Blogger | Teacher
The one inevitability of living a long life: getting older. In truth, while many times growing older can feel terrifying or unknown, it’s a beautiful thing that I hope many people get to experience.
However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized there are a lot of things no one ever told me about. When I was sixteen I never imagined that I’d do more skincare now than I did in high school. I never would have guessed that I’d worry about what kinds of foods give you kidney stones. And I certainly didn’t expect my shoulders to hurt all the time (why do my shoulders hurt? I haven’t worked out in months).
While growing old is beautiful, aging is full of more obstacles than many young people are prepared for – I think it’s time we talked about them.
You Can’t Just Eat Whatever You Want
This may seem like an obvious fact about getting older, but hear me out. While, yes, we’re told from a young age that our metabolisms probably wouldn’t last forever, no one really talks about the other reasons you can’t just eat whatever you want.
If I could go back in time to tell my college self to eat less junk food and drink more water, I promise I would. I was incredibly unprepared for the horrors of getting a kidney stone and wish I could have known that would be a problem for future Draven when college Draven was drinking Dr. Pepper every day. But no one told me about the fun health terrors of being an aging adult.
Some foods give me headaches now that never would have before. My stomach is incredibly weak to lactose and coffee, but I can’t exist without them. I get breakouts from eating too much sugar and not drinking enough water. None of these things were problems I used to have, but are now issues I think about daily and I was not prepared for these kinds of dietary questions.
A Regular Bedtime is Important and Necessary
It’s said that teens and children need the most sleep, but I’d like to argue that getting older has shown me that I require more sleep now than I ever have before. Why am I always tired when I go to bed by 10:00 p.m. every night? No one knows.
Last week, I went to sleep at 8 o’clock on a Saturday and it was the most well-rested I’ve felt in ages. I feel like adults should get afternoon naptimes the same way toddlers do – we deserve it after how hard we’ve worked and we would definitely appreciate it more.
So please, tell your teenagers to go to bed at a decent time and sleep for a full 8 hours. Their future selves will thank them.
Everything Hurts and No One Knows Why
One of the biggest facts I’ve learned about getting older that no one ever told me: everything hurts and no one knows why. Your back hurts, your shoulders are sore, there’s a sharp clicking feeling in your knee, and sometimes a stabbing pain in your neck when you “sleep on it wrong.” To be honest, I don’t even know how you sleep on your neck wrong, but you can, and then it’s sore for days.
Everything is sore and the only explanation is “age.” General soreness and pain are just the trials and tribulations of growing older. I never knew when I was young that I would appreciate a body that wasn’t sore somewhere, but now I wish I could relive those days. I also wish someone could explain why there’s a constant aching in my elbow (how do you even hurt your elbow?).
Adult Acne is A Real Problem
When I was young, I never really dealt with bad breakouts. I would have a pimple here or there, but nothing unmanageable. And while I know many young people experience terrible acne because of puberty and hormones, one thing we never talk about is adult acne. I wish someone could have told me that getting older meant I would break out with little to no warning – I would have made sure to take care of my skin better.
Adult acne can be something as severe as rosacea or as minor as eating too much sugar. It can be a minor cluster of bumps on your chin or a red rash-like breakout that covers half your face. And don’t even get me started on how awful maskne (mask acne) has been.
It’s taken me almost 6 years of erratic, unfortunate breakouts to finally find a mix of skincare products that can help me manage them. Learning how to take care of your face when you’re young is so incredibly important for keeping your youthful and breakout-free complexion.
The Days are Longer and the Years are Shorter
I don’t know what it is about getting older that makes everything feel like it’s moving impossibly slow and incredibly fast simultaneously, but it seems to me like life just sort of exists that way. Like the days themselves crawl by, but one minute it’s February and the next it’s October.
Maybe it’s having a standard 8-5 work schedule, or perhaps it’s trying to balance all the responsibilities of life that you never had to worry about before. Either way, while each day feels like it never ends, life itself seems to be flying by faster each year.
Sometimes I wish I could hit pause, live in a moment longer and just breathe. When you’re young, you’re so excited about growing up that you forget to appreciate what’s happening in the moment. I think it’s easier to appreciate each day more as someone older, but sometimes I wish they’d slow down just a bit.
Making Money Doesn’t Always Mean You Have Money
One of the biggest lessons you learn about getting older is that making more money doesn’t mean you have more money. For example: does my bank account show a bigger number than it used to? Yes. Is my salary a good amount and more secure than the part-time wage I was living on in college? Also yes. But do I actually have money? Absolutely not.
The moment my paycheck hits my bank account, so do my bills. It’s like the gas and electric companies suddenly know you have money – they come to find you, bills at the ready, and drain your pay dry. Your bills, on top of monthly travel expenses, food, and general necessities, make it almost impossible to keep money in your account.
So while I definitely make more money than I ever have before, I still have to budget for every time I go out to eat and I make sure to buy the cheapest toilet paper option. It seems like it’s going to take a little more time before I can grow out of these habits.
Your Mom Was Right about Sunscreen and Skincare
I’d like to take a moment to appreciate my mom: if I’ve learned nothing else from getting older, it’s that sunscreen is a necessary part of life. And while I may forget to put it on 5 days out of the week, at least I’m aware now and make sure to buy a moisturizer with SPF (which I also forget to wear – sorry, mom).
I cannot stress enough how important sunscreen and a good skincare routine are to aging skin. Taking care of your body is a habit you should develop when you’re younger, but you’re never too old to incorporate a little moisturizer and sunscreen into your routine!
No one really told me how much I’d value a good skincare routine when I was younger, but I’m here to tell everyone reading this that it’s time to start wearing sunscreen daily. Your skin will thank you for it.
No One Really Knows What They’re Doing – We’re All Just Winging It
The biggest fact of life that no one tells you about getting older: not a single person knows what they’re doing. Some people have plans for their lives – a certain direction they want it to go – but we’re all constantly questioning what the right decision is.
Even as an adult, I sometimes feel like I need to find an adult who’s better at being a grownup to help me make my decisions. I feel like getting older has taught me that I understand very little about the world and there’s still so much I need to learn. But it’s also shown me that almost everyone else feels the same way.
And at the end of the day, no matter whether you know where you’re going in life or are just winging it, as long as you are happy, healthy, and doing your best, then you’re doing pretty well at this whole “growing older” thing.
There are a lot of beautiful aspects of aging and I hope to experience so much more of life and all its wonders – but also, if someone could also write a guidebook on all the unknown muscle pains I’ll experience and tell me how to actually have money, I would really appreciate it.
Do you have more facts about getting older than no one ever talks about? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.