I’m normally not very nostalgic for the old days, but even I have to admit that there are things about getting older that I don’t like and or wasn’t prepared for. So here goes
Seeing my parents become elderly and knowing they probably have only a few more years at most left.
Being bothered more by loud noises and music. Even the phone ringing or my mom knocking on my door startles me more than it did when I was in my twenties. Loud music bothers me too. I quit going to see live concerts when the music got too loud for me, the crowds became less manageable, and I found out I can listen to the same music for free in my own house using Spotify and Youtube.
Not being able to make friends as easily as in college. Most of the friends I have now I’ve had for more than 20 years. I actually made more friends among the staff of my long term care hospital than I did in the previous 10 years.
Chronic knee pain. Be kind to your joints kids, you’ll miss them when they go bad. Mine went really bad when I was 37 and they haven’t come back since. And it just sneaked up on me. One day I was able to walk three miles a day like it was nothing. The next, I couldn’t make it up three flights of stairs without being too short of breath to talk.
Socializing is a lot tougher in your forties than your teens and twenties, especially for those of us without children or careers.
I don’t like the fact that the more I have aged, the more I just want to stay home and be left alone. I no longer have the energy to go out and try new restaurants, go to the zoo, or travel. So glad I did a lot of that in my younger years.
I don’t like that, between chronic knee pain and heart failure, my body has fallen apart yet my mind is sharper than ever. I now understand why elders are sometimes more grumpy than younger people.
I don’t like that I have come to dislike most people anymore and want to just be left alone in my older years. If it’s like this when I’m 42, how bad will I be at 60? I hope I never become one of those jaded old people who hat everything and everyone. But maybe it’s inevitable.
Even in my forties, I find it harder to keep up with the world changing all around me than I did in my twenties. I didn’t really notice changes when I was that age. But even though I devout a significant amount of my time following science, tech, and geopolitics, I still feel like I can’t keep up with everything. I am still accepting of most changes even if I don’t understand them. I’m just glad that enough people do.
It now blows my mind that many of the star athletes competing now weren’t even born yet when I was in high school. I still have a hard time with Shaq doing auto insurance ads or Michael Jordan being in his sixties.
It also blows my mind that we now have some politicians younger than I am. Most of the science and tech innovators are now younger than I am. Also, most of the musicians I listened to in high school are now dead or in their sixties. Heck, I once heard Van Halen being played as background music at my pharmacy. And this was several years ago.
There were some things about my parents and grandparents generations that I was critical about in my youth, namely fighting pointless wars, the rising cost of living while wages didn’t keep up, and the lack of urgency concerning environmental destruction and resource depletion. Now that I’m middle age, I imagine my teenage nephews and niece are critical about some of the things my generation is doing now that we are the bulk of workers and voters. Maybe they hate us for doing less to stop mass shootings, maybe they hate us for making social media a toxic place, maybe they blame us for the US being in decline, maybe they hate us for outsourcing and automating all the high paying factory jobs, maybe they hate us for being more hands on parents than what our parents in the 80s were. Sheesh, some kids are already nostalgic for the music, movies, and fashions of the 80s and 90s the same way I was nostalgic for the music, movies, civil rights movements, and space race of the 60s. I also think the kids are as blown away by their grandparents stories of the 60s, the protests, and the Vietnam War the same way my generation was blown away by our grandparents stories of the Depression and World War 2. And I bet kids growing up today will blame their parents (people my age) for climate change, pandemic, and the possibility of a major world war if they aren’t already.
I also miss being able to hang out with my friends at least once a day. All my friends now live hundreds of miles away. Most have families. All have careers. Since I have neither, I find it hard to find things to relate to them with. It’s kind of hard to relate to my friend getting told off by her boss because I have no boss because of my illness. But I am glad I made the friends that I did. I’m also glad I kept in contact with them over the years.
I also fear that as I get older, my health will only get worse no matter how much weight I lose. I don’t look forward to that. I’m already having some pains all the time and I’m only 42. Some of my friends from college are already dead.
I also fear that the older I get, the tougher it will get to understand and adapt to the changes in tech, social norms, and the world in general. I fear it will make me a bitter old out of touch man who hates everything and everyone. I promised myself when I was younger I would never become that man, or at least not take my frustrations out on younger, healthier people. I never want to be that old man who yells at kids for walking on his lawn.