Aging is better than the alternative

A funny thing occurred to me earlier this week as I was thinking about aging in general and the many people I know who share September birthdays. People seem to have startled reactions to turning another year older, as if they had forgotten that it was biologically inevitable. “I can’t believe I’m (insert whatever age they are turning). How did that happen?”. Getting older, as they say, is better than the alternative. Even though I don’t feel it physically, I know I’m getting older due to a disproportionate number of baby pictures popping up in my Facebook newsfeed. Anyone who didn’t know that so many of my friends were procreating would think that I’m some sort of internet predator who only friends babies and small children. Back off, Chris Hanson. I don’t even know these kids.

I am turning 29 this week, which I realize puts me in kind of a generational no-man’s land. Rejected by Generation X, but feeling a disconnect with Generation Y, I’m older than mainstream Internet but younger than MTV. College freshmen probably consider me old, and if I were a professional athlete I’m be in the peak of my career. Unless I was a gymnast, in which case I would have peaked around puberty. I am old enough that I should be flogged if ever I were to write words like kewel and neway, but young enough to still consider grilled cheese and goldfish crackers a hearty and nutritious meal. Old enough to have a mortgage and a dog, but too young to regularly go grocery shopping or sort laundry. Young enough to adore a good theme party, old enough that I’m ready for it to end by 1a.m instead of 4a.m..

It has finally happened. I have aged out of possible contention for American Idol. This would be much more devastating if I cared at all about AI or possessed a shred of singing ability. It’s just the principle that serves as a wake-up call. The inarguable ageism has pigeon-holed me into a reality tv no-man’s land. Granted, I don’t watch reality tv or give two shits about it, but I get the impression that I am too young to be taken seriously on the Apprentice, and too old and ungold-diggy for Millionaire Matchmaker.

I’m curious to see what this 29 stuff is all about. It is that ambiguous age that so many people jokingly claim to still be well into their thirties and forties. Does it really sound so much younger than 30? It’s kind a turning point in life where you’re like “Well I’m still a twenty something, so I don’t have to act like a REAL grownup until NEXT year. Cool”. I’m halfway between counting my age in factions (six and three quarters was a bitchin age) and counting it in hazy decades (fortysomethingish). Halfway between jail-bait teenager and middle aged cougar.

At what age do birthday shots stop? Is this the last year of friends saying “It’s your birthday, let me buy you shots so that you may vomit later and feel like death for days”? Umm, thanks, friend. Next year when I’m 30, will people be all like “Congrats on being thirty – here’s a packet of IRA investment options and some Tums”?

Of course judging by all of the natural disasters lately, there’s a good chance that those Mayans may have been on to something, and that the world will indeed end soon, possibly preventing me from ever turning into a 30something. Which is fine. I’ve never been one to obsess over things that are out of my control, like getting older or the impending zombie apocalypse or people with mullets. Although I’m still young enough to find mullets absolutely hilarious.