A few weeks ago my husband and I went to a live comedy show featuring Jerry Seinfeld. The opening act was performed by a close friend of Jerry’s, Larry Miller. ( I feel like Seinfeld needs no hyperlink, and Miller is quite famous too, I just didn’t know his name.) Anyway, both comedians were hilarious- we were definitely laughing the entire time, and once in a while exchanging bashful looks that indicated all too well the feeling of “yep, that sounds about right” at any joke aimed at the “husband-wife operation.”
There was one point in the show, however, where I thought I was having an existential crisis. Both Miller and Seinfeld made jokes about aging, Miller talking about how we phrase the aging process- for example, “turning 30” or “pushing 40.” The way we talk about it makes it seem like we’re talking about something bad happening which is beyond our control, indicating that our attitudes towards aging aren’t very positive. Seinfeld mentioned the irony of human evolution- how at the peak of intelligence after we are finally walking upright as a species, our biggest concern is finding a seat to place our cushiony bottoms wherever we go.
Which got me thinking, aging wouldn’t be so bad if we did more with our time than count our days or fret about how best to be comfortable. Aging could be a way to measure our achievements. I don’t feel sad at approaching 30- the third decade is where a lot of important milestones happen which indicate that people have grown up, matured, made good decisions- things like having a baby, buying a house, or buying a car. Some people are even well on their way in their late twenties. Why then the existential crisis?