Saturday, March 08, 2008

How old is "Old"?

As far as my camp friends go, I am on the older end of the spectrum... something they remind me of often. I hung out with my friend Megan today. We generally consider ourselves to be the same age, but every once and awhile I will say something to my friends who are younger than 21 or 22 and get total blank stares because they are too young to know what I'm talking about (don't know what My So-Called Life is???) Just because I can remember the 80s....

Age came up a lot in our conversations today. I was personally really excited to be hanging out with someone who is old enough to drink AND doesn't have kids. That's a demographic I wish I saw more of. We talked a bit about how weird it is that all of the sudden we have to start making decisions that we don't feel old enough to make. Finding jobs? Serious relationships? Paying bills? Taxes and health insurance? We agreed that it makes a small age difference seem big, because all of the sudden life changes drastically.

"My age" used to mean exactly my age, my grade in school. Now it kind of depends on the situation and who I'm talking to. At church "my age" means anyone in their twenties. With people in their twenties, it probably means somewhere in the mid twenties. And, I suspect, when talking to kids and teenagers, "my age" means people who are like kind of old but not really old. Like, I got my driver's license when gas was 99 cents a gallon and we still used pay phones at school.

I've heard that 50 is the new 30. I guess that makes 30 the new... 25? And 25 the new... 20? At the same time, I recently heard someone on NPR say that 30 is the new 50. So many people are accomplished at young ages now that there's more pressure for people in their 20's to be together and impressive. At 23, Mark Zuckerberg is a billionaire. He's younger than me! Panic, etc.

But no one can express the angst of my generation like Jessica Simpson: "Well, 23 is old! Its almost 25 and 25 is almost mid-twenties!"



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