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The Generation Debate

Article / I write about getting older and why the aging process is becoming harder to pin down.

A couple of months ago, I overheard a conversation on the subway between a woman in her late twenties and her forty-something-year-old co-worker. The younger woman was complaining to the older one about a pain in her shoulder. “I mean it’s just everything,” she was saying. Her neck, her back, her knees, they were all hurting; she had to go see a doctor.

The older woman (who was standing while the younger one was sitting) was nodding her head and telling the younger one that she could relate completely. When she was about to turn thirty everything felt like it was about to fall apart, her whole body, but then it all went back to normal again.

The exchange stood out to me because next year, I’ll be turning thirty, and, typical as it may sound, I’ve been going through my own crisis. I don’t feel old, in fact I still do a lot of the things I used to do when I was in my early twenties, and I don’t really look any different; but maybe that’s the problem—not much has changed, but I know that I should be aging so I’m constantly checking for evidence. I find myself grimacing in front of the mirror to see if there are any new lines, attributing random pains in my body (which seem to be appearing more frequently) to arthritis or impending chronic illness (maybe I’m a little crazier than most . . .), and treating every little commitment (moving to a different neighborhood of Brooklyn, for example) like it’s something I’ll be stuck doing for the rest of my life because I feel like I’m running out of the time to meander.

Read the article in Construction.


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