By Jon Weidman

As of this writing I’ve been 25 for a solid calendar week, and things have gone exactly as I anticipated. There’s been a subtle upshift in what I would consider my personal burden of proof. I feel a sense of accountability that’s new in its intensity. It’s manifested both personally and professionally and maybe even cosmically.

Illustrative example: It’s 11PM right now and I desperately want Chinese food. But my usual place won’t answer the phone. This has never happened before. There is no precedent for this.

BUT.

This is a righteous challenge and a chance to hone and heighten my newfound maturity.

So with chin up and chest out I say: On with the questions.

What’s worth stressing about when you’re young?

It depends what kind of stress we’re talking about. There are two main types: pressure stress and ambient stress. Pressure stress is real and forceful and primal and vital to your success. Pressure stress is a deadline you know you can hit, or the arrival of a long-awaited opportunity, or a stoned Peanut M&M versus Reese’s Pieces decision. It’s an adrenaline trigger, and, if mastered, can be quite a tool.

Ambient stress is no one’s tool; there’s no upside. Ambient stress is agony over an unrevealed test score or simmering road rage in traffic or clammy nervousness before a big date. It’s hinged on matters beyond the stress victim’s control, and therefore cannot function as an agent for change like it’s more optimistic cousin, pressure stress. Ambient stress is an insidiously sneaky bitch and you’d be best served to avoid her.

So the answer I offer you is maddeningly utilitarian. Something is only worth stressing about if that feeling of incompleteness or dissatisfaction is a) a motivator rather than a muddler and b) related to something within your control. Trying to master that empirical approach is an earnest lifelong pursuit. One that I’m guessing ends the moment one has a child. Because once you are emotionally/morally/legally responsible for the life/death of another (unwise and uncoordinated) human being, I assume that ambient stress is like a face tattoo or a pen mark on a favorite shirt: always there.

Should I chase girls, money or enlightenment?

Always the third one.

BUT.

That doesn’t mean enlightenment can’t come through girls or money or both. In fact, I would argue that enlightenment (according to Webster, “the state of being furnished with knowledge”) is far easier to attain when the girls and money departments are at some functional operating capacity. There is no more angst- and inertia- ridden mind than that of a sexually frustrated, penniless young man. Enlightenment doesn’t come to the hapless and starving, it comes to the composed and optimistic. Treat yourself: Chase all three.

What’s the first “getting old” moment?

The first time you’ve eaten too much to have sex.

Why am I alone?

These questions are obviously supposed to be supplicant-agnostic, but I will make clear that this refers to “alone” in the relationship sense—not in the metaphysical isolation sense nor as physically-by-myself. And given the common noun impartiality of this whole exercise, I won’t give my own personal theories on my own personal pal.

But I will say: Perhaps you’re supposed to be alone right now. Being alone can create pressure stress, which can be a good thing. Plus, loneliness—and relationships, for that matter—are usually the result of some insanely complex set of cosmic circumstances. Maturity is accepting the circumstances for what they are and using the pressure stress to make a positive change.

Illustrative example: somewhere in the middle of my answer to the second question I jumped on my bike and took the Chinese food delivery issue into my own hands. I hit up a new place since my old one apparently closed in another suspiciously compounding post-birthday curveball. But this one included a fortune cookie, and I quote: “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains it’s [sic] original dimensions.”

MATURITY.

 

Featured image courtesy of Imgur

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