Tuesday, December 2, 2008 | By: Zachary Bartels

Getting older...

I'm thirty.

No, that's not old in years. It's still pretty young. But old has several definitions and one of them indicates a state of mind. Some people, at thirty, are still more or less like they were in college (and still living more or less the same kind of life). Others are consumed with the daily grind or raising a couple of tweens.

Now, I haven't much thought about it, but in the back of my mind, I think I've always just assumed that I'm on the "younger" end of things for a thirty-year-old. I mean, I still listen to hip hop and punk music from time to time. I watch a lot of movies and can follow most pop culture references. But upon further inspection, these are not nearly enough to hold me back from my relentless and apparently passionate pursuit of boring-old-guy-ness.

So what are the signs? Well, here are a few:
  • My favorite cereal is no longer Cinnamon Toast Crunch or even Honey Nut Cheerios. It's Special K. That's right; if I could have any cereal on a given morning, I'd always choose Special K.
  • When I go to a concert, I don't want to mosh. I don't want to dance. I don't even want to stand. I paid good money to sit here and listen and that's what I want to do, thank you. Down in front.
  • When I read Calvin and Hobbes, I get a far bigger kick out of Calvin's dad (heck, I am Calvin's dad) than I do out of Calvin himself.
  • I think of ten-year-old songs that were popular during my college years as being more or less "new." (I seriously can't believe that Time of Your Life and Iris are actually a decade old; heck, the Coolio song in my last entry--the one that Erin and I used to crank in my car--is thirteen years old. How did that happen?).
  • In addition, I couldn't name one song that's on the top forty right now (if there even is still such a thing) and when I happen to hear said current pop music, I hate it 95% of the time.
  • So I pretty much just listen to podcasts of financial and theological radio shows. Wow, when I write that out, it's just... man, I'm old.
  • I frown when someone tells a dirty joke.
  • I wear a tie just about every day. And I like it that way.
  • I'm far more excited about watching everyone else open Christmas presents that I bought than actually opening presents myself.
  • I'd rather play Pac Man on my Palm than learn how to play some new photo-real, adrenaline rush video game. On second thought, I'd rather play cribbage or backgammon than any of that stuff.
  • When I employ slang whilst talking to the youth of my church, I can see them exchanging sidelong glances and trying not to snicker.
  • More often than not, the thought of going to a party drains me, rather than exciting me.
  • If the subject of music, television, fiction, newspaper funnies, shopping malls, etc. comes up, my first instinct is to begin a diatribe about how it used to be so much better.
  • I don't yet have the old-guy-up-at-dawn-ready-to-go thing down just yet, but I want it more than anything.
  • And here's the real nail in the coffin of my youth (at least by this particular definition)...I drink decaf at night now. Decaf. If my 19-year-old self could have a meeting with me, he'd beat the tar out of me for my own good.
Okay, all you people who read this blog and never comment (I know for a fact you're out there, as you reference specific entries in conversation; besides, Google Analytics doesn't lie)--how about you comment this time and tell me your own litmus test for losing the youthful edge. Have you crossed the line?


BTW, anyone can comment. You don't even have to sign up for anything.

10 reader comments:

E. said...

My "old lady" hobbies: quilting, birdwatching, gardening. I also feel sort of like an old lady sometimes--a combination of my sit-down job and my post-baby physique. My first inclination when I see kids having raucous fun is to tell them to quiet down...but then, it's always been that.

ZSB said...

Yeah, you've definitely been helping to olden me up...

Val said...

I was born old. Look at my house, my clothes, and my hobbies. The thing that bothers me is that I now get very tired if I stay up past 11:00. In high school I made it on six hours of sleep every night! Not so much now.

Rachel said...

Loud noises drive me batty.

My joints sometimes ache in the morning.

I read the Wall Street Journal and listen to NPR.

And I see my parents getting older...that really makes me feel old.

JB said...

Special K? REALLY? I think you're older than me.

ZSB said...

To be fair, it's not *plain* Special K. It's the kind with the dried strawberries. Ya know, the kind marketed almost exclusively to women. So I guess I'm a gay old man.

E. said...

And it's not the real Kellog's brand; it's the generic Meijer brand, which makes you a cheap old gay man. :)

Anonymous said...

lol. I am twenty-six and just decided last year to leave my pharmacy tech job to pursue an fine arts drawing and history degree. monday through thursday i sit in freshmen classes and at least once a day i feel that old man creep into my mind. it could be when the "kids" say "Snap" (oh how i hate it, i want to scream). It could be mondays and wednesdays when one of my teachers is two years older than me. how about thursday when the people i have connected with "go out" and i say, "no no. I have homework that must get done..." myself perhaps even a year ago would have drugged myself thrown me in the trunk and taken me out! I am not to the point of having my own family yet so i do still enjoy the freedom that allows and yes if the work is done and the house is clean i make an attempt to go out... key word attempt. about cereal ... i make eggs and toast each morning with my coffee while in my "youth" i would forgo breakfast all together if i could just hit snooze three times!

Kris said...

I'm feeling old when the twenty year old in my class says to me after my presentation, "I can tell you have kids by how you talk to all of us." Well thank you for pointing out that I am old. At least I do have the few that tell me to pull out my i.d. because they don't believe that I am as old as I am. I think another reason I feel old is because I don't want to go to the movie theater anymore. I'd much rather sit at home and make popcorn there and wait for the movie to come out on dvd. I'm even too lazy to go to the rental store. It's netflix for me. Wow, I'm old and lazy. Boo hoo.

E. said...

Ah, just remembered another thing thanks to Kris's post: when I taught a college writing class last year I pulled out my phone to see what time it was and one of my 18-year-old students said, "I used to have that phone" as if it was a rotary phone. I felt very uncool (and soon got a newer, color flip phone with a camera--which still looks 'old' compared to the cool stuff they have out now, but at least it doesn't label me as quickly as an old person).