Ah youth, I feel you slipping away. 25 is most definitely the end of youth. Much more so than 21, or the devastatingly youthful 18. 25 is when your brain stops developing, the last burst of the development of the pre-frontal cortex is over. You are now who you are going to be for the rest of your life, I hope you’re happy with this arrangement. All the damage has been done. All those wayward nights of underage drinking have taken their toll, and your left with the reminders of what might have been, if only you weren’t so silly you might be able to remember things.
There is a lovely concept called neuroplasticity, which believes that the brain can in fact change and develop indefinitely, that there is maybe hope to change our terrible patterns of behaviour. But that requires considerable effort. Before the age of 25, because your brain is still malleable and growing, it takes merely a strong decision to become a different, hopefully, a little better, person.
Oh, alcohol. Our relationship used to be, in the words of Abba, it used to be so nice, it used to be so good. Now all you do is make me feel bad. As I lay naked on the bathroom floor, clinging to the toilet, I remember simpler times. I used to be able to go out for a night on the booze, sleep for a couple of hours, rally and do a full 12-hour shift at work with the help of painkillers and a Gatorade. Gone are those happy days. Now, even after just three glasses to the wind, I’m as good as dead the next day. I can’t leave the house, let alone go to work. I honestly cannot comprehend how I used to do it, as I require such intense psychological strength to go and find painkillers and anti-nausea drugs while concentrating on not vomiting. THE NEXT DAY. I CHUNDER THE NEXT DAY. How is that fair? Sometimes I wonder if I have an alcohol allergy, then I remember that no, this is just ageing. A pleasure to look forward to in the inevitable march towards death.
While speaking about what is no longer acceptable, let’s talk about general living standards. I am a messy person, I have always been and can’t really foresee that changing. But when you get to the age of 25, and you have people over to your house and it’s a bomb sight, it’s no longer fine. Being messy in those first few years of living out of home is understandable, it can even be endearing. But post 25, bloody good luck if you think your friends won’t quietly think you’re a piece of trash. Not to mention if your parents happen to drop by. It won’t be pretty.
I’m going to be bold here, but one of the worst things about ageing is that you can no longer eat whatever the hell you want. Oh, you thought having a cupcake for breakfast was fine if you only just did it that one time because your sister brought you one home from work? Think again, my peaches. That bad boy is going straight to your thighs, which might be cute so long as this ‘thicc’ trend lasts, but hoo boy does it add up. I remember watching rom coms in the 2000s thinking how silly these women were for decrying eating one big bowl of spag bol. How could it be as bad as they say? Well, I’ve learnt that lesson, and it’s a shit one. Bad food makes you fat.
Things have started to ache. I can no longer run up mountains as I used to. Sure, that might be due to a lack of exercise, but that never held me back in my youth. I can no longer relate to the youth of today when they’re referred to in the media, I can no longer shake my fists in solidarity as they talk about youth binge drinking and general bad behaviour. I am off the family private health insurance, and can no longer access free youth services such as Headspace. Is it time I had a long hard look in the mirror, and try to rally some resolve to better my ways? I don’t have long if it all. Or should we perhaps just accept that we are who we are always going be when we turn 25 and that maybe it’s time to make healthier choices. Actually nah, someone get me a cupcake.