Until you turn 80, you are no longer allowed to complain about “being old” around me. Turning 80 is when you can eat whatever you want, in any quantity you feel is appropriate, and you can begin talking about how old you feel. After listening to an early twenty-something complain about “how old they’re getting” last night, I realize how inane and ridiculous the line of conversation is.
You may of course continue to discuss how certain things that signal the passage of time. Like, “I can’t believe my niece/nephew is in first grade,” or, “Can you believe we started high school 20 years ago this month?” Passage of time is still a legitimate and interesting topic of conversation. (Other cliched topics I enjoy discussing: the weather in New England, bad hair days, and traffic patterns.)
Simply stating “I’m turning 28, I’m so old!” is not a legitimate topic of conversation.
I credit Mindy Kaling whose book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), pointed out the idiocy of talking about “how stressed” you are.
I read Mindy’s book last Winter after I spotted it, un-cracked, at my friend Kelley’s apartment. I think I read it in a day, and then I brought it with me on vacation to Montauk this summer.
Kaling has this great ability to put into words things you feel but can’t quite put your finger on:
“A note about me: I do not think stress is a legitimate topic of conversation, in public anyway. No one wants to hear how stressed out anyone else is, because most of the time everyone is stressed out. Going on and on in detail about how stressed out I am isn’t conversation. It’ll never lead anywhere. No one is going to say ‘Wow, Mindy, you really have it especially bad. I have heard some stories of stress, but this just takes the cake’.”
Yes, yes, yes. Now that you mention it, this is exactly how I’ve always felt while listening to friends or colleagues talk about how busy and/or stressed they are. Thank you for putting words to my side eyed-glance.
This is not to say that I’ve never complained about how busy or stressed I am, but I’ve vowed to limit that as a topic of conversation to my boyfriend and my mother going forward.
There’s also an excellent chapter on “rules for best friends,” that made me super sentimental for college, and an instructional manual for guys that had me nodding my head. For these reasons, I’m putting the book on my official list of hostess gifts, appropriate for any woman in their 20s, 30s, or 40s.