I turned 30 in 2019, and while I've always been an old woman in spirit, it has become increasingly clear over the past few years that aging is real, and it's happening. Now. Don't get me wrong; I have grandparents and parents. I've always known that people get older. And they complain about their back and their bills and lots of other things. But it's hard to conceive of what that actually feels like until it starts happening to you.
Twitter user @exfatalist has recently started feeling some effects of aging that she was once convinced were just tropes or overgeneralizations. So she asked others over the age of 30 to share the things that are beginning to happen to their bodies, their minds, and their lives that they never thought would actually go down when they were young and spritely. The responses were relatable AF, which is a phrase I feel silly using now that I am over 30 years old.
The aches and pains are real. Several people responded with tweets about how they always thought it was unrealistic that you could throw out your back by sneezing... and then they turned 30. It's true! For me, I've definitely sneezed and tweaked my neck and sat in a weird position for too long until my back hurt. It's not fun, guys!
There are also...noises. They happen when you're not expecting them, without warning. One time, my husband stood up and then said, "My body cracked in six different places just now." If you're over 30, this has probably happened to you too.
If you have never woken up from a night of sleep with a new, mysterious bruise, consider yourself lucky. It happens to the best of us. At 30 (and older), we may be wiser and more comfortable in our skin than when we were younger, but that doesn't mean our bodies are getting better with time.
In fact, it is the complete opposite. At 30, I've been steadily going gray now for ten years. It's progressing slowly but surely, and at this point, I'm used to it. I no longer pull the stray, shiny hairs out of my head. But it's not the gray head hairs that bother me anymore.
Newsflash: When you go gray, all of you goes gray. Some time ago, I started getting white eyebrow hairs. I still yank those little deviants out whenever they pop up. It's a little bit horrendous. But I'm fine! I'm totally fine.
Now that we're gray and withered, you'd think we could soothe ourselves by getting drunk, right? But because the world is unfair, we can't do that anymore. Once you turn 30, you simply can't drink the way you could back in your college days. Hangovers are earth-shatteringly terrible to deal with.
It's true. And it no longer takes six cocktails to give you a massive hangover, either. Two glasses of cheap red wine from Trader Joe's and you're down for the count. ...OK, maybe that's just me.
But it's not just the physical stuff that we old farts have to deal with now. There is a whole host of annoying things about getting older that have nothing to do with aches and pains.
I used to be such a night owl! I'd be up until all hours of the night reading or watching TV until it all turned into infomercials. But now, no matter how late I'm up (which is honestly usually not that late), by 7:30 a.m., I am ready to go! I may be trying to give myself a lazy day in bed. Doesn't matter. I rise with the sun! (Kind of.)
Even though I'm awake early, that doesn't mean I'm getting a lot of thinking done. I was reassured to know that some people also have gaps in their memory. I called my sister a few weeks ago in a panic because I couldn't remember the name of my kindergarten teacher, whom I loved. I had always, up until then, known her name, and I was beside myself that it was a piece of knowledge that had just completely left my brain.
Forgetting an old teacher's name isn't quite as bad as losing whole years, but there's still time. I'm only 30. And yet, I already feel like a straight-up grandma when I talk to youths, like my 16-year-old cousin. When I was young, I thought I would have no trouble keeping up with the kids, as they say. But now, it's like, "What is TikTok? Who is Billie Eilish? TIL what TIL means."
Not to mention, the whole world is constantly reminding you how old you are now. I once heard Coldplay on the oldies station. Coldplay!! On the station that also plays The Beatles and The Lovin' Spoonful. Absurd.
There's a lot of craziness about getting older that we all thought was nonsense until we started living it. But perhaps the biggest lesson I've learned as I've gotten older is that literally no one knows what they're doing. Ever. Growing up, I was convinced there was a threshold and, once you passed it, you just, like, knew how to be an adult. But that is so not the case, as one lovely Twitter user was sure to point out.
Just remember, we're all creaky, gray-haired, hungover cranky people who don't understand TikTok or how taxes actually work. And that's what adulthood is truly all about. Nevertheless, I wouldn't go back to being a teenager for any amount of money. This is still better.