1. Bad TV: 10 years ago, I could find entertainment value in anything from the trashiest Jerry Springer episode to the soapiest teen drama. These days, free time is too hard to come by to spend watching pointless nonsense (it should be spent watching HBO original programming, obviously, and after bingeing on The Wire you’re pretty much an expert on any social issues which comes in handy for grown-up conversations). Nothing like the realization of your own mortality to wean you off MTV reality shows.
2. Getting Close to the Stage at Concerts: Long since passed are the days I’d gleefully fight my way through the hot, sweaty crowd to the front of the stage, close enough to read the band’s tattoos. Now, when I go to shows, I hang back separate from the shoving masses. As the crowd surges forward, I rush backwards like Marty McFly avoiding the Rolls Royce. And don’t get me going on how late shows are starting these days.
3. Public Transportation: When I first moved to Chicago for my freshman year of college, I set forth on my quest to master the CTA like a pro, learning how to navigate around the city from school to job to party. No car, no problems. 10 years later, my daily commute is a queasy, delay-ridden 45-60 minute-long human-smelling nightmare that I have grown to dread. I gladly fork over for parking and car payments just for the convenience and privacy of having a vehicle all to myself, and if there’s pee on the seats, hey, at least I know where it came from (the dog).
4. Closing Down the Bar: Last call used to be a signal to frantically purchase your last few PBR tall boys; now those two words instill a sense of dread as I realize that I’m going to feel way too shitty the next morning to go to yoga or run errands. 10 years ago, we would stay out late every weekend, following up the bar by drinking cheap beer at someone’s house until the sun came up as though we lived inside a Fun. song. Now I will go out for a few nice craft beers that I don’t mind paying $7 apiece for like a responsible 34-year-old, or even better, stay home on the couch with my man and marathon a season of Orphan Black while splitting a bottle of wine. We need a party anthem about streaming video, couples snuggies, and a tasty yet affordable Shiraz.
5. Outdoor Music Festivals: I don’t want to be slathered in mud unless I’m lying in a recliner while a woman with a soothing European accent tells me about its anti-aging properties. A good lineup may coax me out of the house and onto a muddy field, but I always inevitably find myself judging the youngsters and their inappropriate yet fashion-forward footwear from safely inside my sensible blister-preventing socks. And I came to hear the sensitive, soulful sounds of Bon Iver, not listen to you dramatically break up with your shirtless boyfriend outside a port-a-pottie.