When I turned 29, I thought to myself, this is the last year of my relevance. And I still believe that, though it’s less that I’m not relevant to the world but that the world is less relevant to me. Since 30, I’ve been less plugged into the zeitgeist, such that you won’t see me vaping, or dabbing, or listening to Bruno Mars or whatever the balls mumble rap is. It’s been nice, for the most part, to unplug from popular culture. But here we are 10 years later, and I’m thinking to myself, this is the last year before obsolescence.
While it’s true your body starts breaking down more and more in your thirties, I imagine by 40+, it just stops healing completely. This is the age range where diets are never going to do anything, that fancy Peloton bike is just gonna cause more problems than it solves, and a lifetime of high sugar intake is gonna find a way to kill me one way or another.
That made me think about all the age ranges and what they might hold for me. And you. I suppose this can be about you too.
The Age of Bodily Functions. You are essentially a standalone nervous system growing inside a poorly designed meat suit. Your only job is to figure out how this thing works and make it do things. Crazy, unpredictable things.
The Age of Advanced Bodily Functions. Your nervous system falls victim to meat suit propaganda and suddenly everything is about procreation. During this time, older humans try to teach your math, science, biology, and the arts. You learn very little because boobs.
The Age of Independence. Finally, your meat suit is now advanced enough to go out into the world on its own. You are, for the first time, a participant in the zeitgeist. You go to college, you fall in love, your mild emotional and mental problems blossom into full-blown neuroses. Maybe you get a credit card.
The Age of Irrelevance. Nothing about popular culture interests you anymore, and the disdain is more than mutual. You realize how stupid you were in your twenties and resolve to “grow up” and “get a job” and “open a checking account.” Meanwhile, your meat suit, having passed its prime, begins to steadily deteriorate.
The Age of Obsolescence. Your meat suit is no longer simply breaking down; now it wants to end this charade (pronounced with a French accent) once and for all. Maybe you get gout or diabeetus or a fatty liver; it will be something. And that something will remind you that you’re gonna die! Your nervous system will panic. You will get married. You will have children. You will continue to panic.
The Age of Sitting Down. If soccer were a metaphor for life, in your forties, you were standing on the sideline, resigned to the knowledge that you will never play again. In your fifties, you’ll find that standing puts too much strain on the knee you injured in Korea or IKEA. So you go sit down in the stands with your grandchild and tousle his hair and regale him with stories of how you never got to play soccer as a kid because the Kaiser wouldn’t allow it.
The Age of Child Proofing. Let’s face it: the meat suit is in pretty bad shape at this point. Anything could set it off. Luckily, your children have come to help you child proof the house. Handles in showers. Plastic in the electrical outlets. And bumpers on all the sharp edges. The goal at this point is just to keep the meat suit from getting injured.
The Age of Fuck This Meat Suit. The year is 2055 and you’re just tired of this constant parade of superhero movies and reality TV presidents. You take too many drugs to count, and your weed guy is unreliable because he keeps getting detention. Your eyes turn to the horizon and you start to consider what might await beyond that sweet, beautiful infinity… then you put on your wig, rent a yellow Bug, and drive to Vegas.
The Age of Stop Treating Me Like a Baby. You’re old. You’ve paid your dues. And yet your meddling children won’t shut up about doctor’s appointments and drugs and insulin and newfangled iPhones. All you want to do is sit and watch some Cinemax, but they’re dragging you to parties for great-grandchildren you didn’t even know you had. Your nervous system actively hates the meat suit and spends most of its time consciously trying to stop its heart.
The Age of I Should Have Eaten More Pizza. I honestly don’t know what to expect at this age, but I’m going to be sorely pissed if I live to 99 and stopped eating Totino’s Party Pizzas at 39. 60 years without my favorite food? And no Oreos or Ice Cream either? The meat suit has betrayed you for the last time. You head to the nearest euthanasia center so your body can be turned into soylent green.
My Last Year as a 30-Something
My meat suit has been failing me for a while now, but hopefully there’s still time to get it into shape before it kerplunks completely. I had a great time in my thirties. I got married. I had a son. I published four novels. I’ve had a lot of great experiences and horrifying experiences and mundane experiences over the last decade, all of which made the man I am today.
And what kind of man am I today, 39 years old, on the eve of obsolescence? I think this photo says it all.
Yeah. I left the house like that. 39-year-old Daniel don’t give a fart.