My writing has taken a more personalized turn lately, and I apologize if this seems out of place on a website devoted to socially relevant issues. Actually, no, I don’t apologize at all. Would you rather I shoot my mouth off about stuff I’m unqualified to talk about or regurgitate what I’ve read in other articles you could just as easily seek out for yourself? You’re going to have to trust me when I say that there’s a method to my madness. Or is there…?
This week’s topic: age. A recent realization hit me so hard that I haven’t been the same since. It occurred to me that I turn 27 in just 2 months (i.e., please send me lots of vegan junk food on June 9th, wink wink, nudge nudge).
I know it’s kind of a random time for me to suddenly feel the walls of old age closing in with the force of a vice grip, and the resulting anxiety is irrational, but I don’t care. As time drags me kicking and screaming closer and closer to the 30-mark, the pressure piles up. Isn’t this the time when I’m supposed to cross those big mile-markers, “get it together,” whatever you wanna call it? I’m nowhere near the point of financial security, starting a family, or any of the other rites of passage by which “adulthood” is gauged.
And of course, neither are many of my peers. A big fuss has been raised about how people my age have been postponing the growing-up process. I checked out several articles about my generation’s lag factor hoping to find something to base an argument around, but all I found was boredom. Duh, “28 is the new 18,” yeah sure whatev, any of my friends who took 8 years to get a 4-year degree, changed their major 5 times, make twice as much money as me and still sponge off of their parents because they believe something better is waiting for them could tell you that. WHO CARES.
The only thing I’m puzzled by is: why does it matter? Why are we still measuring age this way? If the traditional trajectory is letting so many people down, why does our society still cling to it? Mine isn’t the only generation to feel constricted by it; we’re just the only one calling it out (sorry hippies, most of you went on to become yuppies or acid casualties. Disqualified!). As those articles love to point out, one big cause for The Lag is that we’ve seen so many of our elders succumb to the soul-sucking ennui that is the inevitable punishment for doing something because “that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
I’m going to be bold here and suggest that that ennui is the cause of everything that’s wrong with humanity. If people weren’t unhappy with their lives, there wouldn’t be anything for them to take out on each other. Period.
Obviously, the trajectory is there to keep society running like clockwork, and without it everything we depend on would unravel. It’s logical. But is it worth it? The older I get, the more I’d rather we just let it die and make room for something new.
So much for maturity.
Peter Pan image courtesy of FanPop.com