Several days ago, I observed myself crossing an ambiguous threshold. I was at the gym getting my sick shred on (just kidding, I would never say that… unless I just did) when I struck up a conversation with a man who owns a mixed martial arts studio down the road. Now, I went ahead and flattered myself by thinking, “ He must have come over because I look like a good fighter.” I don’t, but I still thought that and got a nice smug internal smile. Here’s where the threshold-crossing comes in though. He said to me, “You’re what, 23 or 24?” And it was at that moment that I realized, I actually cared that he thought I was younger than I am. What??? When you’re 23, and someone says “You’re what, about 20?” you don’t care. You’re not flattered. But now, all of a sudden, I got that stupid grown-up feeling of “Oh, thank God he thinks I’m younger than I really am!” Wow. I wanted to slap myself hard across the face right there, but I thought it would draw negative or at least confused attention from the other folks in the gym, so instead I just berated myself silently. I’ve noticed that more and more lately: me caring about stupid adult stuff and less about cool stuff. Let me just give you a few examples. I’ll “put myself on blast,” as the crazy kids are saying these days.
1. Someone thinking I’m younger than I am. I guess we already went over this, but I still wanted full credit for this one in my list. The point is, suddenly someone thinking I’m 23 has suddenly become some sort of compliment that assuages my newly-developed fear of aging? Damn. That’s very not cool.
2. I bought myself neat-o colorful dress socks, and I cared enough to show them to my wife, like they were some cool new toy. “But check it out! Instead of an amazing rocketship with a trigger underneath that actually shoots out plastic missiles, these have three different colors, they’re really comfortable and they’ll add a touch of color to an otherwise more formal look! And they’re machine washable! Cool!” I promise this isn’t boring. I mean, you’ll get to see them when my pants leg occasionally rides up a bit.
3. I am genuinely looking forward to getting my oil changed this morning. Seriously. I feel warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about how I’m caring for my vehicle, and how much that will pay off in the long run. Goodie goodie gum drops, I’ll save more money so I can buy better insurance coverage!
4. I am so excited about the financial plan I’ve put together for my family I can hardly stand it. I mean, what’s more exciting than numbers, on a spreadsheet, and figuring out how to make those number get bigger! Man, I can’t wait til recess today so I can show the guys my spreadsheet and the potential returns on these investments! They’re gonna be psyched! Holy crap, I just realized I’m going to be so freaking popular…
5. I’m really craving a new tie. I need a good dark tie, something simple and authoritative. Maybe a black or a dark blue with thin diagonal stripes. A little color but not too much. Are you bored out of your tortured skull yet? Well, these are actual thoughts from my brain. Now that is some disappointing stuff. I could be thinking about army men, racecars, baseball or football or basically any sport, or beer, or chicks, or climbing a mountain or camping or punching some guy in the nose who deserves it… but I’m not. I’m thinking about my next tie purchase. And here’s the real kicker: I’m exited about it.
Well, it’s official guys. I’ve crossed into the unfortunate realm of adulthood. And the final dagger is this. I recognize that I’ve made this transition, and I don’t even care. I’m happy and content to think about ties and put together a financial plan for my family. I suppose it’s a natural progression, but the younger me is still alive in there and he’s throwing a tantrum and shouting, “You’re a traitor! You sold out! I hate you!” and he just threw his cheerios across the room.
We dare you to put yourself “on blast” too. Fess up! What do you care about now that is embarrassingly grown-up and lame?