By Sean Wilkinson
I’m getting older. Not that I’m freaked out about my age, or even worried about the approach of 30. My biological clock is not ticking, and I’m not in a rush to get married. I’m not aching to have a joint checking account, or to buy a minivan. But I’m surprised sometimes at the little pieces of evidence that remind me I am, in fact, a mortal human being who won’t be the same age forever. I know it’s a basic tenet of life, but I’m guessing there’s a certain age when everyone starts examining the place they’re in compared to the number of years they’ve been alive, and what that “means.”
Apparently that age for me is 28.
One of the first things that struck me about this most recent birthday was the gifts I received and relished. I got socks for my birthday. Colorful dress socks. I loved them. I got a book. I read it in a day. What’s next? Prune juice smoothies instead of cake? Pin the tail on the adult undergarment?
The socks were what really got me. First of all, the fact that my girlfriend knew that socks would be a great present for me. Secondly, that she spread the giving of the socks across two days, to make it more exciting. Socks are not supposed to be exciting. They were. Just when I thought I had reached the end of New Sock Bliss – BAM! Orange socks! Totally jazzed about the orange socks.
Thinking about the socks got me thinking backwards about other clues to my increasing years. The whole ulcer thing is not a cool part of aging. Struggling to stay awake for a movie past 11 p.m. is something I used to laugh at my parents for. Who’s laughing now? (The answer: No one; we’re all asleep.)
What I’m doing right this instant is not exactly a remnant from my childhood. I’m sitting on the beach on a gorgeous day. I’m wearing a long-sleeve shirt (granted, the sleeves are rolled up) and I’m typing away on my computer. That’s not something you do when you’re young, footloose and carefree. That’s something you do when you have a deadline and you’re trying to multitask time with the girlfriend’s family and responsibilities to an editor. Multitasking is not a word that evokes youthfulness.
I’ve resorted to comparing myself to others. Granted, this only works if you choose the right comparisons. I don’t want to know how old Einstein was when he postulated his first brilliant theory. I want to know how old that moderately successful, older-looking guy over there is. See, if he looks to be about as successful as I think I can be in the near future, but he looks a good decade older than 28, I can get excited about 28. What’s that you say? He’s forty-eight? I am ababy compared to him. I am going to be a millionaire! Just look at that old fool!
I figure I can milk another two years or so of this business before I actually need to come up with the Millionaire Plan. Let’s call it “inspiration.” That makes it sound productive.
I’m actually enjoying some aspects of being older. I enjoy consuming books at high rates of speed like the older people in my life always have. I enjoy the slowly learned art of moderation. Seven years ago, if someone told me drinking as much beer as possible before the keg ran out was a bad idea, that person was a dullard in my book. OK, that was five years ago. Fine, last year. Hey, look, I’m 28 years old. I can drink as much from the keg as I want.
I enjoy having a bank account that doesn’t overdraft weekly. That fits in nicely with the whole Millionaire Plan. Just don’t check it this week. Or three weeks ago.
And when am I supposed to get used to the idea of doing laundry? I mean, seriously. Does that shit ever not feel like a giant throbbing pain in the balls? What happened to the days of leaving my dirty clothes in a pile in the bathroom and finding them folded on my bed a day later? And what’s it going to take for someone to make me a sandwich once in a while? And what the fuck is the crust doing on this last sandwich you brought me? Yes, I like the crust on wheat bread, but since you didn’t bring me wheat bread, what the hell made you think I wanted this nasty white-bread crust?
It’s nice to be so mature. It’s liberating to wipe my own ass, finally. At least, I bet it will be really liberating. Someday.