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can't pretend that growing older never hurts
i was just thirty-four years old and i was still wandering in a haze
by adam kraemer (@DryWryBred)
pop culture

I feel old.

Or, rather, I'm starting to feel my age. And it doesn't help that I keep getting reminded of it.

Stop whining.

No, seriously, I got a call yesterday from a friend with an extra ticket to see Cheap Trick, Poison, and Def Leppard last night. Needless to say, my response was something like, "[expletive deleted] yeah."

And the show was excellent. I mean, I own nearly every song that was played (by all three bands), so it was a great time. And a little sad. It took all three of these bands combined to pack a 15,000 seat outdoor theatre. It was especially depressing to watch Cheap Trick playing to a half-full venue, knowing they used to fill stadiums (stadia?).

Then, a 21-year-old friend of mine with whom I was texting called Poison "wash-ups." She's not wrong. I was still psyched to see them. Not quite as psyched as the 40-something women in front of me in cowboy hats, but psyched. I'm getting old.

Shut up, man. You're not getting old. You're 34. Haven't you heard that 30 is the new 21? You're only as old as you feel? At least you're not a middle-aged woman wearing a tramp stamp and carrying a torch for Bret Michaels that started the night he might have winked at her at the Rainbow Bar.

True. Hell, my dad could probably name at least one song by each of those bands, and I'm pretty sure he's older than I am. On second thought, that doesn't really help me feel younger.

Hey, just because you're not 25 anymore and you enjoy the music of your youth doesn't mean you have to start wearing straw hats and "mandals." Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

I had a conversation a few months ago with a friend of my parents named Steve (the friend, not my parents. I have no parents named Steve). We were talking about the generation gap and how his parents' generation always felt like they were adults, but how my parents' generation always seemed as though they were trying to determine some secret that would let them be grown-ups and kids simultaneously. I think my generation might be following down that same road.

(On a side note, the friend's name is Stephen David. Yes, my brother and I have on occasion called him Steve Dave. Which, while I think of it, is a nearly 15-year-old reference. Oy.)

You're just trying to be difficult, aren't you? How about the soccer team you play on once a week, Captain MedicAlert? You can't be too old and do that, can you?

Sure, soccer. I played on Monday and I'm still sore. So thanks for bringing that up. Every time I stand, muscles I didn't know I had politely tell me, "No, thanks. We'd rather not do that again." I have a limp and no injury.

Wow. What is with you? You make Eminem sound upbeat. If I were a younger man, I'd ... oh, right.

But, I mean, seriously, mid-thirties isn't old. You still go out to bars, right?

Let me tell you, I was at a bar down the shore with a friend last weekend until closing, about 2 am. And, yeah, I "held my own," but there's a good chance the next oldest person there was at least five years younger than me.

Oh, and my office just hired a recent college grad who was born the year of my Bar Mitzvah. I feel a little old thinking about that. I became a man and she stopped being a fetus.

Still, hanging out with the younger generation. Obviously, you're not old.

In New York State right now, I can legally sleep with a woman half my age. And I don't say that in a good way.

Oh, that's no good. I'm starting to see your point. Wait - what about looks? You have smooth skin, no wrinkles, all your hair...

...flecks of gray in my beard, hair growing on my ears, the beginning of liver spots....

Just a ray of sunshine, aren't we?

I'm sorry. It's just been a lot of reminders recently. My brother's got a beautiful two-year-old girl, and I'm still as single as I was ten years ago.

Is that was this is all really about?

No. Maybe a little. I mean, I know I still have time; my grandfather didn't get married until he was four years older than where I am now. But it gets disheartening sometimes. Still, I could be in a bad relationship, I suppose. That could be worse.

That's looking on the bright side, champ.

Well, it's just my brother asked me this past weekend if I had any sort of life plan. He was concerned that I really didn't know what I wanted, in any sense of the word. It got me thinking. I want a girlfriend who turns into a wife. If she wants kids, I want kids. I want, someday, to own the place where I live. Unless it's also my car.

Look, stop complaining. Sure, you're getting older, but aren't you the one who always says it's better than the alternative?

I guess, yeah. And Lord knows I definitely know more now than I did ten years ago. My chances for happiness are probably greater.

See? There you go.

Plus, as another friend of mine pointed out last night, I'm finally at the age where I don't feel bad if I stay in one night on a weekend. I mean, there are going to be more Friday nights; if I miss one, so be it.

Now you're talking.

And I'm not in great shape right now, but working toward it. My metabolism might be slowing down, but I'm at a point in my life where I can actually afford to go to the gym.

And you can't afford not to.

Hold on - I thought I was supposed to be the downer here.

Well, truth is truth.

Can't argue with that logic.


Sorry, what?


Right. Anyway, you've made some good points.

Thanks. The first rule of Operation Get Over Yourself is we talk waaaaaay too much about Operation Get Over Yourself.

Fine I get it. Maybe I'm not getting old; maybe I'm just going crazy.

Could be. Think anyone's still reading this?

Probably not, no.

But just in case, I know I'm not old. In fact, when I said at the beginning that I'm feeling my age, it's really more in a literal sense. I'm going to be 35 in a few months, and I'm pretty firmly ensconced in adulthood.

So you were just bitching, then?

Pretty much. Though I have to say, while 35 doesn't sound particularly old, and is still closer to, say, 25 than it is to 50, it's the "around the corner" that's really motivating this.

Dude, shut up and drink your Ensure.

I like my Ensure.


A native of Elkins Park, PA, Adam Kraemer spends way too much of his time repeating "K-R-A-E..." He moved to New York City in 1998 and earned Master's in Journalism at NYU; don't let his writing fool you. He feels he is best known for saying the things no one is thinking, but afterwards wish they had been. He spends his free time wondering where all his free time goes and why he can never come up with a decent kicker for the ends of his articles.

more about adam kraemer


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juli mccarthy
7.10.09 @ 2:06a

Amazingly, the first column I ever wrote for Intrepid Media was about feeling old at 35. Almost 10 years ago.

Pass the Ensure, kid.

trevor kleiner
7.10.09 @ 12:29p

You feel old? I'm only a couple months older than you, and I just got put on blood pressure meds.

On the bright side, I am buying a nice house with deeded access to a private beach. Maybe it's time to buy an ugly hat, wear black socks with my shorts, and go sit by the lake complaining about the jet skis.

adam kraemer
7.10.09 @ 1:34p

Yeah. I just had a meeting with a financial planner to discuss life insurance savings plans. Turns out they got a 7% return last year.

robert melos
7.10.09 @ 10:29p

I SO want to bitch slap you, says the 46 year old man. But then he has sympathy because one day you will be 46 and realize that the best is yet o come. Of course you could get run down crossing the street which would mean your middle age was at 17. I personally am refusing to feel old ever again.

tracey kelley
7.12.09 @ 7:09p

"Oh, and my office just hired a recent college grad who was born the year of my Bar Mitzvah."

Heh. You are old. :D

adam kraemer
7.13.09 @ 11:16a

I know, right?
Actually, it's not so much that I feel old as that I keep getting reminded of my age. I'm twice as far away from 22 as I am from 40.

lucy lediaev
7.13.09 @ 4:22p

Adam, I'm quite sure you have no Ensure in your fridge, but visit our house and you'll find several flavors! This piece gave me a good laugh as I was looking back in time--way, way back in time.

dr. jay gross
7.17.09 @ 8:20p

Life insurance is for the living! Right. Sure they tell you they are paying you 7% on your money, but they charge you 4% to take your money out of 'your' account....for ever. [That's a net 3%, maybe.]

If there was a memory bank or a way to save energy (my body) I'd invest in that; You know - 'Time in a bottle'.

Make good things happen when you're young and you'll have something to remember when short term memories get lost in the static. Time goes by very quickly.


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