It’s really no secret, and frankly not even that controversial of a statement at this point: There are too many humans. People continue to breed en masse, despite harsh, repeated warnings from nature to slow down. While I hardly begrudge mature, prepared people for having a kid or two, I certainly will for them producing six or seven, especially in this era where just raising one well is a serious ordeal.
But it’s not the only reason the world is overpopulated. We’re living way too long, at least considering how much of our lives are spent in slow physical and mental decline (half to three quarters of the average lifespan for most of us). We’ve created a culture built on pursuing immortality, stretched between a fetishism over youth that has gone beyond all basic realms of rationality, and a desire to spend an insane amount of elderly years just running out the clock.
The idea of living to 100, at least in my case, is absurd. A frail, forgetful life of elderly compromise seems untenable, almost as much as the ridiculous pop culture notion of being forever young, thus in a perpetual state of emotional hyperbole. Neither mode is particularly sustainable, both on an individual level of practicality, and in the broader economic sense.
Gen X babies are having to live with their millenial and Gen Z successors well into the adulthood of those successors now. Twenty years ago, half the people I knew in final year of high school had already moved out and started paying rent. It pretty much explains the maturity gap between my generation and those that follow – we didn’t, and still don’t, have the luxury of existential indulgence well into our 20’s, nor that of resting on old laurels, and coasting for half a century like the aged people of today.
What I’m getting at is while other generations have the luxury of trying to freeze themselves in time, be it with the regressive politics of the old or the cultural infantilism of the new, people around my age are fighting the clock constantly. Our prime years are being taken away by pandemics, recessions and the insane moral pretentiousness that somehow still pervades society. The worries of those either side of us, age wise, are trivial. Your retirement plan didn’t go perfectly? Must be nice having the luxury of retiring. Even with savings, I will still work until death. I always knew I would. It’s just economic realism, and it’s not even a depressing notion to me – I just hope I’m still useful past the age of 70.
Then again, what do people like me do if they retire? Not everyone loses their edge over time, and some, just find better ways to conceal an ever sharpening blade. While slow moving, time consuming hobbies like knitting or fishing may work for some (and hey, more power to you), the idea of a state of perpetual relaxation is just another kind of death to many of us. It’s not a sign of poor mental health or low maturity, but of self knowledge and a desire to fulfill one’s potential.
A certain mellowing occurs for most of us over time, but often it’s not so much because of age as developing adaptations. Life becomes less about feeling, and more about doing. For some of us who rely on physical activity to maintain mental health, the idea of being to frail to exercise or too old to function sexually is the scary part of aging. I’d rather be dead than be unable to dance, practice martial arts or fuck, and frankly once certain physical functions are taken off the table for me, I’ll be taking myself off the map. I’d rather have a good 70 years than a decent 90 – to hell with spending decades basking in past glories. I’ll reminisce on my death bed.
I resent my elders for creating a culture based so heavily on the most mundane forms of leisure, one where you spend 50 years patting yourself on the back for what you accomplished in 20, bragging like Wild West cowboys. They would have been eaten alive growing up in the late 80’s or early 90’s. A lot have been acting like retirees since their 30’s, wasting life on low energy, time consuming leisure activities, while acting shocked at people over 25 not mellowing out and turning into couch potatoes. Not every generation ran out of steam so easily, nor had the luxury. If I had the time and money these geezers have, I wouldn’t waste it on stupid habits like golf.
Life isn’t about duration, it’s about utilization, the maximizing of minutes above all else. To hell with immortality if most of it is spent in existential wondering and aimless wandering, all to the point of losing oneself more than discovering. After all, to spend a life mostly killing time is far more morbid than the desire to fall on sword and shield. Thoughts and feelings only go so far.
The health and fitness commitments I make are not to live longer, but to live more fully and effectively for the time that I have. To use what I have fully, and then throw the husk away. To not become yet another bitter middle aged white man who misdirects what little energy I have left on petty grudges and a hatred of everything new and strange.
It’s true that the 40’s are the new 30’s, and it’s great to see more people act like life doesn’t peak at 25. I see so many guys my age get caught up in the romanticism of their glory days when their glory days should be now. I see a lot of people expecting that everyone should become as complacent as them past a certain age, and some are so defeatist, despite their privilege, that I have to question why they even continue living. Death, to me, seems preferable to the false boredom and imagined fatigue their lethargy perpetuates.
To hell with being a teenager forever, or a geriatric either. For the most part, neither really contribute all that much to society now, at least not like they used to. Bollocks to the low energy ideal and aesthetic in an era where time and hustle are of the essence more than ever.
I grew into myself as people waited for me to grow out of a certain restlessness. They fail to realize that without that intensity, some of us simply die. Or become monsters. I’ll save my chill for when I’m on a slab in the morgue.