I would guess that in every person’s life, sometime between say ages 21 and 35, he or she has a shift in self-perception. You become conscious of the fact that you’re no longer a “young adult” and somehow you’ve become more of an “adult-adult.” Sign #1 happened to me about a year and a half ago. I was in a Mervyn’s trying on what hitherto had been my favorite brand of jeans. They had more of a flare than boot-cuts and they all had cool, swirly, sequined designs on the back pockets. I put on a pair and twirled around in the three-way mirror and suddenly realized that even though they fit well, I couldn’t take myself seriously. What had once been cool had unexpectedly become an ostentatious. I didn’t feel I could pull off the spangled-butt look anymore. They were, in short, too young for me.
And, ultimately, this was okay. I wasn’t consigning myself to mom-jean hell, merely to a more subdued style of pantswear. I was still cool.
Sign #2 happened on Monday. I was eating my morning bowl of Hodgson Mills Multigrain Hot Cereal (with milled flaxseed!) upon which I had sprinkled a couple tablespoons of walnuts and a tablespoon of honey. I took a bite and was chewing it slowly when I realized, Hey, I’m not enjoying this! There’s not enough honey to make it truly sweet, the walnuts are bitter, and the cereal itself is, well, boiled grains. It’s boring to the palate, of a slightly more exciting texture than plain oatmeal, and yet I eat it every morning. In fact, I go out of my way to a special store to buy this particular brand of hot cereal. And why? Because it’s good for me. Really fucking good for me. That shit’s got 450 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 7 grams of protein in one serving. And fiber? 6 grams per serving, bitches!
And so, like every adult-adult, I find myself eating things not because I enjoy them, but because they are good for me. What I’d like to eat is a breakfast burrito from the campus cantina, stuffed full of eggs, bacon, cheese, and green chile. But I don’t eat that because it’s got too much fat, it’s got too many calories, it costs too much, and it’ll give me heartburn. I think of my Grandpa, a broccoli-hater of old, chirping in a voice bright with false enthusiasm, “This broccoli is good for me,” before choking down a forkful with watering eyes.
It’s come to this.