My cat is my bae, my eyebrows are #onbleak, and I rejoice when weekend plans are unexpectedly cancelled. At 24, I often feel much closer to a comfortable 62. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I am not alone. There's a growing trend among young women to publicly flaunt the "old lady" lifestyle, where alone time, coziness, cats, and a few glasses of wine have authority over a dazzling social life.
Homebodies are nothing new. We all have the types of friends who Irish exit on a varsity level -- not to do something exciting but just to expedite the wonderful process of getting into pajamas. I have single friends who have turned down dates because they just want to hang at home and potter the fuck around. This type of behavior has probably existed since the dawn of time, when the first cavewoman cancelled dinner plans because she wanted to do some casual stick drawing rather than a memorable evening of hunting wildebeests.
What is new is that, whereas in the past these desires were often hidden, young women now love to show off and advertise that they enjoy and actively choose the more senior pleasures in life. You can see it all across social media, from the Saturday night Instagrams that feature a photo of a bottle of wine with Netflix in the background and a caption like "my ideal night" or "turn down for what?!?!" to even incredibly tedious Snap Stories with photos of carefully prepared adult-looking meals or knitting needles. Okay, that last one was an exaggeration, but the rest is true, check out the #oldladystatus on Instagram if you don't believe me.
You can hear it in those water-cooler conversations. "What did you do this weekend?" "I just had like a really anti-social weekend actually, it was so nice. I'm like an old woman now!" No embarrassment, no shame -- acting "old" aka "boring" has become a point of pride. How did this happen? Is Liz Lemon to blame?
The problem is that all this self-loving glorification of hermit life is ruining the whole point of being a premature pajama-ready grandmother. Are you really enjoying being alone and quiet if you are sending updates about it every five minutes across the hemisphere? The need to constantly publish evidence of having a "boring-but-cozy" time shows you are not really at peace with being at peace. You don't need to keep connecting to show you are unconnected.
If you're only pretending to be cut off you defeat the object of a nice sliver of down time. In fact, you're just adding to the digital overload that made you bar the doors in the first place. It's not enough to just lounge with a glass of whispering angel and a new episode of Broad City. You have to be documented doing it. See all this nice breathing space I have created for myself? Come in and invade it.
Part of the reason it's so joyous to be aggressively alone is that it's an assertion of the self over the social. You know you have the option to go out if you want -- the heels and the spanx are just within reach. But you choose not to.
In the case of the young old lady trend, to really embrace a Golden Girl lifestyle the mind of a social media savvy millennial woman needs to be put on pause. It's only then that premature old age can transition into early onset wisdom. And being old gets old -- ask anybody over 50.