Depending on who you ask, life gets better as you grow older or it gets worse. Much worse.
There’s a reason why no one can agree on this matter – in fact there are numerous reasons that include income disparity, health, genetics, social status and serendipity.
The main reason why no one can agree on whether life improves however is because it’s a dumb topic that’s poorly framed. For one thing, how much older are we talking? Few would dispute that one’s enjoyment improves between being dragged screaming into the world with a pair of forceps and celebrating their fifth birthday. Similarly, from snatching your first kiss at 14 to pishing yourself in a nursing home six decades later, it would be fair to say life ain’t quite what it once was.
That much is obvious. What’s less clear is which elements of your life can be expected to improve and which ones are certain to plummet with every passing year.
Ed Uncovered doesn’t know everything about life, but we’d like to think we’ve got the first three decades covered. If you want to find out what happens at 40, ask a 40-year-old. Better still, do nothing; the answer to your question will arrive far sooner than you think.
That’s the first thing to be aware of: time moves faster the older you get. A helluva lot faster. We’ll bitch about that later, but let’s start at the start.
You’re five. In ten years, you’ll be a teenager. Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to:
Your parties: They’re gonna get better. Heaps better. Goodbye fizzy juice and sweets. Hello grown up fizzy juice and sweets.
Your entertainment: The TV shows, gadgets and websites you love right now are pretty cool but in ten years everything’s gonna be better. You probably won’t be playing Subway Surfer on your dad’s iPad at 15, but you’ll still be addicted to touchscreen technology.
And here’s what’s gonna get worse:
Your toys: This might sound crazy, but by the time you’re 15, you’re not gonna be into toys so much. This may have something to do with…
The opposite sex: You know how, as a boy, you think girls are gross? And you know how, as a girl, you think boys are ikky? Well, round about the time you start getting bored of toys, you’re gonna radically change your opinion about boys/girls. I don’t wanna give too much away (you’re only five after all), but let’s just say your world’s gonna be turned upside down.
Your hair: In ten years, you’re gonna cringe when you look back at pics of you as a kid. That’s what you get for letting your mum choose your haircut. In fairness, you are just a kid. Come to think of it, what are you even doing on this website?
Your skin: It’s gonna get worse. It’ll get better, eventually, but first it’s gonna get a whole lot worse. Blame it on puberty aka The Trolling Years, when your body exacts revenge for all the skinned knees and bruises you subjected it to as a kid.
The Teenage Years
As a teenager, you’ll naturally assume you know better than the rest: your parents, your teachers and anyone else who dares challenge your world view. As someone who’s no longer a teenager, it would be easy for me to piss all over that preconception.
Instead of being That Condescending Adult however I’ll say this: Enjoy being a teenager. You’ll think you’re right and later realise you were often wrong, but who cares? Screwing up is all part of being human, and god knows that old people (i.e anyone over the age of 19) have their share of fuck ups too.
Be a teenager. Wear a YOLO t-shirt. Live your life.
Although they’ll never admit this, adults secretly resent teenagers. Not because you’re young and in your prime, but because you’re cocky and passionate. Because you have a fire that burns inside. Because you wear your heart on your chest and your opinions on your half sleeve. Who cares if you later look back and cringe? Being a teenager rocks.
It won’t last forever of course; as you reach your 20s, here’s what you can expect to improve:
Your parents: With their stupid rules and curfews, the odds are your rentals are pissing you off right now. Ten years from now you’ll have left home – at least you’d better have – whereupon you’ll start to appreciate your folks once again and they’ll start to appreciate you. Distance is a beautiful thing.
Your sex life: As a teenager (and hopefully no sooner) you’re going to become sexually active. That’s right, you’re finally going to get laid. While this is a cause for celebration, don’t start patting yourself on the back. In ten years’ time, you’re gonna laugh when you reflect on how little you knew at the start. Full Casanova status is at least another decade away.
Your parties: They’ll get better in your 20s but don’t expect to remember any more of them. Instead of getting pissed and stoned you’ll get chinged and mandied. Goodbye hangover. Hello comedown from hell.
And here’s what will get worse:
Your drawing ability: Not only will your sketching skills deteriorate but so will your knowledge of calculus, physics and chemistry. In fact the 20s should be renamed The Decade of Forgetting Everything You Learned at School.
Your fashion: If you can’t look cool in your twenties you will never be cool, not even if the height of uncool becomes the height of cool.
Your music: Your taste in music is gonna get infinitely better. If the teenage you could hear the tunes of your 20-something future self, it would cringe. If your future self was forced to relisten to the tunes of the teenage you, however, they would murder the pair of you.
Congratulations: you survived the teenage years. Now you’re into your twenties aka the decade you’ll later look back on and lament “Why didn’t I have moar sex/alcohol/drugs/holidays when I had the chance?”
You know that relationship you’re in right now? Well, statistically speaking it will be over by the time you’re 30. You know that person you really wanna fuck but can’t cos you’re in a relationship right now? Well, I’m not saying you should do it. I’m just saying that in ten years’ time, you’ll regret not fucking them far more than you’ll regret your relationship having fallen apart. Just saying, bro.
FWIW, here’s what will improve when you pass the psychological three-oh threshold:
Your diet: As you get older, your diet will get better. It’ll have to because otherwise you’ll be 30 and fat. Getting laid in your thirties is hard enough without becoming morbidly obese. Eat better or become a ham beast.
Your skillz: You know that one thing you were kind of good at in your twenties? Well stick at it and by the time you’re 30 you’ll have something to show for it – probably because it will have become your job. My writing’s still rambling and solipsistic but it’s certainly improved.
These things will get worse though:
Your hair: In their 20s, most men scarcely spare a thought for their hair; it’s just that thing atop their skull that won’t stop growing. In their 30s, men agonise over every remaining strand; it’s just that thing that won’t start regrowing. Greyness/baldness or Just For Men/shave it? Whatever you decide, don’t leave it too late. Only douchebags have combovers. Ladies? It’s dye or die.
Your hangovers: The common consensus is that hangovers get worse as you get older. Personally, I find they get easier though if my pussy little mates are to be believed, 30-something hangovers are horrible.
Your sex life: As you get older, you’ll start to enjoy sex more. Partly because you’ll be better at it and partly because you’ll be having less of it. Lots of average sex in your 20s or some awesome sex in your 30s? It’s a rhetorical question because you don’t get to choose – time decides for you.
Your fap material: It’s gonna get more sordid. Is this because you’re getting desensitised or is it because technology is making it easier to jack off to absolute filth? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure: after 30, you’ll never be able to fap to two people having sex in the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation ever again.
> Implying you ever did.
The passage of time: Seconds passed agonisingly slowly as a kid, while secondary school classes are a drag. Post-30, life moves so fast that every lightning-quick day is a day closer to death.
Your cynicism: As a kid, you won’t know what cynicism is. As a teenager, you’ll start to question things. As a 20-something, your cyn-o-meter will be off the hook, while post-30 you’ll be cynical of everything and everyone: Politicians. Police. Prison officers. Civil Service. Freemasons. Judges. Italian restaurateurs. Your partner. Humanity.
That’s just how it works.
Young people of the world (i.e anyone younger than me): this is what you’ve got to look forward to. Old people of the world (i.e anyone older than me): please don’t tell me what I’ve got to look forward to. I really don’t wanna know.
Getting old isn’t all bad. It’s just mostly bad.