by Justin Crockett
How old are you? Does it matter? Personal biology is obviously one of the more subjective experiences, so of course it’s different for everyone. But there are some constants: what you eat, the shows you watch, the kind of sexytime you engage in, your shower rituals, all of these things are like your personal iOS, and they update (or the app becomes obsolete) as you progress through your days, months, and years.
I’m entering the atmosphere of 40, and as odd as that is to type, when combined with my autism-level desire to categorize things in chunks, it means I can try to sum up each level of life before the Wario of life’s Act 2 enters.
Birth – 16
You’re basically a superhero who doesn’t have to pay bills. Everything is the shit, everyone takes care of everything for you, including driving you places, putting clothes for you to wear in drawers for you, putting food in front of your face, and then you get to go outside for undefined periods of time. Roughly 60% of the way through this phase, boners and boobs become a thing. School is the perfect place to put all this anxiously awkward sexuality.
Life is awesome unless you’re born with a birth defect or your parents die or numerous other things.
16 – 25
School begins to tail off, unless you’re doing the college thing. With any luck, you’re flailing away on someone else’s willing genitals on the regular. You find out that this “work” thing you always noticed your parents doing is an inescapable peripheral black hole that you’ve been circling. The singularity inside it is money, so not all is lost.
You’re in peak physical form, or the closest that you’re going to get. Be aware of this because things change. On a related note, vehicles are probably on your radar now as well. Change the oil religiously, both in an automotive sense, and as a metaphor for your aforementioned body. Every Dorito or Tombstone pizza you devour alone will manifest itself in your inner workings in the life stages after this one.
Think of this era of life as leveling up in an RPG. Ignore it, and Sephiroth is going to literally wax the floor with your ass.
26 – 34
Hey, look at you! Did you get married?? She’s gorgeous! And what is that, a child? He/she is just adorable! Oh, was I forcing a smile while looking at all your shit that you’ve accomplished?
Hopefully you’ve found a career to go along with those traditional white suburban milestones. This is also when you start to notice your friends’ paths. Some will end up alone, some drink too much, some are forcing those smiles I mentioned earlier. Awareness seems to be the theme of this chunk of life. Comfort is always clawed towards, yet always 3 inches away. Little hairs are growing inside your ears, and they always tickle just a little, but they’re not long enough where you can shave them.
35 – 38
Every choice you’ve made up to this point of life is visible on your tummy and your lower eyelids. Sleep is currency. Every second you stay up past midnight equals different lengths of dick sliding in your nose first thing in the morning. Quiet car rides alone are nice. If you’re a parent, you begin to realize you’ve never known how much your parents love you until now, and you feel like an asshole for everything you’ve ever done (directly or indirectly) to their tummies and lower eyelids.
You’re also realizing things that hit you right in the ol’ sweet buttons. But you needed this amount of life experience to understand the gravity of it all. Like how cool it is to watch a newborn/infant/child get older, even if every step they take is one further away from you. Or to have a person next to you to face all this weird shit with. Or maybe you don’t need to be with anyone but yourself. The important thing at this stage seems to be acceptance. Acceptance of yourself, even as the mess that you are. Acceptance that you can’t change everything in the world with a broad stroke, so you (hopefully) take a few steps each day to not be a dick.