Over the last ten or so years that I’ve been in Los Angeles, I’ve begun to be close friends with a number of people who are younger than me. Prior to then, I had always been friends with people who were my own age or, in most cases, older. There’s a number of reasons to explain this. In my teens and early 20s, I felt like a person much older. Although I had lots of fun in college with people my age, I hadn’t yet fully come to understand myself and was not ready to deal with a number of aspects of my being. I felt more comfortable and understood among my elders. It wasn’t until my mid to late 20s that I truly became comfortable in my own skin and felt a certain weight lifted from me. When I entered my thirties i became nostalgic for my 20s and in an effort to recapture that period sought out people who were still enjoying it. While I consider myself young at heart, I do not necessarily want to be 24 again. Sure, I’d like to look like I did then, but would I want to be as insecure and lacking in insight as I was at that time in my life? The answer is a resounding no!
While the majority of my friends are in their 30s and 40s, one friend of mine is still in his 20s. He is a member of the demographic called “Millenials” and I will call him “Jimmy”. Jimmy enjoys what I refer to as the ‘brass set of youth and stupidity.” Quick with witty one-liners, full of bravado, optimism and almost completely lacking in responsibility. In other words, he is your typical young jackass. I frequently call him “Jackass” just to remind him of this fact. I like to think that I did not act the same as him at that age, but alas, my family will be quick to point out that I was the same. Perhaps, even worse than him. Homer once said “In youth and beauty, wisdom is but rare”. Just to avoid any confusion, I mean Homer the Greek poet not Homer Simpson. When it comes to human nature, apparently very little has changed since between the 12th and 8th centuries BC. The young are still foolish. That we can be assured will never change. Surprisingly though, society as a whole remains firmly obsessed with youth and all the vitality that it possesses. Los Angeles, the city in which I live, basically worships youth. The young are particularly catered to. But the young and beautiful are worshiped here like exquisite creatures. Anyone who has visited LA has undoubtedly noticed that there are an inordinate amount of beautiful people here. The entertainment industry is largely to blame for this as it is centered here in LA and has always relied upon and attracted a steady stream of young people to populate its movies, tv and music.
Older people’s obsession with youth has caused LA to become the cosmetic surgery capital of the world. It is comical, but also somewhat frightening, how often I see people walking around with bandages around their noses or wrapped around their face as they are in the process of healing from cosmetic surgery. As I notice more and more signs of aging in my appearance, I have begun to worry if I will inevitably succumb to the pressures felt by so many people who live here. Is it time to move to another city where there is less pressure and competitiveness? Would that really change anything? After all, I can change the geography but no matter the location, I will still be the age that I am. At lunch today, I overheard two guys who appeared in their mid-20s discussing going out last night for Happy Hour. Both were lamenting that they noticed they couldn’t knock back the sauce like they used to. One had actually pinpointed the exact peak age of his party-hearty-ness as he griped “I can’t drink like I’m 19 anymore!” The other nodded his head in solemn agreement, their bodies having betrayed them at quarter life. Oh the humanity! Wait until they discover the aches and pains that arise when a full night of partying the night before hasn’t even been enjoyed. There is yet to be a nip/tuck that can cure those pains! As I got back to my desk, i remembered that I had a Naked Juice drink in the fridge that a coworker gave me to try. He said drinking the Green Machine flavor was making him feel “nearly 10 years younger.” I chuckled when he first told me, though curiously, I didn’t refuse it when he offered me one to try. I don’t think it could help me drink like I was 19 again, but it’s definitely less painful than a facelift.