1. You are calmer.
You have been there and done that. You know that every mistake isn’t the end of the world and the sun will rise again tomorrow. We all fall victim to emotions, but we recover more quickly as we get older. There isn’t enough time to wallow in self-pity. Didn’t get into the right college? OK, what college is next on my list? Didn’t get the perfect job? OK, let’s update LinkedIn and find the next interview. Failures don’t seem so monumental anymore.
2. You don’t give a damn about getting into the hottest club in town.
It’s not that you’re “old,” but you really don’t give a crap about queuing up to go into a dark, sweaty room where you can’t hear anyone. Suddenly spending a few hundred bucks for cocktails around college guys or girls sounds repulsive. Once you’re well into your thirties it takes a lot to make you wait in line for anything. The last thing I waited in line for was because my children just had to see Mickey Mouse at Disneyland
3. You no longer have to prove that you’re a real adult.
You have kids? A mortgage? A career? An extremely dated yearbook? A few extra pounds? You’re an adult. You have the lines to prove it.
4. You don’t have to spend much on music.
This dates me, since no one buys music anymore. If you are from my generation, you fondly remember your 1990s and early 2000s music and only listen to new stuff in moderation. I like a lot of new music, but a lot of it sounds like pure dreck to me.
5. You’ve stopped chasing most of your dreams.
You’ve accomplished most of them—college, career, marriage, kids, and the house in the ’burbs. Most of these have been accomplished by your mid-thirties. Of course you still dream about a vacation or career progression, but it seems different when you’re actually living most of the life you imagined.
6. Your friendships mean something.
You are older and have time constraints. You stop spending time with people out of boredom or necessity. You make friendships with people that have mutual interests and maintain only the most cherished friendships from either high school or college. I don’t care if Facebook says you have 700 friends. That means you have 650 people that you feel “meh” about.
7. You’re not pressured into doing things that don’t interest you.
“No” means no. You are an adult and other people’s opinions hold little merit. You value trusted friends and family, but not what a drinking buddy or an obnoxious coworker thinks.
8. You don’t need to “win” every argument for the sake of “winning.”
Arguing isn’t a sport, at least not yet. If it were, MSNBC would play FOX News in the Super Bowl.
9. You listen to young people talk about getting older.
10. You appreciate the things you have today.
Cell phones (used to wait in line with a calling card), Wikipedia/Google (going to the library and the book was checked out), Internet shopping (awful Christmas Eve shopping crowds in malls), Facebook (having to actually give a damn about a lot of people to know what was going on in their lives). I appreciate having all of these convenient technological advances. Young people feel like they have been here forever. I distinctly remember each of these inventions. Don’t get me started on how awesome Netflix is.
11. You don’t worry so much about your appearance.
If you’re a woman, you probably have to run a few times a week to still fit in the clothes that are in your closet. If you’re a man, you likely have less hair on top of your head, and the hair that’s left becomes dusted with gray. Bras become a necessity. Your skin inevitably develops lines and exposes imperfections. You are aware of this. You try to mitigate the effects of Father Time with a good diet and exercise. You buy tasteful clothes and deal with it. Botox, hair plugs, or any of that crap? No. Just say no.