Monday, February 23, 2009

One year older and wiser, too

Recently I turned 27 and it made me angry. And not just annoyed or irritated. I was livid. I was hostile. People were wishing me happy birthday, but I was ready to punch somebody.

Why? First, I’m not sure what I have to show for my 27 years of life. I’m 27, but I’m still in college and still live in a crappy apartment and still have weird and often creepy roommates. I have a cool but low-paying job and don’t have health insurance and live paycheck to paycheck. It feels like I should’ve accomplished so much more by now. Sometimes I remember being 18 and I’m pretty sure that at age 18 I never imagined my 27-year-old self being single, eating ramen noodles and still in college. I think my 18-year-old self would be severely disappointed in my 27-year-old self.

Second, I’m afraid all of my good times are behind me. I’m about to graduate college, which means I get to start working for the rest of my life. I even tried put off the real world for a few years by going to graduate school, but the real world still caught up with me.

Third, I’m afraid of looking old. Call me vain all you want, but don’t kid yourself. Nobody wants to look old. I found my first gray hair on the eve of my 25th birthday, although I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time. I just yanked it out and that was that. I thought it was over, but pretty soon a few of that gray hair’s friends came looking for it. Then the other day a person asked me if I had kids. Do I look old enough to have kids? I hope not. I’m not old enough to have kids. I’m still a child myself, ask anyone. Just because all my friends are reproducing like rabbits (or some other mammal/insect/crustacean that reproduces a lot) doesn’t mean I’m going to. Maybe I just look old, although the other day someone asked me if I was over 21 and I could’ve kissed her.

But there definitely are some advantages to getting older. Getting older has it’s drawbacks, sure, but I am definitely wiser for it. I see my friends a couple of years younger than I am making all sorts of stupid mistakes and saying all sorts of stupid things and I just kick back and pretend like I never did or said anything like that.

27-year-old Jesse has just learned a lot over the years and has become a 100 percent cooler guy. I remember 21-year-old Jesse and think, “I wouldn’t even want to be around that dude.” And I don’t even want to talk about 19-year-old Jesse.

The best part of getting older is I am through being cool. I am who I am, and suckers better just deal with it. Each year I care less and less about what other people think. It is a good feeling.

And sometimes people younger than me have even come to me for advice! Advice! From me! I just say, “Well, when I was your age I just…” and make some crap up, and sometimes throw in a quote from Abraham Lincoln or Shakespeare for good measure. When it first started I would laugh and laugh, but then I realized that people I have asked for advice growing up probably did the same thing to me.

I guess that is the essence of growing up: getting good at faking it.