Last sunday I was sitting around with a bunch of teens from our church and discussing a million things at a million miles an hour. It’s entertaining but challenging to keep up with the randomness that engulfs the adolecent mind. It keeps you on your toes… keeps you active… keeps you aware of just how fast they can process random things and how difficult it is for them to stay on any one topic for too long.
During our discussions, one of them raised a question,
When did you become the “old guy”?
Awesome… First of all, I’m only 33. This is not what anyone would classify as “old”, second of all – I still listen to popular music, I’m on top of most to all of the trends (even if I do think some of them are stupid), and I know WAY more about the world then you do… SO GET OFF MY LAWN!!
Oh my god… I have become the old guy.
To be fair to the teen who asked me this question, I was graduating high school when he was born. I could legally smoke, drive a car, vote, and move out on my own when his poor mother was pushing him out of the womb. In perspective of his life… I’m “old”.
I think there’s a distinction between “old” as it pertains to being an adult and “old” as in, you’re over the age of 70 and your body is falling apart. I know the question was more geared towards the former and it got me thinking about when I did finally start feeling like an adult. That I will give him… I do feel like an adult now. Was it when I started my career? No… I started my career at 20 and I definitely wasn’t an adult then. Was it when I got married? No, we were just two kids married to each other at 24. Was it when I had my first child? No… I had no idea what I was doing and still felt like a kid with WAY too much responsibility. Then I figured it out…
I started feeling like an adult when the most trivial of actions had ridiculous sized consquences.
Here’s the deal – I can’t get away with anything right now. I have to watch every single action or word that comes out of my mouth because everyone will jump down my throat and punish me as hard as they can. I, by default, am a horrible person that is out to steal your wife, your money, your kids, and ruin your life.
I became old when one false step meant my life was ruined. There is no forgiveness when you’re an adult male. One wrong word and you’re fired from your job or thrown into jail. There is this bell curve of how much people scrutinize your life and it really spikes at 30.
When you’re a child you can get away with so much because you’re still learning how to be an adult and when you pass by a certain older age, people just think you’re going senile and reverting to a child like state.
The other day I was talking to a teller at the bank and was being generally nice to her as I am with most humans, when this 75-ish year old guy comes in and just blurts out, “well since you’re flirting with that one, I’m going to try my luck with this cutie” as he walked up to the other female teller. And everyone there giggled. See? He can get away with that because he’s old. But if the roles were reveresed I could very possibly have a sexual assault case throw at me. One word = life ruined.
So I guess the answer is “30”. Right at 30 is when I became an old man adult because I have to be ever so careful in what I say or do. I hate being in this “bump” in the graph. Always feeling like I’m being judged and having to justify my actions stinks.
I can’t wait till i’m 80 and can cat call from my front porch when a 20 something walks by and she’ll look up and smile because it’s “so adorable”.