Despite raging obesity, cheap drugs and discounted supermarket-brand booze, the average lifespan has continually risen to the mid-eighties.
30,000 days, on average.
It is universally accepted that come day 15,000ish, you’ll get a mistress, re-mortgage the house, buy yourself a convertible Aston Martin… and subsequently get divorced.
It’s what you do. It’s your mid-life crisis.
It’s when you feel irreversibly aged and unsightly: too old to attract sexual attention, make a career change or learn new tricks. It’s when you realise that you’ve wasted your entire life nurturing your ungrateful spawn. So you befriend and emulate the behaviour of your children’s mates. You buy a flashy car and clothe yourself in a manner that the only fitting accessory for would be mint sauce. You make a twat of yourself.
It’s OK; you’ll have earned it.
So at day 7,500 you should still be feeling pretty chipper, eh? Three quarters of your life stretching out in front of you. But today’s youth grow up fast; drinking, smoking weed, class As and underage sex by your mid-teens… The advent of your twenties is starting to feel like the beginning of the end: “I’m twen-teen, twenteen!” I drunkenly cried on my big two-zero birthday party – never wanting to abandon the unquestionable youth of the teen-suffix. It stood for my God-given right to drop out, shirk responsibility, and repeatedly break the law with the impunity of youth.
But now you’ve stopped growing. You’re no longer becoming something; you are slowly dying. It’s all downhill from here; At least, that’s what all my birthday cards read. But if you think that’s bad, then there’s always your other ‘quarter-life crisis’.
Mortality rates are constantly increasing. We, as a generation, shall outlive our parents: So your twenty-fifth may well be the time for your breakdown…This is the landmark when you realise that it was already five years ago that you made a scene about turning twenty; Fifteen to Twenty had seemed epochal, chasmic – but this gap had been much quicker… And then you suddenly understand comments that old people make about time flying past; Gone are the days when five minutes seemed like an eternity as you were forced to sit on your Gran’s couch to ‘let your dinner go down’, before you were permitted to go and play cricket with your friends. Time now moves quick and unnoticed like a snake in the grass. Years suddenly become a wholly faster affair and you finally understand that the older you get, time mockingly increases it’s pace.
Your life will flash before your eyes and you’ll realise that you never tried smack, or had a threesome, foursome, group orgy; you wasted years on the wrong partners; you wanted to be a fireman, artist, card sharp, stripper. But, as the anthropomorphic tongue of Death moistens it’s thumb and mid-digit with spittle and snuffs your metaphorical candle flame – you become fertilizer.
That’s what it’s like to turn twenty-five.
It is of course trite to point out that you start to find clubs too loud for conversation, and you wish groups of eighteen year olds wouldn’t sing along to the Goddamned jukebox in pubs. You start to find emo clothing too androgynous even though you spent your teens wearing an evening gown and tiara (despite being a hetero-male) – and besides, what’s rock ’n’ roll about constantly fussing over your neat, black comb-over?
I really needn’t go on to state that, obviously, you don’t know why anyone would want to listen to some chavver’s lyrical take on romance on Myspace, despite personally supporting a DIY anti-establishment approach to the music industry; The problem with democracy being that most people are idiots, right? …They say you get more right wing as you get older.
You will, naturally, have no idea why anyone would want to recycle those ‘Frankie Says’ style t-shirts that you remember your uncle having when you were an infant. Why would you want to dress like Ferris Bueller, anyway? 1980’s Nikes were still made in sweatshops.
We think, like every generation before us: “We were cool when we were your age – you, clearly, are not.” Yes, these are your twenties, time to enter fruitless long-term relationships, get a six-month-long marriage under your belt, and develop a hitherto absent interest in automobilia and football. Your quarter-life crisis is most likely to manifest itself as the very antithesis of your mid-life one.
There is every chance that you will be a cooler person when you are forty-five than you will at twenty-five.
Illustration by Dave Cardy