10. Mail no longer consists solely of care packages, CDs from Columbia House, letters from your best friend dotted with hearts, and magazines containing quizzes guaranteed to tell you whether your crush du jour is indeed the man of your dreams. Now your mail has nothing but bills, fliers for gutter cleaning, and quizzes from your financial advisor entitled “What Will College Cost When Your Child is 18?” Do not, under any circumstances, EVER take this quiz. It will scare you so badly you will actively root for your child to fail his second grade spelling test.
9. The Internet. I know, I know. The internet is good for a few things. Like being able to pinpoint the precise latitude and longitude of the nearest Starbucks when you are standing in the middle of Nowheresville. Or providing you the answer to the incredibly pressing question of which song was atop the Billboard charts in October of 1996 (“Macarena” if you’re curious). But in reality, the Internet is just a technologically souped-up version of Lord of the Flies. Where else can you diagnose yourself with diseases that you can’t even pronounce, discover all the ways in which you are poisoning or psychologically scarring your children, and remind yourself of how bad you looked in middle school – all in a matter of 20 minutes? That’s not cool people. Not cool. But it’s fine because you probably have Avian Bird Flu and you won’t be around next week anyway.
8. Memory. It stands to reason that the older you get, the more you have to remember. The more you have to remember, the more crowded your brain becomes. You would expect that your highly evolved brain would siphon off irrelevant data in favor of more pressing matters. But no. I can still remember the phone numbers of all of my childhood friends but every single morning I find myself standing in the middle of my kitchen wondering whether I have just fed my kids dog food instead of Cheerios. I have maybe 5 empty brain cells remaining in my head and they are locked in a death match every time Bank of America prompts me for my password.
7. If you miraculously find yourself out at a bar until 2am, you are faced with two separate – but equally terrifying -realizations. One is that you are surrounded by people so young you could have theoretically given birth to them. (I mean, only if you were on that show 16 and Pregnant of course). The second is that there is an inversely proportional relationship to how late you stay out and how early your actual children wake up the next morning. These two epiphanies often occur simultaneously, causing you to stay out another 3 hours and completely obliterating any of the five remaining brain cells you have left.
6. Long gone are the days when you spent hours getting ready for a night out, praying you look old enough that the bartender won’t card you. Instead, you spend hours getting ready to go to the grocery store, hoping the checkout guy will card you. Or, at the very least, that he won’t call you ma’am. Bless his heart.
5. Your infinite knowledge of trendy clothing designers and the best indie bands that no one has heard of yet is replaced by your infinite knowledge of which laundry detergents get out grass stains on the first wash, which plumber is the best in town, and which kid in preschool is a biter. Please god don’t let it be mine. No one likes a biter.
4. Love is infinitely harder, both because you realize that it is the only thing that matters and because you appreciate – in a way that your 21 year old self simply could not – that you can lose it all in a split second. Your kids get hurt. Your friends get divorced. You lose parents. You lose each other. And like all of your muscles, your heart is not as flexible as it once was.
3. Anxiety. Oh my god anxiety. Remember when all you had to worry about was which bar everyone was going to for happy hour? Now you lay awake at night thinking about mortgage rates, whether social security will still be around when you’re 65, whether the dog food that you probably fed your kids for breakfast contains carcinogens, and the serious disease that you diagnosed yourself with on the internet earlier.
2. Some grownups don’t like cake as much as kids. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
1. You are now the person in charge. At work. At home. You are in charge of your running your house, your office, your feelings, and the health and well-being of little people who think running with scissors is fun. You are the ultimate arbiter, the healer of all wounds, the signer of legal documents. People come to you for answers and expect you to actually have them. Once you get over the power trip, you realize you’ve gotten a raw deal. Because you realize that you are also in charge of you. And we all know that’s not a good idea. Because you only have five remaining brain cells. And Avian Flu.