People Tell Us About the First Time They Felt Old
When teens think you might rat them out for smoking weed, you are old.
Image Sources: Wikimedia / YouTube | Art. Noel Ransome
If you're looking for a quick way to depress yourself this weekend, you're in luck: Just open up Google and punch in "things that happened 20 years ago."
Yep. With just a few keystrokes, you can be reminded that "Backstreet's Back," "Song 2," and "Hypnotize" all turned 20 this year, or that "Hot in Here," The Royal Tenenbaums, and the first Harry Potter movie turned 15. You too can feel thoroughly ancient in the knowledge that "Back to Black" and There Will Be Blood are now ten years old, and that it's been two decades since Notorious B.I.G. was murdered, 17 years since Bush's first term, and 14 years since this happened.
Think of them as pre-senior moments: not quite on par with forgetting why you walked into a room or shitting yourself in a movie theater, but a quick and painful reminder that it's now been almost two decades since anyone uttered the word "Willennium."
The good news is, we're not alone.
In order to stave off your approaching existential dread, we've collected anecdotes from folks who feel just as elderly as you do. Our peers have dug deep to share their very first pre-senior moments, whether they be physical (things breaking or aching), psychological (Dear God, people born in 2000 are approaching legal drinking age), or simple realizations, like the fact that the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer now look like this.
Because while we may not look like older generations—with their stable incomes, reasonable tuition fees, and actual shot at home ownership—by God, do we ever feel like them.
"Last spring, I passed a group of teens smoking weed on a bench, and they attempted to hide it when they saw me. Most people know I smoke, and even two or three years ago, kids that age would have invited me into the circle. Now I'm clearly seen as an old man. Whatever. Like I'd smoke with them, or have anything to do with their bunk-ass herb."
"The first time I felt old was at a lesbian event. This woman was hitting on me hard, and I knew she was way too young for me. I finally said, 'You're sweet and attractive, but you're much too young.' She said 'No, I'm not.' Then I told her what year I was born. She looked horrified and said 'So was my mom.' Needless to say, she backed off."
"When some kids 'ma'amed' me in a hotel lobby in SoHo while trying to convince me to buy them booze at a nearby bodega. This was like five years ago, so I was still in my 20s."
"One morning, I woke up extremely hungover, with no memory of the night before, and I was startled to discover I couldn't move. My back had seized, and I had to yell for my roommate to help roll me out of bed. I was 24."
"Meeting a girl in a bar who, after running her hand along my abs, assured me she was 'actually a big fan of the dad bod.'"
"A day or two after my 30th birthday, I passed the mirror and suddenly realized my ass was a different shape, and I had laugh lines. It was like a switch went off after 30, because I'd never noticed either of those things before."
"When I was walking down the hallway at my work—which also happens to be my alma mater—and I saw kids pointing at grad photos and laughing at the old styles, I thought to myself, I remember doing that in high school. Then I got closer and realized they were looking at my grad class."
"A few years ago, I threw my back out while trying on shorts."
"Being identified as the 'slender, dark-haired, middle-aged lady' at work. Then being told it was meant as a compliment."
"I was teaching a college class and mentioned Corey Hart in reference to a student writing about sunglasses. Most of the class looked at me like I was speaking Latin. I asked them to raise a hand if they knew who Corey Hart was. Only two of them knew. This was a few years ago. Now I feel ancient."
"When my kids told me I was an adult."
"I threw my back out in the middle of downward dog and couldn't straighten out. I basically just toppled over onto the floor, wheezing because it hurt so much, and I couldn't figure out why. I was 22."
"When I became invisible to anyone under 35."
"When I realized that almost every athlete at the Olympics was younger than me. Also, when I had to explain who OJ Simpson and Tonya Harding are to a college kid."
"When I started considering that some dresses might be too short for me to wear. I still wear the short dresses, but a few years ago, I thought twice about it."
"I threw my back out bending down to get laundry out of the washer. I had to walk with a cane for a day or two."
"Making Simpsons references and having people—even people in their 20s—ask what I'm quoting. Am I so out of touch? No, it's the children who are wrong."
"I own a 1965 Mustang (same production year as me.) Back in 2002, a lovely woman in her mid 20s was admiring the car. She asked about the year, I told her. She asked if it was an antique, and I said 'yes.' Then she asked if I was the original owner."
"I woke up in a hurry, didn't stretch, and literally couldn't move my knee. It hurt so much, and I ended up on the ground in the fetal position wishing I was dead. At first I thought, Shit, I must have twisted my knee. Nope. I did nothing during that week that would involved any kind of knee activity. I'm 33 this year, and my knees will be 75."
"A few days ago, after IDing someone born in 1998, then giving them alcohol. Which led to the realization that in less than two years, people born in the year 2000 will be almost old enough to drink."
"Getting hurt and it never healing. Stepped on a rugby field five years ago for the first time since 1996 (literally). Missed a tackle, slipped, tweaked my medial ligament. Still hasn't healed. Also, the time I got told that I was hot... because she was 'totally into older guys.'"
"I went cliff-jumping with a 20-year-old and fractured my spine while the 20-year-old was fine. It was a pretty bad compression fracture. Some bone was sticking out toward my spinal cord, which caused some worry at first. I hobbled out of water and back to the car with the help of the other 20-year-old, and I was taken to the larger hospital in Sydney. I was then strapped to a spinal board. I had a back brace for about a month and a half and then restricted mobility for another month and a half. Again, the 20-year-old was totally fine. The worst part is, I was in better shape than they were, but apparently that didn't matter to my bones. This was two weeks after my 30th birthday. That's when I learned that our warranty expires after 29."