I don't know how old you are. I don't care, is the thing, because once you hit 25 you absolutely stop caring about the age, names, and personal details of people around you—they're all just sort of sacks of meat bouncing through a beige landscape and occasionally having sex or buying things. In August, I hit that milestone. Even though I still have a childlike face and body that will allow me to order off the kid's menu forever, I started to feel a change inside. Someone said "on fleek" to me and I didn't even bother to find out what it meant. I went to McDonald's at the end of a night out and thought, Actually, no, and then went home and instead had a single carrot. I started a savings account. Young me—rebellious me, with no responsibility outside of a job transcribing phone calls—young me is absolutely gutted at this development. Old me—that is to say, the new me—could not give less of a shit.
Sometimes, when twilight is descending, I go find a bench by the sea and watch the young people peacock up and down the promenade. It's then that I think back fondly to the things that 20-year-old me used to do—sorting Skittles by color, then dropping them into six bottles of vodka, and later dropping a perfect rainbow of vomit into and around the toilet at my mom's house; really enjoying Christopher Nolan's Batman movies and telling people how much I enjoyed them; reading a book and thinking it was important. And then I think: What an awful, awful garbage person I was. No one wants to hear my thoughts on Slaughterhouse Five, and they never did in the first place. Fuck!
In-depth analysis from our SEO guy tells me most VICE readers are either 25 or approaching 25 and, as such, are in dire need of guidance. Consider me your wise old sage. Because I've been there: Hitting 25 is the first true reminder that life is finite and you are dying by the second (fun!!!). And because of this, it's a good age to open your eyes, clear your head, and stop doing things you are too fucking old for anymore. Here they are:
1) Doing Drugs to Impress People
Any time I've ever done cocaine, I just want to call my parents. Once, while smoking weed, I watched as one of my friends very slowly pissed herself. Is that what drugs are supposed to do? Either way, it's not for me. Not anymore.
If your thing is getting fingered in a cab by a dude with coke on his hands, then please, by all means, go and do that right now. I'll even hail one for you. But when you hit 25 I think you know whether you actually like doing drugs—with all the requisite waiting around for a drug dealer and the furtive toilet visits and all the times you are expected to rip your shirt open to the naval like that famous soccer lady and shout "I LOVE DOING DRUGS"—or whether you are just doing them because the cool kids do them. We were shown boring videos about peer pressure in high school, and for fuck's sake, they ended up being right. There's no point doing drugs after 25 unless you're in it to win it, so unless you're a full-blown addict, it might do you good to stop now. (It might also be a good idea if you are a full-blown addict.)
2) Being ID'd
It's really fun being ID'd when you are young and actually have ID, because there is something glorious about the face people pull when they are counting backward and trying to figure out your age from your year of birth. But then when you are ID'd twice in the same night by the same fucking bartender and you are 25 years old, it becomes more tedious. Also, I'm way too good at ordering from a bar to actually be the age I look, which is 14. Also also, if I were 14 and trying to get
drunk I wouldn't be asking you about the of Fernet, or ordering a $20 Old Fashioned. Especially not by myself. :(
3) Eating Bread with Wild Abandon
The days of me eating an entire baguette with some brie and then fitting into my jeans the next day are over.
4) Trying to Understand Young People with Their Young-People Music
I will give $100 to the first person who can sit me down and convincingly explain how Nick Jonas is considered talented and likable or how can decipher anything Ariana Grande is saying ever.
Related: "The Bros of Fracking"
5) Drinking Four Loko or a Jägergrenade
A Jägergrenade is a special kind of Jägerbomb that somehow incorporates a shot of tequila into the mix. A sidewalk slammer is when you drink a bottle of OE down to the label, fill the rest with Four Loko, and wake up on a stranger's lawn covered in mysterious contusions without your wallet or phone. When you're 25 and not a crust punk, you can get away that kind of shit maybe, maybe, once a year—at most. Ration wisely.
6) Panicking at an ATM
When you are poor, the cash machine is kind of like the Wizard of Oz, as in you treat it like there's a tiny person inside who decides to either gift you with money or make you look like a fucking idiot. The worst one is when you put your details in and ask him for $10 and the little dude whirrs and clicks and your stomach rises and your heart beats in your throat and then he goes, "Sorry, this machine can only dispense twenty-dollar bills." And then you have to walk away in shame because you only have 15 bucks in your account. When you get to 25 you are so over this guessing game that it's not even funny. Fuck ATMs, and fuck banks. Fuck that tiny cash-machine troll who loves to deny you the ability to go see a movie or eat a decent meal. But also—crucially—fuck having to pay for a pack of Ramen noodles with a mug full of dimes. Basically, by the time you're 25, you should just take a few minutes to figure out how to manage your dough.
7) Experimenting with a Haircut
If you've got to 25 and you haven't got every fringe or dye job or shaved patch hair mistake out of your system yet, then you've been doing hair wrong for a solid quarter century. Stop trying to stay current. Anything that requires more than two products or curling implements is an needless complication at your age. When you go to the hairdresser's, ask for a short back and sides for boys or "a bit off the ends, but not too much off the ends," for girls. That's it. That's your haircut forever now. Enjoy it.
8) Talking to Anyone Under the Age of 22
I know there's that thing about the youngest people you can viably have sex with being half your age plus seven, but I don't know what I would say to a 19.5-year-old girl beyond, like, "Hey, has anyone ever tried to explain floppy disks to you?" Most of my conversations are basically just loudly referencing shit that happened when I was around that age, which means the girl in question would have practically been a zygote. Consider this my resignation from talking to anyone born after 1994.
9) Engaging in Small Talk
Sometimes I get introduced to people and I say, "Oh, nice to meet you," and they say, "Uhhh, we've met before." That's when you decide to never speak to that person again, if you can help it. Think about it: If they were that good at small talk, you would have remembered them. You only drink sidewalk slammers once a year these days, after all, so that shit isn't on you. At this point, the unmemorable person will start yammering on about some boring-as-fuck PR job. Slowly back away while suggesting that they become interesting in the future.
10) Taking Convoluted Subway Rides
I never actually watched Sex and the City, but I'm pretty sure that lady took cabs, like, all the time. And how?! Her job was to literally write once a week about the people's whose dicks had been inside her. I have a real job (sorta), and I write several articles per day. Suck on that, Bradshaw. But anyway, if Hopstop is telling me I have to travel to basically Midwood in order to catch a train that'll ultimately take me less than a mile west of my starting point, I'm just getting in a car. If fictional sex lady can afford it, so can I.
11) Shopping at the Mall
I don't think my body is physically strong enough, in my increasing old age, to permeate the cologne barrier surrounding a store like Hollister anyway. Everything in Forever 21 is basically made of tissue paper meant to disintegrate immediately after purchase. Their blouses are like the ghosts in _Field of Dreams_unable to physically exist after crossing a certain physical boundary, which, in this case, means the entrance to the mall. Stop buying shitty clothes.
12) Having Terrible Friends
If we go for a drink and I have to basically interview you to make conversation, I'm not having fun. When you invite me to a Facebook event that doesn't even occur for six more weeks, I think you're an idiot. If you say, "We should hang out more" but don't suggest a time or a place for us to hang out, you're not even trying. (We also probably hate each other.) I have difficulty enough managing the three friends I already have, and I don't have time to add more anyway.
13) Bad One-Night Stands
Pretending to care about people's jobs in PR is the absolute definition of hell. Pretending to care long enough to seduce them, accompany them on a 15-minute cab ride, navigate their tiny, dark apartment, knock a lamp over, and awkwardly fuck them? That's a Herculean task. And oh, by the way, for all that effort there's a 99.9 percent chance it's going to be terrible. If you find someone who doesn't work in PR and you don't hate fucking, hang on for dear life and never let go. (But don't get married or anything. Ew.)
14) Spring Break
If you're 25 or older and this idea seems appealing, I can't help you.
15) The Bitter, Bitter End of a Night Out
Next time it hits 3 AM and you run out of ideas and someone asks, "Where next?" experiment with saying, "Let's go to our separate homes and sleep." Nothing good has ever come out of trekking through the snow to the only bar anyone can think of that might possibly be open. What do you expect's gonna happen when you get inside—that your shitty, drug-thirsty friends are suddenly going to get more pleasant rather than desperate and sad? Stop deluding yourself.
When you get to be 25 and realize the solution is literally just "drink a glass of water" and maybe "eat a banana," you feel really, really dumb.
17) Waiting in Line
Call your parents right now and thank them for taking you to Disney World as a kid. Once you're aware of your own mortality, waiting in line to ride some spinning tea cups is basically impossible. Your mom loves the shit out of you.
18) Kissing Bartenders' Asses
I am sick of acting like the person handing me a drink is doing me some huge favor. I'm not your friend: This is a business transaction, and I'm not some 21-year-old who's not gonna tip you. Also, your job is to pour liquid into dirty cups, occasionally pick those cups up when I am done with them, and sometimes drop the cups in a stack on the floor. You're not Jesus, all right? You're a dude who wears a bottle opener attachment on his belt. PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY.
19) Not Having the Heating On
Wearing every sweater you own at once is not the adult option.
Photo via Flickr Nathan Rupert
I went to Bonnaroo once when I was 20 and didn't have fun. That said, there's no way I would have fun now. The best thing that happened to me was taking acid when Phish started playing, falling asleep, and waking up to the same song being played 12 hours later. That band sucks, but like, I didn't know time had passed and thought I was lost in a guitar solo! After that? The second-best thing was using the portable toilets on the first day, before the area surrounding them became an impenetrable moat of human shit. That was literally the second-best thing that happened during the entire festival.
21) Utilizing Presents from Cheap Relatives
Everyone has the one family member who, every year, gifts a box set of sickly-sweet smelling items—usually a lotion, a "bath gel" (IDK what that really is), and some sort of body wash. In your early 20s, the trick was to save them up and, once you ran out of normal products, coast off the gifts for a good month stretch. Your grandma/aunt/whoever was cheap for giving you such a shitty present, but you're even cheaper if you're willing to be covered in glitter and smell like a goddamn pineapple for a month to save $4.
22) Reading Blogs
Except this one?
23) Pregnancy Scares
If I have to listen to another friend cry about how she might be pregnant, I'm going to kill myself. I don't know, maybe you should stop being mad at your dad and therefore fucking random ecstasy dealers you meet at bars, so we don't have to go through this for yet another month in a row? Condoms are free absolutely everywhere in this city, so I don't get what's happening with this. Get your shit together, though—we're 25.
24) Any Text Message Longer Than 200 Characters
This obviously doesn't count for lesbians, but for straight people it's like come on. You guys can do p-in-v stuff! Fingering your girlfriend when you have a dick is basically really rude. It's the equivalent of loudly complaining about how boooring it is to play basketball when you're standing right next to a kid in a wheelchair. I hate you.