It’s funny how, when you’re young, you want to get old. I mean, you do. It’s natural, really. The humans have even made feature films about it.
“Big” starring a very young Tom Hanks back in 1988, was the story about a 12-year-old boy who, impatient to become an adult after being rejected as too short to ride a carnival roller coaster (those aren’t safe anyway, kiddo), makes a wish through an antique fortune teller machine to be big.
The next day, he’s 30. Careful what you wish for children.
The concept is so popular that 14 years later, the same story was told in the movie “13 Going on 30.” That time it was Jennifer Garner’s chance to dream of becoming 30 overnight; which she did. Next morning, voila, 17 years were added to that evening’s slumber.
Odd how nobody ever wishes to be, say 67? I digress.
You know it goes. First you want to hit double digits. Then you want to be a teenager. *Shudder. Next, you can’t wait for 18, then 21. And then, you begin the slow but steady process of changing your mind.
For instance, by age 30, you’re thinking of all the worlds you’d planned to conquer by now – and have not. And you gulp. HARD.
Then, or definitely by the following birthday, you start to go through the five stages of grief, no? Um, yep.
Denial: Well, it’s not like I’m much older than before. I mean, it’s sort of like I’m still in my 20s. Practically. Almost. I have plenty of time yet to visit the seven wonders of the world and get a rental place in Boca Raton and marry the girl of my dreams… I’m still super duper young!
Anger: How in the name of all that is holy did this happen to me? So unfair -- I don’t deserve this! This is completely wrong on every stinking level!
Bargaining: If I take night classes and an online course, I could finish my Master’s in six months. And, if I just get back into my daily morning running routine; I could shave a few years ---and pounds-- off? Ooh, maybe I’ll go vegan. Or keto? I think I will stop drinking alcohol and replace it with energy water. No more clubbing or cigars. I’ll be back to my 25-year-old self in no time!
Depression: Why? Oh why? Sniff, sniff. Oh, fadiddle daddle it (only you don’t say fadiddle daddle); I’m drinking. I need a beer. Well, no, not a beer; it’s not like I’m in my 20s anymore (insert quivering lip and large teardrops), I‘ll just drink highballs like my grandfather. Sniff. My bucket list is still full. [Four highballs and a smartly-wrapped Cuban later]: WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?
Acceptance: Okay, I’m 30. So what? Thirty IS the new 20, after all. At least I’m out on my own, working my way up the corporate ladder. Things are looking up.
Then, you turn 40 and you somehow convince yourself it’s actually better than being in your 20s. This lie occurs to reconcile the graying, pudgy, starting to recede/wrinkle grown ups we’ve become.
“I’m in a really good place. I have a wonderful wife and children, a great job and home, good friends. Life is good. Plus, it’s not like I’m 50 or anything.”
Until you blink about four times…and then, ALAKAZAM: 50.
And just like that, the process repeats…backwards, Capisce?
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist researching the Fountain of Youth. Send her age creams via firstname.lastname@example.org