The 5 Best Things About Getting Older
Nobody likes getting older, and for understandable reason. One day or one year closer to everyone’s greatest fear, one less hair and one more wrinkle towards compromising our primary bait for human connection, and why are we suddenly always so cold and tired?
The cliché consolation: “Consider the alternative,” is not usually consoling at all, as it’s like saying: “Don’t worry. At least it’s better than the worst thing in the world.” Of course we have no choice but to carry on, but we don’t have to like it, and most of us most of the time are guilty of focusing more on the negatives of aging and the accompanying challenges it brings.
However, as I get older I realize more and more that it has its perks; some positives and pro’s that if paid attention to and properly played may produce a person who might discover perpetually more peace and pleasure than pain in old age.
1. Smart is cool. Remember when you were embarrassed to get an A on yet another test in class, quickly stuffing the paper into your folder before the “cool” shit-for-brains next to you, who for some inexplicable reason held all of your self-worth in his opinion, noticed? Well, somewhere between undergrad and 30 the tide turns, and that guy can’t any longer hold your self-worth, because his hands are full carrying cups for people to drop change into. Also, now there are beautiful girls who want to fuck you strictly because of that same aptitude that earned those A’s. Believe it or not, the same goes for girls. While a fly 16-year old dimwit might keep her 16-year old boyfriend ’til graduation, 30-year old guys are generally looking for more than just looks for anything long term, and girls are generally looking for long term. Don’t get me wrong. Most of us would totally still fuck the dimwit, though this reality may cause her to ultimately suffer more rejection and heartbreak than her mental superior who might covet her looks.
2. Nice is cool. Remember when it was embarrassing to get insulted or made fun of by someone for no reason at all? Well, now it’s embarrassing to make fun of or insult someone for no reason at all! Of course there are still dick heads who lack the awareness to see how pathetic and transparently motivated their behavior is, but amongst adults, most onlookers know better. Recently at a party, I was innocently talking to some guy’s girlfriend and her friend, when the muscle bound douche bag drunkenly staggered over to us and accused me of being a “faggot.” “That’s all I wanna know,” he said to me, “is how many dicks have you sucked?” After taking a beat to realize he wasn’t joking, it became an interesting moment of awareness. First, it was the first time I’d experienced anything like this in well over a decade; also the first ever such instance where I felt genuinely amused and sort of sad for my aggressor. First of all, homophobe is more insulting than homosexual. This is L.A. in 2015, not Alabama in… well, 2015, I guess. But more important than geography or sociological intellect was the poor fellow’s age. He was hilarious. A true parody of masculinity, partially borrowed from old media, partially conditioned by a lifetime of misunderstandings of all that he’s observed. I walked away shaking my head, and the girl chased after me. “I’m so sorry, I’m so–” and I laughed, putting my hand gently on her shoulder: “Oh no, it’s all good, don’t worry about it.” I felt like someone was profusely apologizing for a mentally retarded, 9-year old calling me stupid. It’s fine.
3. Acting cool is not cool. It’s actually impossible for me to go back to that mental place of being unable to see through contrived behavior with an agenda for acceptance, and I’m glad for it. Vulnerability is the new confident, mature communication is the new dismissive swag, and the guy with the barrel chest in the Mustang convertible is the punch line, instead of the guy crying in expression of his deepest fears. None of this is to imply that I condone an androgynous absence of gender roles, but a more intelligent definition of those roles, so to encourage a more organic expression of the multi-dimensionality of humanity. It’s less stressful, which works out nicely, since financial stressors do seem to increase [with age].
4. Sex is better… right? If the best education is experience, and practice makes perfect, and everyone now has decades of practice, and we can multiply this expertise by two because it is a team sport… then that’s pretty good. And it’s better than pretty good! I’m so grateful for my once youthful ignorance of how good it could be, lest I would have known how poorly I/we were doing it then. As our empathy for others outside of the bedroom increases, so does our sensitivity to our partner in the bedroom, and we come to realize that selfishness is not at all mutually exclusive to selflessness. The same goes for inhibitions dropped for expression of our fullest self, which makes the other more comfortable, which makes us more comfortable, which logically snowballs into cliché ecstasy, nirvana; la petite mort! It’s grand.
5. Love is better, and I think it’s because we now know “hatred,” more specifically, suffering. As a teenager I never understood hearing friends tell each other: “I love you.” No you don’t, I’d think. Love is for people in your family and people you fuck. Love’s not for friends. But it is, and is often the most unconditional form, as it exists void of any potential physical agenda or familial bias. They are “the family you choose,” with whom you can be anyone in the world and tell anything in the world, and their feelings remain constant. I was lucky to not know any real trauma or suffering as a child, which means I once sought only a source of stimulation in friends. Fun, excitement, partners in crime. Adulthood tends to feature more ebbs and flow between challenge and joy, even for those of us born more fortunate. “Life happens,” as they say, and when the best of friends can show up and soften or even transform the blow, we fall madly in love; and suddenly telling them: “I love you,” feels as organic as it does to Mom on the phone. Our appreciation for their existence is real and abundant. Our hugs are sincere and significant, and that alone feels nice.
I don’t want to lose any more hair or energy, or gain pathological weight anymore than you do. I don’t want to come closer to time running out on actualizing my dreams, nor to watching disease take over loved ones, and then myself. Obviously nothing is scarier. But beyond considering the “alternative” to getting older, I encourage myself and everyone else, as you observe all you might be losing, to also consider all you are gaining.
Originally published at davidfostercomedyblog.com.