One way or another, time comes for us all – our bodies start to ache more, the alcohol hits a little harder than it should – and we all must face our own mortality. I’ve known this ever since I watched Sally Field go from playing Tom Hanks’ love interest to his mother in six short years, but I didn’t realize time would come for me so soon.
It was a normal Tuesday morning – I was just nonchalantly taking an online survey to get $5 off my next Chipotle burrito when the seemingly innocent question popped up: “Please select your age group”. Obviously, I immediately went for the youngest age range, 18-24. But mid-tap, I paused. Just weeks after turning 25, I realized I was no longer in the coveted youthful demographic. I had aged out, into the horrifying, middle-aged 25-34 category like some dusty millennial.
My world fell out from under me.
Like a French New Wave film, my life turned into a tragic series of black-and-white vignettes. On the train ride home, a teenager offered his seat to me because I “looked like I needed it”. In the elevator, my neighbor’s kid asked if “I ever saw the Spice Girls in concert.” And perhaps the worst of all, when I went to grab a drink with my other aging friends, the bartender had the nerve to not even card me!
Even my TikTok algorithm seemed to sense my geriatric shift, my For You page cruelly littered with back pain tutorials and information on “estate planning”.
But as my fellow wise elder always preached, I had to improvise, adapt, and overcome. And that meant coming to terms with that cold, hard truth that SurveyMonkey laid in front of me.
Life on the other side has been an adjustment, but not without its perks. I can no longer relate to Euphoria, but Grace and Frankie has new meaning to me. Gen Z slang feels foreign coming out of my mouth now, but I can now shake my fist and yell “You whippersnapper!” when a kid rushes by me on a skateboard. And soon, I’ll be able to use the senior citizen discount at Applebee’s!
My youth may be over, but that’s just part of the cycle of life. Every year, more and more people age out of the 18-24 bracket, but that does not mean we are any less valuable to society. Look at Camila Morrone, gracefully aging into her twilight years. I will not be defined by an age range, I am still young on the inside – I just have to stop taking surveys!