25 things about getting old that I wish I had known by 25

I turn 38 today. That?s just one too many to make a list as long as my age. Plus, I want to talk specifically about the house of mirrors that is aging. That?s a slightly smaller house than the house of mirrors that is life itself.

  1. You will get older. This seems obvious, but it never feels like it will happen. Learn this before it?s too late.
  2. You will realize you used to be an idiot. That may be a harsh way of putting it, but if you don?t think you were wrong x years ago, you?re missing out on growth.
  3. So, your priorities and concerns will change.
  4. Long-term planning is hard, because you don?t expect the future to happen, and you want something different now than what you?ll want in the future.
  5. Look back on what you used to think (journals are good for this), to help yourself imagine how you might change in the future. Plan accordingly.
  6. People you love will die. This is hard to grasp until it happens. Hopefully this happens with your pet turtle before your grandmother, and your grandmother before your father. It gives you a chance for this idea to really sink in so you can do something about it.
  7. Everyone will die. Look at a picture of a WWI platoon. Every single person in that picture is dead.
  8. So, you?ll die.
  9. Age is a number that?s a pretty good predictor of when you?ll die.
  10. Others will expect you to want certain things because of the age you are.
  11. But, if you?re at least trying to understand what you might want in the future, you?ll know whether they?re wrong or right.
  12. So, age really is just a number. (A number that?s a pretty good predictor of when you?ll die.)
  13. There is no reason to live the life others expect you to live. And expect, they will.
  14. Though sometimes they have a point. If they?re older, they might see better than you what it is you?re not thinking about.
  15. The more new experiences you fill your life with, the longer your life will seem.
  16. But people are afraid of new experiences.
  17. It scares others if you live outside of the template. They?re scared you?ll live their dreams before they do and that would feel awful for them.
  18. The longer you live, the deeper the ruts get.
  19. Ruts prevent new experiences, so they make your life seem shorter.
  20. So, you have to shake things up and go off-road once in awhile.
  21. You won?t feel older than people around you, until they say they?ve never seen an episode of Seinfeld. They weren?t even born. Seinfeld to them is like how you felt when an episode of M*A*S*H came on. I always changed the channel.
  22. While you don?t feel older than the young people around you, you seem really old to them.
  23. To the people older than you, you seem young and naive. Especially when you act like you?re old by making a list of advice at age 22 or 31 or 38.
  24. Except if you?re way smarter and wiser than they were when they were your age. That kind of makes them sad.
  25. People older than you are often handling your naivet diplomatically. You won?t realize it until years after the fact.
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