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Eh… too many kids.

1 March 2013

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Coming back to being Regular Shawn (as opposed to Vegas Shawn) has made me realize I’m not young anymore. My legs hurt from too many 13.5-mile jaunts up and down the strip. I fell asleep before 9:00 last night. I’m not old, really — I’ll be turning 35 this year — but I’m not young, either. And recent events have made me realize that’s a great thing.

Jeremy and I saw a bunch of young people in Vegas while we were there. Some of them seemed cool, some of them seemed like douchebags, but all of them were so, so young, all of them well under 25. Sure, there were people older than us there, too… but I’m focusing on the young ones here, and more specifically, the young dudes.

I recently read that until about 25, a male’s brain doesn’t fully develop. Worse, it operates in a reptilian manner up until then, its primal instincts driving the whole show. Essentially, folks of my gender are cavemen until their mid-20s. I definitely believe this hypothesis, as I remember what I was like 10 years ago.

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Something I’ve noticed in my 30s, though, is that a sort of mental quiet has taken over. Sure, my mind still runs a couple thousand ideas a day, but very rarely are they screaming at me. Very rarely do I have the urge to go do a thing right this second because my brain has me convinced that it’s DEFCON 1 time. Extremely rarely do I feel out of control. I can shrug off stuff that would have enraged or emotionally devastated me when I was younger. When I get angry now, usually the feeling fades before I can verbalize it.

I know there’s an evolutionary reason for the rage-fueled, insanity-driven, adrenaline-soaked young man’s brain — in caveman times, that’s when we would have to stalk bison for days and kill to live. That’s when we were expected to propagate the species. Sure, it’s out of place in the modern world — I don’t remember having to beat even one large mammal to death in high school or college. It’s why young men make good soldiers, but more seasoned gents make good commanders. Rage and impulse gives way to serenity and logic.

America is a youth-obsessed culture — just look at most of our media. There aren’t many old sitcom stars. Movies and TV and advertising are aimed at young people, even though they really don’t have any money. It’s really aimed at people like me, under the mistaken assumption that I want to be perceived as young and hip. And up until recently, in my case at least, those advertisers wouldn’t have been far off the mark.

Perhaps it’s early senility sneaking in, but I’m fine with being old-ish. Sure, my knees and feet will hurt for a couple more days yet. Sure, I might go to bed before 1 a.m. tonight. But I look back on those years, and while I had some good times, I don’t miss being an unstable sociopath with only a few directives: kill/consume/procreate/repeat.

Now, I do miss the 90s, but that’s an entry for another time.

What about you, folks? When do you feel like your brain clicked into old-person mode? For the ladies, does something similar happen in your brain chemistry? Y’all have always seemed much more stable to me.

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