OPINION: Getting old

Photo of Alexander Thornhill.

Photo of Alexander Thornhill.

Alex Thornhill

You wake up at 6 a.m. without an alarm. You lay there for 15 minutes working up the courage to get up. When you finally do, you can hear your back cracking. You’re only 22.

You start keeping an online agenda to stay updated on everything going on in your life. Free time isn’t real anymore.

Whatever “free time” you have, you spend trying to catch up on the things you missed: sleep, work, mail — all these things need to be done. You find yourself hiding in the faculty bathroom trying to catch up on sleep.

You don’t hang out with your friends anymore. You’re forced to make work friends. They’re all you see now, anyway, so what’s the point? 

Might as well count the break room conversations as “hanging out.” Your friends from school call you, ask to hang out. It’s only 10 p.m. “I don’t have time.”

You finally delete Tinder. “Why do I even have this?” you ask yourself as you hold the icon until it begins to shake. You met a girl working in the same field as you so you don’t have to meet anyone new. Your school friends stop talking to you.

After so long, you stop doing everything you used to enjoy doing. The pain in your back keeps coming back, and no matter the temperature, you’re always sweating.

Is this stress slowly creeping up on you? Is the constant fear of getting overwhelmed too great for you to take a second and relax?

You feel your throat starting to swell and your face turning red from the thought of everything. Or maybe you tied your tie too tight that day.

You keep checking your agenda every hour, trying to find the one bit of detail you forgot about. You have an hour of nothing going on, and you spend it trying to find the missed detail. You don’t know what’s going on anymore. Your eyes hurt. It’s only 2 p.m.

Everything is going by so fast, and you can’t keep up. There’s new slang coming out every day, and you have to keep googling things just to keep up with the trends.

What the hell is dilly dilly? Who is Lil Xan? You don’t know anymore. You have a project due Monday, and you have to try and focus.

Eventually, your school friends stop trying to talk to you. You don’t even watch the TV shows you love anymore. They’re things you don’t have time for.

That’s what growing old and tired is — a series of “I don’t have time”s. Eventually, everything will slow down, and you’ll get married to a partner in your field. You’ll invite all your school friends to the wedding. None will show up. You don’t notice.

What you do notice, however, is the pain in your lower back.

Alex Thornhill is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].