I was out to coffee the other day with a female friend of mine and we began a very highbrow conversation about what else… hangovers. This led to the great insight, what Oprah would call the “Aha!” moment, the revelation that we (age 26 and age 27) are on the wrong side of 25! We are on the downward slope, the slow descent that lasts, well… a lifetime. How did I get from point A to point B you ask? Maybe you didn’t ask, but you should have because I purposely left the transition unclear, mainly for this moment. Below is your guide to finding out what it means to be on the wrong side of 25 and how your life will change forever!
The 3 Day Hangover: When I was in college I could consume 10+ alcoholic beverages which came in all shapes, colors, proofs and sizes. I’m talking ice luge Goldschlager, 151 shots, 99 apples, jungle juice a.k.a grain, vodka lemonades and late night beer pong…all in one night. I would then eat a little brunch the next day and be good to go by my 4 pm run. Now, on the wrong side of 25, I’m hung-over after two beers! Oh, and just forget about mixing alcohol… clear your schedule because you are worthless for the next three days. That’s right – as adults we walk in on Monday morning and say things like, “Sorry guys, still feeling that glass of wine I had on Friday… rough weekend”. So not cool.
Extreme Home Makeover: On the wrong side of 25 conversations about furniture, decorating, kitchen appliances, Home Depot and Crate & Barrel enter your vernacular more frequently. Remember in “Old School” how funny it was when Will Ferrell made fun of Bed, Bath & Beyond… yeah, now that’s us. In fact, I’m there right now.
Different Box: You know on surveys how you check an age box… on the wrong side of 25 you now have to check the OTHER box. You are no longer in the 18-25 category, no, you are now 26-34… you are grouped in with mid-thirties, which is right next to being 40 which is a hop, skip and a jump away from 55+ retirement community. Your opinion is no longer considered young and hip, advertisers are no longer marketing towards you, and Twilight no longer seems relevant. Oh god! What is happening! Team Edward Forever!
Are You Married? In your early 20’s people expect you to be single. When they ask you if you are married you reply by saying, “No, just lovin’ being single” they smile, maybe high-five you, give you a pound and go about their day happy to see you so happy. After 25, people ask you if you’re married and when you say no they give you the pity look. “Oh, well are you seeing anyone at least?” When the answer to that question is also a big, fat “No” you get the disgusted look, as in “What the hell is wrong with you?” You know you’re on the wrong side of 25 when the “Are you still single?” question becomes the, “You’re clearly a crazy person” statement.
Interviews Over Wine: Not job interviews. No. The other kind…the DATE kind. Once you past 25 you enter the zone of marriage. In other words it is now perfectly acceptable for you to have a wedding, be married, pop out some kids and hide away in suburbia re-surfacing only for holidays and other people’s weddings. Dates are now interviews. Why? Because every person you go on a date with is a candidate for marriage or life partnership. You are no longer deciding if they are just “cute or not” but are now judging what job they have, what is their credit score, are they paternal, where do they live, are they a serial killer? You get the idea… now it’s about planning a life… not just a weekend. Which blows, because dating sucks as it is without the added pressure of “Where is this going?” before the first bottle has been popped!
Lady Who? The radio no longer makes sense and every song you hear feels like a new release or sounds like the one you just heard. The truth is in college music was free (kind of) and we all downloaded thousands of songs. We have iPods and when we don’t we have Pandora which we set to our preferences. So in reality we still listen to music from 5 or 10 years ago… thus making “What are the kids listening to these days?” an actual question.
401 K: Yes, your 420 funds have now been replaced with the 401K. Which is code for “I have a job and I am planning for my future”. Once you hit the late twenties its time to be in a career…with health insurance…with a 401K. I have none of these things. But after 25 everyone is now ending grad school, law students are now lawyers, med students are now doctors (almost… that shit takes forever), and those who started on a corporate ladder are in mid-climb. This is where you should be too – and that means you should be an adult. You should do adult things like plan for retirement, have a savings account and stop playing beer pong on Tuesday nights. Wow – depressing much?
You see, when I was in high school I imagined myself in my late twenties with a house, a career and holding a briefcase of some kind. I had no idea what was in the briefcase but I felt like I would have one. I would wear grey suits, have a lot of papers sitting on a desk regarding important things and be an overall put together person. This is because the twenties were to build my foundation for my thirties, which I imagined as a husband, kids, a dog and maybe even a tree house of some sort. However, all of those things seem light years away… literally… like only when we invent time travel will I get married. Kidding. Anyway – I am now on the wrong side of 25… more is expected of me, the future gets closer and closer each day but the one thing that gets me through it, despite being on this so-called “wrong side” is that I am at least on the right side of 30. Take that adults!
I’m joking – here are my real words of wisdom: we get older, our bodies hurt more, we can’t see as well and we will never be “cool” again but no matter what age you are I think to some degree everyone still feels like a kid – we never really left 16 and the day we lose the optimism, the hope, the idealism and the laughter in small moments is that day we truly get old.