While sitting around lamenting our millennial lives, a friend of mine shared this morsel of wisdom she'd gotten from an older acquaintance. It was something like, when you're young you have time and energy, but no money. When you're middle-aged, you have energy and money, but no time. And when you're old, you have time and money, but no energy.
Such is the quagmire of youth. While we're getting bombarded with messages telling us to YOLO, to "dance like nobody's watching," and love like we've never been hurt before -- we're busy dealing with unemployment, wondering how to pay for our weddings, and how to lower our astronomical student loan payments.
And the thing about having more energy -- well, I can't vouch for that. Consensus among my 20-something friends is we're tired. All.the.time. We're juggling young, new relationships, 60-hour workweeks in many cases, and the pressure to maintain the illusion of having "a life."
Truth be told, many of us are looking forward to aging, and getting to a point where we've passed most of life's major hurdles -- not spending our entire paychecks on the newest anti-aging serum to help us cling to our exponentially fading youth. Here's what we're looking forward to in older age:
1. Two words. Senior discounts. Because there's no I-still-live-with-my-parents discount or student-loan-repayment- discount.
2. Not worrying as much about things will "turn out." After 50 or so, I'm guessing most major questions of life have been answered. Will I find the right life partner? Will I have kids? Will everything be okay?
My 65-plus father once told me that when he looks at young folks he feels sheer pity. Not what I was expecting to hear. But they're fit, healthy, and able-bodied I said confusedly. True, he agreed. But they just have so many hurdles ahead of them that they can't even imagine. There are so many uphill battles they have yet to face. I'm confident I've already faced the worst of my problems, he said. Let's hope he's right.
3. More mature relationships (hopefully). As a young dater or novice boyfriend/girlfriend, everything is so much more fragile and every fight leaves you wondering if you're headed for a breakup that will cause the devastation of a nuclear bomb in your heart.
I can't wait to celebrate my 30th or 40th wedding anniversary with someone I've been through thick and thin with. Someone who has essentially watched me grow up. That's the sort of intimacy that easily trumps the passion and fireworks of a budding love.
4. You've carved out a career. Hopefully. You're not developing ulcers wondering if the four years you spent in college were a complete waste, when you realize everything you learned in the classroom is not really helpful in your first job. With 8.2 percent of millennials facing unemployment, higher than any of the previous 4 generations, it's a very valid concern.
5. Looks aren't everything. They never should be, but let's face it, younger folks have more pressure to look a certain way. As if it isn't bad enough that everyone and their mother is posting selfies 24/7 on every social media network under the sun, we're also being told by makeup counter girls that we should start considering preventive aging potions. Oh -- and living in constant fear of Facetime calls.
6. There's nothing wrong with a 9:30 PM bedtime. There are few things better than a good night's sleep. Spending a Friday night in a sweaty, crowded club and waking up with ringing ears the next day is not one of them.
7. You stop caring what others think. At 25, do I really care what teenagers or even underclassmen think about me? No. So at 65, I'm guessing you couldn't care less what a silly 55-year-old thinks of you. Hence, the license to speak your mind. Whenever. Wherever. However controversial.
8. Fewer major life decisions to make. After doing a 180 and switching from my business degree to now an infinitely happier and fulfilling career in journalism, I often question how wise it is to let high school seniors decide what mark they want to leave in the world, when most of them haven't really been out in the real world. For many students, four years and $50,000 later, they end up disillusioned and trapped in their line of work. Besides that, you also have to choose your first car, home, city, political affiliation, and spouse. I have a hard enough time deciding what to eat for lunch or which Obamacare plan to choose.
9. Being considered a sage by default. I'm tired of ask-holes. You know, those friends who are trainwrecks in the making, who ask you for your sound advice, but then do whatever the heck they want anyway.
10. It's ok to be an old soul. No longer will I have to pretend to prefer HBO's "Girls" over my secret late-night "Golden Girls" rerun habit. No more clearing my Netflix history of my favorite BBC funnies or "Rosemary and Thyme" episodes. I'm serious.
11. Dressing for comfort, first and foremost. Aerosoles, Dr. Scholl's, bring 'em on. These ankles are tired.
12. More stable friendships. Your twenties are a shocking time. The college friends and roommates you ate three square meals with a day, crammed for exams with, and swore you'd never lose touch with are all pulling disappearing acts. People are flaky. Everyone seems to be running off and getting married, being consumed by new relationships, moving cross country, going to grad school, and generally disappearing off the face of the Earth. Everything is in flux and it can be really scary.
13. Having children. After making an exhausting number of decisions for your own life, it must be nice to have the spotlight off you for once and meet your new family members. Nobody can understand the joy of becoming a parent until the moment they do, but I think an old colleague of mine put it best. At a certain age, you realize you've seen and done most everything, she said, and you start to lose your sense of wonder with the world. But when you have kids, you can see everything through their eyes for the first time again.
14. Retirement. Enough said.
15. To be done paying off my student loans. To no longer sit around cursing my glory days, and calculating that every piece of cold dining court lasagna and mystery meat ended up costing me a cool five figures.
16. To stop having to keep up with technology. It took me a solid two weeks to figure out Snapchat and then I accidentally sent a makeup free, first-thing-in-the-morning selfie by accident to some poor soul. I'm also convinced I was almost at the center of a political sexting scandal, with someone named "Enrique calamity" trying to send me pictures of godknowswhat.
17. It's perfectly acceptable to sit at concerts.
18. Moving less frequently. Including moving out for college, I've had to completely pack and unpack my life a total of 13 times. Living out of Sterilite containers is no fun.
19. Buh-bye PMS.