I Think I Want to Be Old: How to Know if *You* Have Turned Old

A fundamental rule of the universe is that old age happens overnight. One day you are young and can handily stay up past eleven, the next you have nose hair and don’t understand the plot of any Avengers movie and you think a Kardashian is a meal delivery service.

All old people are different, of course, so one can’t generalize about them as a group. But it is a fact that all old people are marked by one universal trait: They no longer care who hears them fart.

Here are six more differences between the non-old and old:

1.  Old people understand that personal comfort is a human right. Non-old people worry about how they’ll be perceived by others, which is why they do not wear elasticized pants to work.

2. Old people do not care about your party. Old people will send a note that says something along the lines of I didn’t realize you were under the impression that I liked you. I do not. I’m staying home to watch MSNBC and eat Chicken in a Bisket crackers with grape jelly.

Non-old people will attend events with people they do not like because they think social harmony is a virtue. In a pinch, they’ll make up a believable excuse: “Oh, gosh. I so wish I could attend your CrossFit themed birthday party, but I’ve agreed to bottle-feed shelter otters that day.”

3. Old people will gladly and loudly point out that nobody actually knows what a blockchain is.  They know that Twitter is an elaborate social hoax propagated by Silicon Valley.

The non-old do not question stupid things, such as raw milk, mustache pomade, and Pete Davidson, even when they suspect they are being punked.

4. The old are guided by constant low-level outrage by all of the ways the world simply makes no sense. Whoever heard of putting fake desserts on a tray at a restaurant? Whoever heard of going camping in the winter? Why isn’t there a salad bar at every restaurant? Who needs that many tattoos? Why are there holes in brand-new jeans? Whoever heard of brunch? Eat breakfast or lunch. Pick one. Why do they keep letting Tom Cruise be in movies?

The non-old will go with the flow, even if it means doing goat yoga at dawn.

5. Old people waste nothing and save everything. If they have leftovers, they will eat them even if there’s a layer of mold growing on top. The old will spend an afternoon test-driving a car to get a free set of barbecue tools. They will watch all the shows on Netflix to get their money’s worth. They will re-carpet the all-season porch with leftover carpet from the bowling alley. It will glow in the dark. And feature dancing bowling pins.

The non-old are happy to throw things away in a quest for minimalism. Old people think Marie Kondo sells frozen pies.

6. The old expect to have at least one aching body part at all times. They don’t know what mindfulness is, but they do doze sitting up while eating an ice cream cone.

The non-old practice self-care to maintain health, wellness, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s empire.

If you have discovered you are old, don’t panic. Being old is not determined by chronological age. It’s a state of mind.

As it turns out, there is great power in recognizing that the world is off its rocker. The old have seized the right to feel sure of themselves, content with their life, and at peace with the fact that they just listened to an entire audiobook on shuffle and were no more confused than if they had listened to the chapters in order.

The old have seen the most glorious and beautiful aspect of aging, something you simply cannot know until you reach the summit for yourself: When you are old, you don’t have to pretend anymore.

The truth is that brunch is stupid. Now you can say it out loud.