Old 20-Something
Cataloged in Family / Your Twenties

When A Twentysomething Feels Old

You’ll feel old when your body starts to reject you. Your heart is burning, your knees are creaking, and the thought of having to someday tie a child’s shoelaces is foreboding. Losing five pounds isn’t as simple as switching to salads for a week or “taking walks” anymore. No, now you have to jog, you have to take up yoga because you and your body are estranged lovers, constantly at war. “You used to feed me carbs. WTF is this kale mess? Honey, no.” You try to get revenge, show your body who’s boss, so you go on a bender. But your body’s all, “Yeah? Have fun with the four-day hangover I’m about to give you. I hear your couch is really jumping off on Friday nights.”

And your body’s right – your couch is jumping off on Friday nights. If anyone knows, it’s you – you’ve been there every Friday for the past month, fighting off Thursday night’s party. You’ll feel old when you don’t care about staying in on the weekend, when you cancel on your friends and they don’t care, either. You used to need a real excuse to sit out on a Friday, “I’m sick,” or “I’m going away this weekend,” but now all you have to say is, “I’m old as hell and I can’t go out two nights in a row without vomiting,” and no one will argue with that. I mean, how can you?

You’ll feel old when you stop sweating the small stuff – you didn’t choose to quit being petty, you just don’t have the time anymore. “What are you apologizing for, again? Was I supposed to be upset about that? How about next Monday at 3:40 p.m.? I’ll pencil in some irrational anger then. Can you provide a brief summary of what you did wrong? I’ve only got fifteen minutes to overreact and then I need to get on with my day.”

You’ll probably feel old the third time you find yourself crushing on an undergrad. The first time, it’s an honest mistake. The second time, you’re noticing a pattern. But the third time is when you realize that you’re on a one-way train to Cougartown. They look old enough to date, and legally speaking they’re fair game, but the days of shacking up on an extra-long twin and charming your way into 21+ establishments are far behind you. You wish they weren’t.

You’ll begin to feel old when you swap coffee for tea, concerts for books. When your childhood home is sold. When everything you own is crammed into a rental. You’ll feel old when your youngest sibling can join you at a bar, when you look forward to spending the day with relatives. When you spend the holidays with friends instead of family, it’ll feel liberating but it’ll also feel like the death of something important, something you never knew you’d miss.

You’ll feel old when you start to receive wedding invitations. No plus one for you, single lady. Maybe some other time. Your refrigerator will be covered in doilies and lace, announcements made in blue and white. It’s a boy and save the date and Merry Christmas. Beneath all of the pomp and circumstance is a photo of you smiling on your 21st birthday, buried and yellowed evidence that time is unstoppable. TC mark

Never give up hope.

How do you come back from your lowest point? How do you drag yourself out of that black hole of nothingness that has consumed your life? For me, being diagnosed with Hidradenitis Suppurativa wasn’t easy. I now believe that if I can manage this skin condition, I can do anything.

Be Strong
When A Twentysomething Feels Old is cataloged in , , ,
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    i can’t wait for STDs

  • Erin

    It’s awkward that I feel this way and I’m only 19…..

    • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

      Believe me…you’re going to look back at that with nostalgia and realize, Damn, I was so young.

  • Mashka

    You’ll feel old when you move into an apartment and your new neighbors invite you downstairs for a few drinks. You go downstairs, surrounded by 8 or so people, and you think hey these people seem pretty cool until one girl starts chatting you up saying how she’d love to go out with you and your roommate for drinks and that she totally can because she has a fake ID…. HOLD UP how old are you? “Oh we’re all 19”. I’m 25. I say this and the response is “that’s not that bad, it’s not like you’re 30 or something…”

    AHHHH i feel so old every day 

    • Guest

      she was probably a moron.

  • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

    I will be your +1 Stephanie and I’ll +1 this article in Google Wave right now to prove my dedication.

  • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai

    I felt old at 25 but 26 has been easier so far. Thankfully, most people don’t invite me to weddings.

    I was the only single girl at a Halloween party this weekend though. And the only one with bare legs. Yea, that felt old.

  • http://twitter.com/ronariffic Sharona

    I turn 29 in a few weeks. Will officially be on the last leg of twentysomethingdom. I can relate to every single thing in this piece. Good gawd.

    • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

      Happy birthday in advance!  I see a younger man in your future who makes you feel 21 all over again.  You meet him on Thought Catalog after he responds to one of your comments.

  • Laura Hampson

    This is my life. My facebook feed is filled with wedding pictures and baby scans and Christening pictures, I’m often asleep before midnight and dieting is horrible. 

    Blurgh, in my head I’m still 19, why must I be 23?

    • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

      Nothing is wrong with you.  Something is wrong with your friends.  You have the rest of your life not to be single.  Why rush into it at 23?

    • Guest

      ew. wtf. how can you marry someone at 23? that is disgusting. I sense some divorces in the future…

  • emmarks

    brb going to kill my old self

  • Pepperk

    :( all of it.

  • Shwax

    I felt old this weekend when I dressed as Jack Skellington for Halloween and nobody seemed to know what the Nightmare Before Christmas was.  Somebody told me it was because that movie is “so old”. I’m freakin’ 23!

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Now that I’m applying to jobs with my Master’s for positions that have been occupied by people with 20+ years of experience, I have to say I feel…young.  And naive.  I still have so much growing up to do even if I’m an ancient 26-years-old. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41508118 Caity Sherlock

    only halfway there. yikes.

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    This is unfortunately timely, as my birthday is tomorrow and I feel incredibly, depressingly old.

  • Lolo

    I’m 29 and, honestly, the only thing that really makes me feel old is hearing 23, 24 year olds complain about how old they are. Unfortunately that’s what half of the articles on TC are.

  • serena

    you’ll start feeling old once you realize you can now relate to what adults were telling you all about before, and it’s as if somehow, you’ve been christened to the “grown ups club” eek.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

    I’m closer to 40 than 30, and trust me, it gets  better, MUCH better. Well, maybe not for women, but for men, definitely!

    • TuraLura

      Don’t believe the hype. It can get better for women, too- even over the age of 35!

    • Guest

      how does it get better? example??

      • Pamela Soucre

        You get perspective, stop caring so much about what people might think and relax :)

    • ariel

      Why not for women? That just seems silly. 

      • Melissa

        Yeah, how not for women, you asshole?

  • Anonymous

    “When you spend the holidays with friends instead of family, it’ll feel
    liberating but it’ll also feel like the death of something important,
    something you never knew you’d miss.”


    • Guest

      why would you spend the holidays with friends instead of family?!

      • Anonymous

        Because sometimes either A) you’re too far away from home and
        money/work/school/time prevents you from making it home for the
        holidays, B) the majority of your family isn’t living anymore, or C) extended family is traveling to see their kids/other family in other parts of the world and you just can’t get everyone together like you could when you were younger.  There are lots of factors, and most are a result of getting older and/or life changing events in people’s lives.

        Which I guess is something you can really only understand when you’ve reached that age.

  • TuraLura

    Damn, kids, what’s your hurry? If you’re old as soon as you pass 21, you’re likely going to be old for a very long time indeed. If you’re lucky.

    Once upon a time, I watched some ancient talk show where centenarians were being asked various questions about their lives. One of these was “Which was your favorite president?” Every single one said “FDR.” Being that this was way back in the 1980s (before most of you oldsters were even  born, I reckon), I suddenly realized that these people were already in their 60s when they voted in those elections; if you’re fortunate enough to live a long life, most of it will be spent being old. Really old. Not just the kind of old you’re currently experiencing, which is only old compared to being a child. Just sayin’.

  • http://www.tinacris.ca Cristina

    Wait. Am I the only one who doesn’t feel old? At 29?
    It concerns me that people who are younger than me are feeling old. =/

    • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com/ Aja

      That’s what I’m saying.  Some days I feel younger than I did when I was 23.  Mostly because I’m active.  My younger sister is always kvetching about feeling old and I want to shout “But you’re 26!!”

    • Guest

      People are living longer and longer….compared to 100 years old, 26 years old is nothing. you shouldn’t feel old.. don’t listen to these morons saying they feel old.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    What is it about our generation (those of us in our twenties) that already feels so fucking old? I’m 24 and I feel goddamn ancient these days. I was talking to an old friend who probably fits into Generation Xish, and he was completely slackjawed at how i see the world.

    “Dude, you’re twenty fucking four,” he said. “You’re not meant to have shit figured out. You’re meant to do crazy shit at that age. And not ‘I once lit my foot on fire LOL’ crazy, I mean “move to Portugal and declare yourself legally dead” crazy.”

    Instead it seems like most people my age are just fucking exhausted. And I’m not even sure what we’re exhausted about. 

    • Guest

      we live in a time of too much stimulation. we are constantly bombarded with information and news from different forms of social media and what not. i think hat is part of the reason young people feel old. it’s very anxiety provoking.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/engleprunt engleprunt

    I felt old about two months ago when a friend and I were getting a drink at a bar after a concert. The girl he was talking to balked when she found out that we were both 28. She asked me how old I thought she was and I said, “I don’t know…23?” to which she balked even harder. I left.

  • http://www.nicholeexplainsitall.com EarthToNichole

    You’ll feel old when you receive party invites that say, “bring a light sweater or jacket” from friends who once issued party invites that said “bring money to chip in on a keg.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/MattTriano Matt Triano

      You need to get some new friends, eat some Vitamin C and do some squats. This is weak, unless the light jacket is for the walk to the bar or to your buddy’s backyard where beer is also present.
      I’ll be 25 in a week and this whole discussion is really confusing–it’s like ‘old’ is synonymous with doing your work and getting on with it, enjoying the bits in between. It isn’t, BTW. Old is stagnation, old is not reading the book or going to the concert. Old isn’t progression, it’s the end of growth.
      Get drunk, do your work, have all the fucking fun in the world doing whatever makes you happy and above all stop whining. It makes you sound old.
      Peace and love bitches,

      • http://www.nicholeexplainsitall.com EarthToNichole

        “Get drunk, do your work, have all the fucking fun in the world doing whatever makes you happy and above all shut the fuck up about it (along with stories about the girl at work who isn’t as pretty or as smart as you).”

        I’m assuming you were replying to the author of this article, because I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I agree with “Old is stagnation, old is not reading the book or going to the concert. Old isn’t progression, it’s the end of growth.” Well said.

      • http://www.facebook.com/MattTriano Matt Triano

        Oh I’m sorry, yes–I was replying to the author. 

  • Rod

    You’ll always feel old. I’m fucking 19 and I look at the freshman in the year below me and suddenly I’m nostalgic for my life just a year ago, when everything seemed easier and all that bullshit.

  • Guest

    i actually feel younger when I don’t go out. it makes me feel like a little kid again. I kinda like it better most the time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508371039 Rayan Khayat

      this is true

  • Anonymous

    I just turned 20 and I already swap coffee for tea and concerts for books.   And I do very much look forward to spending a day with relatives.  This article didn’t make me feel old.  It made me feel super lame.  

    • Cassie

      I know how you feel. I’m 21 and I almost always choose tea and books over coffee and concerts. 

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