How You Know You're Getting Old

By Cassidy Camp on September 27, 2017

It was my 20th birthday… the big 2-0. I got an email from the campus UPS store saying that a package was delivered for me! That little-kid excitement bubbled up inside me like it did when my parents would offer to get us ice cream or when they “had a surprise for me.” I did a sort of skip-walk to the UPS store wondering what my rad birthday present would be this year. I had been so busy with school that I hadn’t had much time to think about what I might’ve wanted for the birthday that marked the beginning of my one-year limbo between teenager and adulthood, so this gift was going to be a complete surprise.  I ran home and up the 7 flights of stairs to my studio dorm and started to tear open packaging. My mom always over-packs everything that she ships, so out came a gift bag and a card in a flurry of packing peanuts and colored paper. I read the card first because I always feel guilty if I don’t, and then I finally got to the bag. I reached in, felt two flat small boxes and yanked them out. HOLY COW NO WAY!!! My mom got me Crest teeth whitening strips… and I was actually ecstatic.

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That was the moment I knew I was getting old. I think that a lot of people have the same realization when they get a gift that they would’ve hated at 16, but love now… something like really comfortable socks or a slow cooker.  That’s it, it’s all down hill from here! It’s because as we get older we realize that everything we just owned by default as kids costs money, even those socks we hated getting at Christmas. Light bulb burns out? You don’t get to go to the cabinet where they always magically appeared before. Out of laundry detergent? You can’t run a load until you can get to the store again. Need new undies? Value pack at Walmart, baby! When someone buys us something useful as an adult, we just think “sweet, now I don’t have to buy it!” I recently got excited when my boyfriend and I decided to split the cost of bulk toilet paper so we could get more for less. Who gets excited about toilet paper?! Old people, that’s who.

Another good way to tell that you’re getting old is if you’re starting to get excited about having a “real” 9-5 job. If you asked me at 16, I would’ve said “screw the system, I want to be my own boss or just travel and sing for tips!” Now as a 21 year old full-time student and part-time intern, I can’t wait to have a steady job with weekends off, vacation time and benefits. Get off of work and just chill for the rest of the night until I want to sleep? Count me in! Who the heck wants to work the same job for 40 hours a week? Old people, aka me.

I think the thing that sealed the deal and I knew I was getting old was that I get excited about boring stuff. For example, I freaking love having a freshly vacuumed carpet because it’s fluffy and the light/dark pattern the vacuum makes it so satisfying to me. Sometimes I’ll even vacuum the carpet to get out of doing something I don’t want to do! I also get excited for nights in with my boyfriend where we play cards. That’s not a euphemism either, we actually play gin rummy a lot more than I like to admit. I also love planning to do a puzzle with someone. These are activities I legitimately used to do with my grandparents. I’m 21 years old and I’m already just like my grandma!

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The best thing about realizing that you’re old and boring is that you get to watch your “crazy” friends get old with you. You start to trade happy hour for watching Netflix together and club parties for “get-togethers” where you drink the same amount but you do it in your PJ’s. We get to ask for lame gifts from our friends, like a nice suitcase for traveling or a gift card to a clothing store that carries clothes you can wear to work. We start to settle into our adult lives, and things don’t seem so scary anymore. We may still have no idea what we’re doing, but we start to see that nobody else does either. So be old! Yell at those kids to get off your lawn! That’s what adulthood is all about, right?

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