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I am old

| Wednesday, September 4, 2019

As I sat in LaFun on Tuesday awaiting my turn to have my senior portrait taken, my heart began racing as I finally realized something that I have known for a long time but have never been brave enough to acknowledge.

I am old.

I’ve shaved consistently since high school. Usually when I shaved the razor would root out every hair and leave me completely baby faced for the next day or so. Once over the summer, I shaved and a couple hours later noticed some whiskers. You know, the hairs that are cut but never really go away, that are managed but never defeated.

I am old.

People call me Tom. Granted, they have done so for as long as I can remember. And I love Tom. But it is a middle-aged name, at least. Have you ever met a young Tom? I, for one, have only met one other person roughly my age named Tom and he was such a grandpa.

I am old.

As of February, I can legally purchase alcohol in the United States. For the average college student, this occasion is extremely joyous. For me, it was a manifest representation that there were no youthful milestones left. The next major birthday? Thirty, a.k.a. the age at which in the 1700s I would already be guaranteed to be dying of some ghastly disease. My heartbreak only intensified when I realized that, at least on the plane of alcohol legality, there is no distinction between myself and my 50-something parents.

(No, Mom and Dad, I’m not saying you’re old.)

I am old.

I recently drove by my high school. I liked high school, but I’m not the “HIGH SCHOOL WAS THE GOLDEN AGE!” kind of guy. Nevertheless, I shuddered when I saw the front door and realized that, were I to saunter in the front door to say hello, there would be no students I knew for me to say hello to. None. They would not recognize me and would only ask, “Who is this old man?”

I am old.

The Friday morning of Welcome Weekend, I awoke early to the various move-in crews’ music wafting across West Quad. I groggily reached for my phone and angrily complained to one of my friends. “Not even kidding. I am actually going to call the cops,” I fumed. “Lol, channel your inner middle-aged suburban parent,” she responded.

I am old.

One day this summer I noticed something funny in one of my eyebrows. It was, to my horror, a hair that was noticeably lighter than the rest. Panicked, I ran down the stairs and asked my family for their thoughts on its color. My dad started giggling mischievously. “Gray!” he said. “No! No! It’s blonde! It’s blonde!” I desperately protested. To which he shook his head and simply repeated, smiling like a Cheshire cat, “Gray!” This theory was seemingly confirmed when, the next time I looked at the offending hair in the mirror, I noticed a wrinkle — yes, a wrinkle — under my eye.

I am old.

I have a medically diagnosed back problem.

I am old.

I have a Facebook account.

I am old.

The night of Domerfest, I was walking on campus with one of my friends when we saw a parade of first years — who were likely terrified but pretending to be pumped — shuffling awkwardly towards Welcome Weekend’s marquee event. I was filled with an incomprehensible longing for one of the worst nights of my college experience. “Enjoy your youth, for it is fleeting!” I addressed the wide-eyed and overwhelmed freshmen under my breath. “Domerfest is the worst!” my friend responded. “I know,” I replied wistfully, “but at least they’re young!”

Man, I am old.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Tom Naatz

Tom is a senior at University of Notre Dame. He is majoring in Political Science and Spanish and is originally from Rockville, Maryland. When he's not working as the News Editor at The Observer, you can find him juggling, watching D.C. sports, or juggling to distract himself from the stressful nature of D.C. sports.

Contact Tom