growing old

Here's What Growing Old Really Looks Like

Let's face it: we're not the kind of people who get engaged at 25 as the Daily Mail would have us believe.

by Joe Bish
May 21 2015, 2:09pm

All photos by Robert Foster.

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

You've got to give it to the Daily Mail, they're always looking out for us. They want us to have jobs, they want us to be healthy, they want us to know how we should look on the beach and at all those film premieres we go to. Now they're telling us, point blank, the exact age at which we should have achieved certain milestones in our lives. They're giving us the blueprint here and all they want in return are your clicks. Your life is a giant Lego Death Star ©, and Paul Dacre and the mandem are telling you which gray block goes where.

It's unfortunate, then, that their advice, presented in the form of an infographic compiled by Amigo Loans, is totally unrealistic. Amigo asked 2,000 people which particular lamestream rite of passage they were busy ticking off the bucket list at what age. The utopian vision of personal progression they've arrived at is something very few people will be able to buy into, especially as we watch our once green and beautifully pastured land swirl about in the toilet bowl of anguish before being pissed out of a pipe into a colossal fatberg of despair.

We appreciate the sentiment, Amigo, Daily Mail, but this is how it really goes down on the strip. This is the direction your life is really heading in. Take notes:

AGE 15
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing: FIRST KISS
What You're Really Doing:
This one isn't as unfeasible as some of the others, but it paints a very chaste picture of being 15. The first kiss as envisaged by the Amigo infographic team is akin to the kind of peck shared by two toddlers in the heart-warming section of You've Been Framed. In reality, it's a blitzkrieg of jostling tongues, a shocking and intimidating experience that you share with someone whose death you will most likely never hear about or mourn. It's also the original gateway to foreplay. It's that moment in life when your hands stop just being receptacles for Xbox controllers and Berol handwriting pens, and start becoming instruments of pleasure. That is, if you don't squeeze certain things too tightly, or jam them in too violently. It's a rocky road, but our inbuilt survival instincts see that we all get there in the end.

Related: Watch our film 'Young Reoffenders' about a gang of "lost boys" from Oxford trapped in a cycle of crime and self-abuse

AGE 19
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
It's been a full four years since your first kiss, supposedly, and finding a full-time job is now the most pressing thing on your mind.

But is it? Is it really? Or: do you actually want some crash-bang-wallop state-sponsored fun, right fucking now? Do you actually want Mr. Government to pay for you to go to a city, or a town, far, far away from your family, so that you can drink shots that are unconventional colors and throw up over every surface you can find? Who cares that you'll be unable to pay the loan back? Who cares that some loan officer will be exhuming your corpse to crowbar the fillings from your teeth? You're dancing on the table at Revolutions and you're having a great time. You already have a full-time job: being a cunt and getting fucked 24/7.

AGE 20
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
If you're a city dweller, your need for a car at that age is almost non-existent. If you're not a city dweller, your need for a car is extremely existent, and you'll most likely have a license as soon as you are old enough. Your folks pop you on the insurance and bang: Bowl-a-rama hasn't seen regular custom like this since 1997. But a lot of 20-year-olds are still finding their feet at one of the country's premier brain-feeding facilities. It's only one year on from 19, and those bottles of Hooch mixed with cigarette butts aren't going to drink themselves.

AGE 22
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
What the fuck is Amigo's obsession with cars? It's not compulsory to own a car. We have Zipcar now; we have evolved beyond the need to own cars.

When it comes to moving out, again, it's something you may have experienced already when leaving for college. But for those not at college, moving out at 22 in the age of zero-hours contracts and no housing benefit for the under-25s is a privilege reserved for those who thought their mom was a kindly Filipino woman until last year. Unless your folks are bastards and are moving your bed incrementally closer to the front door each night as a not-so-subtle hint for you to get the fuck out, then don't sweat it. Their 17 vacations a year can wait a little longer.

AGE 23
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
It's optimistic but also very naïve of Amigo to assume that a 23-year-old would be in any way prepared to be a best man at anyone's wedding. Bridesmaids, sure: 23-year-old women are in their prime, they're beautiful and responsible, but 23-year-old men, emerging like an alien chest-burster from the ribcage of an exhausting second puberty, are not. What kind of dog shit best man's speech will a timid 23-year-old fart out? What on earth would they have to offer on the pathos of life and love? They've only just discovered there's more than one form of contraception, and neither of those are "just pull out."

AGE 25
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
I'm convinced that this survey was conducted using people exclusively from the Why Aren't Things Like They Were In The 1970s Forum (or Momsnet to give it its proper title). My parents got married when they were my age, but everyone was a little cooler back then, they knew what they wanted. Nowadays, HBO TV vehicles have made us think we're better than that. It's sewn the seeds of petulance in our brains and now we think the freedom to drown ourselves in 2-4-1 strawberry daiquiris once a week is an ample replacement for stability, love, and longevity.

The age of 25 rings in the fabled quarter-life crisis, i.e. still being relatively young but getting pretentiously concerned about the impact you've had on the world thus far and where you're going in life. It's the sort of thing that a steel worker in the 1920s would punch you in the face for even suggesting exists, leaving a big sooty fist mark on your moisturized millennial cheek. At this point you've probably got a job that you don't think pays enough, but you're quietly getting on with it, and seething, like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Only difference is you won't go on a killing spree because you're more interesting in trying out that new bahn mí place than exacting change in your sad little life.

AGE 28
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
The sense of fear has finally become too much to bear. You started a relationship with someone you never really liked because you were terrified of the impending loneliness and now things are stagnant enough for the baby talk to begin. It's time to shit or get off the potty. Popular culture has taught you that you should be settled by now, that you're a living anomaly, a brewing zit that should have been popped long ago. You're in the government's manifesto as an example of something that needs to change. You are the physical personification of the feeling of being lost in a forest. The dark trees are closing in, the foliage is obscuring the sun and things are starting to get cold.

AGE 29
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
You're a year into your fallacy of a relationship and though you have managed to not have a baby, it has become quietly agonizing. The differences between you gong louder in your ears every day, yet you cannot drag yourself away. What is the alternative? Return to a life of jejune hedonism? No, you're too old for that now. You have to eat different things now. You're still smoking, though. Why can't you smoke a salad? At this point, the prospect of buying a house is about as alien as buying a custom-built island in Dubai that's the same shape as your dick. You wonder if you'll ever have enough money for such a purchase, or if any bank will ever trust you again after applying for a sixteenth overdraft. But hey, at least you're starting to find some gray hairs.

AGE 31
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
Who at Amigo keeps trying to force this baby agenda? The sight of any and all children sends a shiver down your spine. They are tiny dribbling reminders of your own hastening mortality. You are in no position to teach another being about life, as you yourself are unsure of its full permutations. You are 31, smoking outside on a bar patio with your friends, who're all also 31, and you're wondering when it's all going to change. And when it does, are they coming with you?

AGE 36
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
Second house? Lolol, fuck off. But in some ways, things are looking up. Through sheer tyranny of will you have managed to sort your life out. It is not nearly as enjoyable as it once was, but you're at peace with that, because what is a life of constant enjoyment? Where is the time to think in such an existence? You start becoming at one with your own company. You like sitting in Sbarro by yourself. You're not concerned with the fact that everyone is looking at you with tremendous pity, because you have a slice of pepperoni and some garlic knots and a Peroni, and you don't give a fuck. You've sacked off the long-term relationship and now you're dating someone you like, and it's easy, because you're both just quite tired. Neither of you have the energy for a tumultuous and exciting journey of love. This isn't a Richard Curtis film, there are no bust ups in the rain and reconciliations in the snow, just a calm sense of enjoyment and routine flooding over you, a tidal wave of near tranquillity.

Alternatively, of course, you could just be a street alcoholic.

AGE 39
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
By now you do actually have some children, and they provide a sense of comfort for you. For the mothers, a yearning for total and unconditional love has been achieved. For the fathers, a final project that some sense of pride can be eked from. There's a light at the end of that tunnel, though. There's a sense of freedom that comes with a lack of expectation. All you have to do is make sure your children are all right and don't go a bit "We Need To Talk About Kevin." You sit in your small garden and watch your sprogs on the trampoline, a gin and tonic—plastic cup—in hand, and you finally allow a smile to creep across your face.

(Amigo hasn't got a guideline for the ages of 40-59, but to be honest, if you haven't worked it out by now you're in a lot of trouble.)

AGE 60
What Amigo Thinks You're Doing:
What You're Really Doing:
Now you see your own children experiencing the discontent of a western lifestyle and it pleases you to know that you have a kindred spirit in them. If only they were around when you were their age, you'd be the best of friends. Being 60 is great, you can have creepy Facebook profile pictures and people think it's totally normal. A photo of a bizarre old-timey marionette from a postwar kid's show, or a weird selfie taken from under the chin, unsmiling, like the sepia photos of American frontiersmen. Maybe you're a cool 60-year-old; being cool in the post office, being cool in the Barnes & Noble, being cool in the Starbucks. Kindly, glassy eyed, sweet. Now is your time to shine, grab it with both hands before your arteries pack in and your feet stop working.

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