Finer with Age?

Twenty-three years old. Halfway between the “doesn’t matter because I had a fake I.D.” milestone of twenty-one and the “doesn’t matter because I’m not quite ‘House of Representatives’ material” milestone of twenty-five (Let’s be honest. I’m holding out for a Senate seat).

Despite being in a no man’s land of eligibility, my twenty-third birthday still marks another year under the belt and, as I’m now over a year out of college, I have to accept the fact that my drinking habits may start to change

First things first: Coolio is much more relevant. This is extremely important. Whenever I am able to drunkenly convince myself that a rap lyric is even indirectly about me, I pop caps of joy. B.o.B. mentions Decatur? I lived there! Eazy-E talks about 40s? I drank those! Almost exclusively, for a year!

Thus, the next time a DJ decides to spin “Gangster’s Paradise” at the bar, you know I’ll be belting, louder than anyone: “I’M TWENTY-THREE NOW, BUT WILL I LIVE TO SEE TWENTY-FO’ / THE WAY THINGS IS GOIN’, I DONNO!” This will be followed instantly by a panic attack as I am consumed by irrational fears that something may actually keep me from making it to twenty-fo’.

Casting aside worries about premature death and focusing on something more exciting, I have a salary now! This means I can live comfortably, spend money on finer things, and drink only the best! Right?!

Wrong. As I have learned the hard way, there are two kinds of salaried employees: (1) “I’m working hard for a company that values my work, and in exchange, they are giving me a steady, generous paycheck that allows me to purchase what I need and perhaps a few luxuries.” (2) “I’m only making what? Can I get some extra hours? I’m expected to work extra hours? Oh, okay. Could be worse… Wait- unpaid?!”

So maybe my days of Schlitz and Early Times aren’t completely over. I can deal. My liver rolls his eyes. The fact is – and this is quite probably the best part of my birthday – twenty-three is not that old. We obsess over college graduation being a death of all fun, our sense of adventure ripped out and replaced with structure and monotony. Fortunately enough, that is not the case.

You are not automatically handed an atomic family on graduation day, or on any of your subsequent birthdays. They’ll come eventually, and as they do, the college lifestyle will organically phase itself out (unless you/your wife birth(s) some awesome kids who rock the party straight from the womb). But until then, twenty-three’s not much different than twenty-two or even twenty-one, so quit acting like it is.
Unless Coolio’s in the house.

~Don Julian

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