It’s weird, isn’t it? Aging, how it comes for us all. The oldest you will ever feel is in your 30s. This might sound counter intuitive. After all, 30 isn’t really that old. You’re young enough to get away with going to a club on a Thursday night and getting too drunk and trying to sleep with someone (obviously someone younger. Sleeping with someone who’s also in their 30s would be too embarrassing for both of you.) But you’ll know full well that you shouldn’t be in that club. You should be at home, preparing for tomorrow. That’s all getting older is really. Knowing that each day is an onslaught of tedium and minutiae from which there is no escaping and you must be well-rested to face it lest you succumb to ennui and ending up having that psychotic break you’ve been fantasizing about.
But it is true, your 30’s is the oldest you will ever feel because it is the decade where the invulnerability of youth and it’s sexy attractive sheen starts fading away from you. A person who has been bald for 20 years won’t have much feeling about it. They’ve had time to accept their baldness. This is the one soothing salve that life provides us. That, with time, we somehow accept and make peace with everything that happens to us. (Pete Best, the original drummer for The Beatles before he was kicked out of the band and replaced with Ringo Starr, said that he was “happier with the way things worked out than he would’ve been in The Beatles.” This is how powerful the force of acceptance is. It can make someone believe they’re happier with their dumb shitty completely unremarkable life than they would’ve been in the greatest rock band of all time drowning in a never-ending torrential downpour of money, sex, drugs, and power.) Someone who’s in the process of balding however, will be in an existential crisis over it that will never fully go away for as long as they have hair. And that crisis will never be stronger than when they first notice that they are balding. And that’s truly what the essence of your 30s is; metaphorically, if not literally, realizing you are balding. This is why humanity invented capitalism. The pursuit of money helps to distract us from our own impending death.
Adam Smith was 36 years old when he published The Theory Of Moral Sentiments; the precursor to The Wealth Of Nations, widely considered to be the birth of free-market economics. Capitalism could not have been invented by someone in their 20s. It’d be impossible. If Adam Smith had published a book in his 20s it would’ve been called “Why Banging Chicks Is Rad.” People in their 20s are obsessed with destroying everything that has come before them. This impulse is the correct impulse. Everything should be destroyed. Che Guevara was 26 when the CIA backed coup on the Argentinian president Jacobo Armenz convinced him that the U.S.A. would always oppose progressive leftist governments and led Che to start the Cuban revolution. If the coup had happened 10 years later when Guevara was 36 his reaction would’ve been “aww, man, that’s a bummer. But, ya know, what ya gonna do (shrug emoji.)” But alas destroying everything is too difficult a task for any one generation to accomplish. They have to contend with the entire weight and momentum of history crushing them like a steamroller. Also, they have everyone over 40 telling them to get in line. Once you hit 45 and your soul has left your body sometime ago, you resent people trying to change things. This is how we are in the situation we are in now, where all the world’s wealth goes to 6 or 7 people and no one is doing anything about it. After fighting throughout your 20s and slowly giving in to the merciless terror of errands throughout your 30s, in your 40s you decide it’s best not to complain. Plus people in their 20s are very poor and very horny and this leaves them uniquely poorly situated to accomplish anything really.
Overall your 30s are a better decade than your 20s. Sure, you have much more fun in your 20s. But that’s irrelevant because the concept of fun is wasted on people in their 20s. Oscar Wilde famously said “youth is wasted on the young.” And that’s the annoying type of dipshit thing you have to hear regularly throughout your entire 20s. People telling you you’re so young and not to take life so seriously. But they don’t realize you do have real problems, and just because you’re young doesn’t mean that your life is easy. Of course once you turn 30 and hangover’s start resembling meningitis you realize everything all those annoying fucking old people told you was true. 20 year olds don’t have real problems because no matter how dire everything is you still have an inexhaustible supply of energy and the enviable glow of youth about you that our entire society is based around. Plus no one expects anything from anyone in their 20s and your body is still regenerating cells at a phenomenal rate so it’s essentially a consequence free decade. Of course no one realizes this in their 20s. It’s only when you turn 30 and you start dying that you realize what you had. But having this realization is the beginning of wisdom and wisdom is better than youth even if it may not seem like it. Youth is just beauty you don’t appreciate, a sex drive that feels more compulsory than enjoyable, and the ability to physically heal at a Wolverine-like pace. And yes, it would be nice to heal like that forever, but the freedom to have sex because I want to and not because my libido is holding my entire essence hostage, and the realization that every moment is precious because i too will die, no matter how cool people think I am, is an equitable trade.
So aging, even though deeply physically and neurologically distressing, is a good thing. Because even if it isn’t, it is going to happen, and with time, we all learn to accept it.