Today I found out that someone I know is so young that I’ve been blogging longer than they’ve been alive. I had no idea, and frankly, it gives me the willies.
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I don’t like being the age that I am now. Not becuase age has taken it out of me (people routinely imagine that I’m in my twenties) or because I’m embarrassed to be my age (I know stuff and I’ve done stuff, and that’s a useful defense against a great many accusations and assertions), but because socially it’s not a good age for me to be.
When I was a kid, I always felt more comfortable around people who were in their twenties and early thirties. Now that I’m in my forties, I’m still more comfortable around people who are in their twenties and early thirties.
Why? Because age seems to take the piss out of everyone else. I don’t like people my age. Here’s what I think of them:
- Are dour
- Have their values wrong
- Have forgotten how to care
- Are wrapped up in their own baggage
- Take life both too seriously and not seriously enough
- Spend their middle years on things that won’t matter in the end
- Talk about boring, boring “adult” stuff that I don’t care about
Note that with the last item, I don’t mean—say—politics or the price of fish in China. Those are interesting topics, actually, when done right. I mean they seem to talk about themselves, endlessly, but in ways that induce a coma almost instantly.
It’s all little day-to-day details and who did what and when and work politics and past experiences and blah, blah, blah.
Try—just try—to get a forty-something to talk about why the sky is blue or how rain smells or what they imagine for themselves at 80 years old, beyond the size of their house, car, and bank account.
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I suppose that’s it in the end. It feels as though everyone my own age has given up on the universe and settled into rank materialism. They have succumbed to the pressure to “grow up” and rendered themselves husks of the human beings that they once were. Capitalism’s fault? Who knows.
All I know is that “adults” are boring.
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None of this is meant to connote irresponsibility. In fact, I’m more responsible than most of them. I pay my bills. I’m rarely late for anything. I actually follow laws. Even the little ones. That’s more than I can say for most forty-somethings.
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I mean that people my age quite literally confuse responsibility with a kind of dull dourness. They imagine that you can declare bankruptcy, never be on time, speed, jaywalk, evade taxes, and shoplift, yet still be “mature” if you adopt a blasé, instrumentalist, cynical pose, gossip about co-workers a lot on weekdays, and to go the gym on weekdays and to the clubs on weekends.
Basically, they’re disgusting.
Sure, from time to time they finger-paint or climb a mountain or whatever, but there is a weird way in which they don’t do these experiences in a genuine way; it’s all for the story—for the social capital and the identity-building, not for the experience itself.
They might finger-paint on Saturday night with a bunch of other adults, and probably even do it drunk, but they don’t finger-paint. Not like a kid does. It’s not pure. It’s not imaginative. It’s not honest.
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I think that’s a core issue. Nearly everyone beyond their early thirties is a liar, to themselves most of all. I suppose they’ll all get cured roundabout retirement or something.
No doubt they’ll have more stuff than me in most cases.
There is something to that. I do wish, at times, that I had more stuff. Or more money. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade my own way of being in the world for theirs.
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That does bring up the question, however, of how it appears—and reflects on me—to be perpetually better at interacting with people half my age than I am at interacting with people my own age.
But it just has to be that way. When people my own age or shortly behind it start talking after hours, my eyes glaze over. Because they’re talking about nothing that matters in almost every case, but I am bound by social norms to pretend as though it does.
Nothing is more deadening than participating in those sorts of “conversations.”
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Seriously, just once I’d like to meet some people my own age who wonder why the sky is blue and who are willing to sit and reflect on that for four to six hours, and find it to be a moving experience—even if it means that they’re not getting yardwork done or missing an opportunity to earn more overtime so they can afford a better Bimmer.