint like Renee Zellweger. You’re a skeptical Renee Zellweger. I want you to say it. Say, I’m a skeptical Renee Zellweger. Yeah, you’re gah-damn right you are.
2. Listening to the oldies station and hearing songs that were being played on TRL. For example, I heard Genie In A Bottle the other day and was freaked out because I’m pretty sure that video debuted on MTV what feels like a month or two ago.
3. You no longer recognize any of the faces at your local bars & clubs because most of the people in attendance are the newly of age, fresh batch of 21 year olds. When the majority of folks you’re familiar with have stopped frequenting certain social spots, that’s usually your cue to consider switching things up as well. It’s pretty much impossible not to notice that you’re the only representative of Fill In The Blank High, class of 2004 present.
4. When someone says “10 years ago” and we think of the 90s. 2003 does not seem like that long ago, and recognizing the fact that we’ve been in the 2000s for well over a decade is terrifying. Have we been living in a casino where there are no clocks in sight or do our watches tick so nonchalantly that we lose track of large amounts of time with ease.
5. Scrolling down so, so far to reach your year of birth when filling out forms online.
6. All of the people you know are getting married, and it’s not just because of an accidental pregnancy.
7. All of the people you know are having children, and they’re not all accidental. People are excited and fully prepared to start their families, and sometimes that’s hard to grasp after so many years of associating babies with a crisis and the end of immaturity being an option. “Duuude, are your parents pissed?” turns into “Congratulations!” and you understand the concept of making a baby on purpose.
8. The day you catch yourself having to Google a term that you didn’t understand. Those young whippersnappers and all their acronyms and lingo and swag. (Don’t be ashamed, y’all – I held out for months before finally caving and searching the meaning of OOMF after seeing it all over Twitter.)
9. When you realize that on November 25, 2013 Aladdin will turn 21 years old. TWENTY-ONE YEARS OLD. Aladdin will be old enough to drink alcohol and gamble. Silver lining: Aladdin still won’t be old enough to rent a car, so there’s that.
10. Many of the professional athletes you currently watch are younger than you. For some reason it’s a lot harder to admire NBA players who can afford the most expensive bottles of alcohol, yet aren’t legally able to drink. It’s like a younger sibling who you naturally can’t look up to as easily.
11. Having zero tolerance for currently popular teenage stuff. Take the test: Browse Tumblr for an hour, then hate watch whatever’s on the Disney channel for a few more. If you can’t handle it and catch yourself saying critical things, questioning 14-year olds’ fascination with current TV, it’s probably not quite as bad as you think, and we’re just past our cheesy, prepubescent television prime.
12. You actually care about monitoring water and electricity use. I think that the instant you complain about someone turning on the A/C or taking too long of a shower, 12-year-old you watches from the past, shaking his or her head in disgust.
13. Going out on consecutive nights is becoming less and less appealing/doable. The concept of weekend long raging has not aged well and you find yourself choosing between Friday or Saturday as your sole night of festivities. Back-to-backs are for the fresh livers and eager hearts of those bright eyed, bushy tailed newbies — not the seasoned veterans who have full time jobs and an increasingly difficult time dealing with hangovers.
14. Checking for a ring when meeting someone you’re potentially interested in has become an instinctual thing.
15. When you catch yourself following procedures and agreeing with laws instead of trying to find little ways to break the rules. Turn off cell phones? Well they must have a good reason for that policy. 40 MPH? Meh, that seems appropriate.
16. The relief you feel when you anticipated having to attend some type of gathering but those plans get canceled. Even reading/thinking the phrase “canceled plans” makes you tingle and feel all warm inside.
17. Rarely do you receive presents anymore, but when you do, the majority of the time they’re gift cards.
18. When you use coupons and don’t care at all what the people behind you in line think, or what wisely saving money does to your social status.
19. The joy you once felt upon entering Toys R Us back in the day is now only replicated when you walk in the doors of Costco or Target.
20. When we talk about how old we feel as 20-somethings and older people are like, “Pipe the f-ck down, you don’t even know the half of it.” and we realize that that’s how we feel when we hear current teenagers complain about anything. It’s evident then that as old as we may feel now, it’s only going to get worse.